released Mar 9th, 2010
from the album - Stylo
from all music
Conceived as the first "virtual hip-hop group," Gorillaz blended the musical talents of Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, Blur's Damon Albarn, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, and Tom Tom Club's Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz with the arresting visuals of Jamie Hewlett, best known as the creator of the cult comic Tank Girl. Nakamura's Deltron 3030 cohorts Kid Koala and Del tha Funkee Homosapien rounded out the creative team behind the Gorillaz quartet, whose virtual members included 2-D, the cute but spacy singer/keyboardist; Murdoc, the spooky, possibly Satanic bassist and the brains behind the group; Russel, a drummer equally inspired by "Farrakhan and Chaka Khan" and possessed by "funkyphantoms" that occasionally rise up and provide some zombie-style rapping; and last but not least, Noodle, a ten-year-old Japanese guitar virtuosa and martial arts master.
Gorillaz debuted in late 2000 with the Tomorrow Comes Today EP, which they followed early the next year with the popular Clint Eastwood single. A self-titled, full-length debut album arrived in spring 2001. Gorillaz was a massive worldwide success and achieved platinum-level sales in the U.S.; worldwide, it sold over seven million copies. The group's Svengalis were quick to capitalize, and released the B-sides collection G-Sides, the Phase One: Celebrity Takedown DVD, and the dub-inspired remix album Laika Come Home in 2002. The project soon went on hiatus, however, as Albarn resumed work with Blur for their seventh album, 2003's Think Tank.
When he was ready to begin the next Gorillaz album, Albarn turned to Danger Mouse (the DJ behind The Grey Album, the infamous mash-up of the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album) and a host of other collaborators, including De La Soul, Shaun Ryder, Debbie Harry, Dennis Hopper, and Martina Topley-Bird. Although Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Nakamura did not return, 2-D, Russel, Murdoc, and Noodle were all present and accounted for on Demon Days, another Top Ten hit, which arrived in spring 2005. The album went double platinum in America and enjoyed even more success in the U.K.; it also received a host of Grammy nominations, a sign that the band had secured critical as well as commercial approval. Gorillaz broke ground for a new album in 2007, but the project wasn't released until 2010, when Plastic Beach marked the band's third studio effort.
album review from guardian
Creative lot, humans. We melt polar icecaps and replace them with longer-lasting, non-biodegradable plastic. Gorillaz's third and (allegedly) final album is named for a mass of flotsam swirling around the South Seas, the very opposite of Gauguin's sultry Eden.
As the site of a made-up cartoon ape band's secret fictional recording studio, it is nicely apposite, so let's humour them. Battered Casio keyboards wash up regularly, as well as brass bands (Chicago's talented Hypnotic Brass Ensemble). Given the recent pastimes of Gorillaz mainman Damon Albarn, you might have expected the odd kora, or some Chinese opera singers to land a raft. In the five years since Demon Days, Albarn and co-ape Jamie Hewlett have worked on Monkey: Journey to the West. Albarn's Africa Express has kept on motoring. There was that business last year with some Britpop-era outfit, Blur, too.
Albarn knows how to channel his disparate interests, however. Gorillaz surely bankrolls a great many of his other endeavours, and Plastic Beach is kitted accordingly. The most exotic sounds here come courtesy of the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music on the inventive "White Flag", featuring grime MCs Kano and Bashy
Plastic Beach isn't as obviously commercial an album as Demon Days, however. It lacks a killer hit, making do with the nicely insidious "Stylo". Its electronic pop songs are more sneaky than sure-fire. But from premise to execution, it is probably Gorillaz's most engrossing project so far, rolling from space-age electro to mournful soul and back again. "Where's north from here?" wonders Mark E Smith on the glam stomp of "Glitter Freeze".
Controversially – since neither of their previous producers Danger Mouse or Dan the Automator is involved– you could still call some of this album hip-hop. Snoop Dogg opens the tracklisting, providing an unintentional belly laugh. "I know it seems like the world is so hopeless," mutters the sybaritic west coast pimp roller. Mos Def and De La Soul provide back-up, the latter on the fine "Superfast Jellyfish", alongside Gruff Rhys. Even Albarn has a very unwise go at flow, on "Rhinestone Eyes".
The crush of talent gets a bit dense: Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, recording together for the first time since the Clash; Lou Reed, sounding positively perky on "Some Kind of Nature"; Bobby Womack. And at 16 tracks, Plastic Beach feels endless. But if we accept the line that Gorillaz are up for extinction, they leave us contemplating our own with loosened limbs.
1. "Orchestral Intro" (featuring sinfonia ViVA) Gorillaz 1:09
2. "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble) Gorillaz, Snoop Dogg 3:35
3. "White Flag" (featuring Bashy, Kano, and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music) Gorillaz, Bashy, Kano 3:43
4. "Rhinestone Eyes" Gorillaz 3:20
5. "Stylo" (featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def) Gorillaz, Mos Def 4:30
6. "Superfast Jellyfish" (featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul) Gorillaz, De La Soul, Gruff Rhys 2:54
7. "Empire Ants" (featuring Little Dragon) Gorillaz, Yukimi Nagano 4:43
8. "Glitter Freeze" (featuring Mark E. Smith) Gorillaz, Mark E. Smith 4:03
9. "Some Kind of Nature" (featuring Lou Reed) Gorillaz, Lou Reed 2:59
10. "On Melancholy Hill" Gorillaz 3:53
11. "Broken" Gorillaz 3:17
12. "Sweepstakes" (featuring Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble) Gorillaz, Mos Def 5:20
13. "Plastic Beach" (featuring Mick Jones and Paul Simonon) Gorillaz 3:47
14. "To Binge" (featuring Little Dragon) Gorillaz, Yukimi Nagano 3:55
15. "Cloud of Unknowing" (featuring Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA) Gorillaz 3:06
16. "Pirate Jet" Gorillaz 2:32