8 Reasons to Listen to Gorillaz' Plastic Beach [2010] Right Now

  1. In a single (mostly trip-hop/pop influenced) album, Gorillaz manages to feature Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, De La Soul, Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music and f-ing Lou Reed (among others).
  2. Damon Albarn and associates really break out of the 4-cartoon-characters mold that they've so well established. Sounds like Jamie Hewlett is sick of drawing the same band members over and over again. And can you blame either of them? Imagine that you were in their shoes when faced with a demanding planet Earth who really love these four characters, and a record company that stands to make a hunk of profit as well, how would you navigate it? Evolve the characters. Develop the sound. This one doesn't sound like the 2001 eponymous debut and certainly not like Demon Days. Some of the same character voices are there, but they're all speaking the socially, politically, and environmentally charged core of album.
  3. Oh, right, throughout the record there is a brilliant double-metaphor. The basic message as I have distilled it is that A) the planet is dying, we are it's murderers, and in the near-future, survivors will pass the time cooking up wicked rhymes, pirating, and succumbing to carcinogens in the air. Considering this, the use of grime-style flows throughout the album rises to the level of the heavily symbolic and B) as a culture, we're too demanding on our artists. We want music now, high turnaround, regardless of how crummy or played-out it sounds- when the demand is so high, with so little appreciation for production quality, when no one is willing to pay for it. Which is why there's so many cheap, plastic, interchangeable, so-called pop musicians around. It's increasingly toxic to the medium and soon enough, artists won't put any care at all into their releases. This dually impoverished dystopian future will be bleak and make use of several sick bass lines.
  4. Hence, Plastic Beach was 5 years in the making (which really seems to be part of the point of the ridiculously catchy track "Superfast Jellyfish") Real quality is never on-demand. It takes time to percolate an album as complex, clever, and bangin' as this one.
  5. You won't be able to stop listening once you start. I've heard it around 7 or 8 times this past week and it's not gotten old.
  6. The first half of "Empire Ants" is built on a reggaetón beat that manages to not suck at all, a milestone for reggaetón.
  7. You could be the first one on your block to do a sweet extended house remix of "On Melancholy Hill" and be adored by all. Unless, oh wait, somewhere out there on the internets someone already beat you to it

8. Preview it here then run out and buy it up. I can't wait until it's out on vinyl!

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