Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach Album Track By Track
It features Mos Def, Snoop, Kano and more…
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 15:56
Overall Gorillaz' new album Plastic Beach- which is released on March 8- is less dark than its predecessor Demon Days and is also less hip-hop focused.
Instead the record features a range of synth disco sounds mixed with songs that could easily appear on any of Damon Albarn’s work with his other bands. The guests are again great and the production at times awe-inspiring.
One magazine has already called it the best album of 2010. Here’s what MTV thought after our first listen…
1. Orchestral Intro (featuring Sinfonia ViVA)
The sound of the sea and strings open the album
2. Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
Snoop raps over a slow house beat to open the album with lines like: “Kids gather round I need your focus/ I know it seems the world is so hopeless.” With Damon in the background Snoop adds: “Welcome to the world of the Plastic Beach!”
Over orchestral Morrocan strings and casio bleeps the two UK MCs put in tight verses on a track which doesn’t feature Damon’s vocals. Bashy says “I aint Jesus but I walk on water” while Kano keeps up the albums theme spitting “If heaven had a VIP- this is it white sand, blue sea.”
4. Rhinestone Eyes
With a beat that recalls Demon Days’ Kids with Guns this track is all Albarn with a chorus that runs “your love is like Rhinestones falling from the sky.” The verses see the Blur man coming close to rapping himself
5. Stylo (feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
The first single from the album features a wonderfully oft-kilter Bobby Womack vocal, New York disco beat and Mos Def’s distorted raps.
6. Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
One of the albums highlights- this is less feel good than er, Feel Good Inc. but is still punchy and poppy. With a slow hip hop beat reminiscent of Gorillaz’ early Clint Eastwood track it’s appropriately cartoon like. Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys features on the hook.
7. Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
After a long gentle intro with piano and strings we here Little Dragon singing about her “little dream working the machines.”
8. Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)
The Fall frontman features in the breakdown of this song which showcases a driving drum machine beat and dark whizzes and whirrs.
9. Some Kind Of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)
This sees the former Velvet Underground man on top form with New York drawl intoning: “Some kind of metal, some kind of glue, some kind of plastic I could wrap around you.” The keyboard melody and Albarn's own vocals will stay in your head for days. Another highlight - it could be this album’s Dare.
10. On Melancholy Hill
Another stereotypical Damon track about love and a lost England. Despite the synths it sounds like The Good, The Bad and The Queen.
A forlorn song with the Gorillaz' frontman singing about an unnamed ‘her’ and ‘broken love.’
12. Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
This cracker kicks off with lo-fi pinball machine beats which give way to live drums and The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Mos has a much longer rap than on Stylo and shows why he’s regarded as one of the best rappers around.
13. Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon)
Features a spaghetti Western guitar intro. Damon sings: “It’s a Casio on a Plastic Beach,” which sums up the track.
14. To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
A gorgeous love song which again recalls the sound of the sea.
15. Cloud Of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)
Like Demon Days this album draws to a close with slow and filmic tracks. Here Soul legend Womack sings: “I was her from the very start just trying to find a way to your heart.”
16. Pirate Jet
Closes the album with Synths and Hammond keyboards. Sounds like the short Lot 45 track from Blur’s Parklife album.
BY TOM THOROGOOD
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