As is to be expected from a Gorillaz production, their third studio album includes efforts from a vast array of artists creating a new point of reference for collaborative music. Any album that includes input from Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music (catchy name right?) is sure to be an interesting listen and in that sense this album does not disappoint. The main focus of the tracks is certainly the music which is pretty awesome and I think you will find yourself toe-tapping or head-nodding along to the beats rather than singing the lyrics after a few listens.
Such is the experimentation and diversity in this album, that I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if the Gorillaz didnâ€™t particularly want mainstream acceptance of this album. They are a group that constantly tries to push boundaries, merge genres and ignore limitations knowing full well that this removes any chance of number 1 hit after number 1 hit. With such varied music the temptation is to say that this will be a â€˜marmite albumâ€™ â€“ you either love it or you hate it â€“ but I donâ€™t think this is the case thanks to the easy-listening and tranquil nature of almost every track.
The sound that has given Gorillaz their biggest hits to date (such as â€œFeel Good Inc.â€ and â€œDareâ€) is to be found in the likes of â€œRhinestone Eyesâ€ and â€œTo Bingeâ€ and I donâ€™t think itâ€™s a coincidence that these are some of my favourite tracks.
Sixteen album tracks is a relatively large amount and whilst the Gorillaz take advantage of this by getting so many talented artists involved, the general feel and style of each song is rather similar leading to the album lacking a real source of energy, particularly in the first half of the album. â€œSweepstakesâ€ is an exception to this as Mos Defâ€™s rapid vocals are laid over the melodic chaos created by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. No track has a definitive build up and climax, instead relying on flowing music which some may find monotonous whilst others will love to be carried away by the musical current.
An album daring to mix Kano with The Lebanese Orchestra must be admired if not raved about. I canâ€™t see this album having large mainstream success but such is their penchant for breaking the norm I wouldnâ€™t be too surprised if Gorillaz were to win critical acclaim for their musical scope alone.
01. Orchestral Into feat. sinfonia ViVA (01.08)
02. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (03.34)
03. White Flag feat. Kano, Bashy and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music (03.42)
04. Rhinestone Eyes (03.18) *
07. Empire Ants feat. Little Dragon (04.42)
08. Glitter Freeze feat. Mark E. Smith (03.59)
09. Some Kind of Nature feat. Lou Reed (02.58)
10. On Melancholy Hill (03.45)
11. Broken (03.15)
12. Sweepstakes feat. Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (05.00)
13. Plastic Beach feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (03.47) *
14. To Binge feat. Little Dragon (03.52) *
15. Cloud of Unknowing feat. Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA (03.06)
16. Pirate Jet (02.32)
Gorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes *
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon *
Gorillaz – To Binge feat. Little Dragon *