Gorillaz
Plastic Beach


3.0
good

Review

by Plutonio USER (18 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2010 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Plastic Beach is another album from hip-hop's eclectic superheroes; this time their eclecticism can occasionally come across as contrived, and the tracks often meander. However, Gorillaz fail to make a bad album. Plastic Beach is flawed, yes, but enjoyabl

Hip-hop, the new generation's aural experiment in the manufactured image, has proven time and time again that it's on a slippery slope to the land of no return. Rehashed electronics and otiose beats run amok on the radio, infecting the mind's of our country's particularly impressionable youth. Rather than politically, or even emotionally charged, the tracks from artists such as New Boyz and the infamous Lil Wayne are charged with only hormonal stupidity. These insipid bands-and therefore the songs and albums they create-lack taste and originality. This genre is stagnant and dying.

So what could Gorillaz do to stop it? If their virtual image was to say anything about their emotional and experimental qualities, Gorillaz would undoubtedly deliver another devastating blow to hip-hop. However, Gorillaz shined. Despite their anime-styled characters and the state of their genre, said band manifested the experimental image within their first two albums, Gorillaz and Demon Days. The latter album would show a development of their eclectic style. Fusing hip-hop, disco, jazz, acoustic, and electronic together could prove disastrous for many Grammy-nominated bands, but Gorillaz made it just work. They were able to alternate between a resplendent and somber approach (“El Manana”), a more straightforward hip-hop sound (“Feel Good Inc.”), and a quaint eclectic hodgepodge (“Dirty Harry”). Garnering critical acclaim and even Grammy awards, their third album titled Plastic Beach would certainly fly off the shelves. However, would this album compare with their previous fares?

Enter Plastic Beach, Gorillaz's third album. Graced with an absurd number of guest appearances, common sense would suggest an exceptionally original and grandiose effort. Instead, Gorillaz defy common sense with an album that sounds like a less heartfelt and vigorous carbon copy of their first two albums. Case in point: “Stylo” sounds like a monotonous and homogeneous Demon Days B-side, complete with disco and hip-hop tinge. Even with an electric performance by Bobby Womack, the track seems to be a stagnant cesspool of ideas. Those ideas never develop into much more than a really catchy track complete with pulsating beats and soaring vocals. A byproduct of this lack of musical development is the very notable faux-exoticism that runs amok on Plastic Beach. Attempts at including an Arabian orchestra on “White Flag” are contrived, and the track suffers the same problems that Stylo does. The track as a whole is like a plateau in the way that the much needed climax is nowhere to be found. Contrived, anticlimactic attempts at eclecticism are abound. Despite their presence, there are some examples of Gorillaz refining their genre-bending eccentricities.

One example of this is “Empire Ants”. Splashed with a subdued vocal performance courtesy of Little Dragon, this track balances eclecticism with flair and resplendence beautifully. Subtlety is key here, as the contrasting genre-juxtaposition is tasteful, akin to that shown in “El Manana”. Also attempts at integrating transethnic music into the genre-mash of Plastic Beach can be tasteful. '80s era UK synthpop works its way into “On Melancholy Hill.” Post-World War II German Elektronische Musik also makes an unexpected visit on Plastic Beach. With the effective oscillation between cold pitch and eerie buzz, Gorillaz shine. And yes, the pop and rock influences are still used well. The various tones that Damon Albarn uses make this album accessible and enjoyable as do the scores of hooks displayed on this album. Basically, it comes down to the fact that Gorillaz have continued to provide their listeners with eclecticism and catchiness on their third outing. However, with their signature qualities they have brought contrived affairs and meandering song structures. Therefore, Plastic Beach is an album that is flawed, yet very enjoyable.



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user ratings (1249)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Jasdevi087 (4)
    ...

    Peter Tabakis (4)
    Damon Albarn establishes himself as a pop auteur. Pop hits be damned, consistency rules he...

    TheSmoke (4.5)
    Plastic Beach is an very good album that nerver gets boring, it´s dreamy and it´s not co...

    clavichordwolf (2)
    Plastic Beach is nothing but candy-coated bullshit played for satire....

  • DhA (4)
    Not that different from previous releases, although the lack of a killer single may make t...

    piero (4)
    Maybe Plastic Beach represents the beginning of the end of musical labeling, the start of ...

    Nick Butler EMERITUS (2.5)
    An identity crisis caught on record....

    Deviant STAFF (4)
    Round 3 for Albarn and co. proves that third time is still indeed the charm....

  • sobelecta (4.5)
    Album number three doesn't disappoint from the former Blur man....

    Raul Stanciu STAFF (3.5)
    After two brilliant efforts, Albarn & Co. are back with a bigger number, this time more s...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Plutonio
March 22nd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Criticize please.

EDIT:
I began writing this a week ago

Urinetrouble
March 22nd 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol record deserves a 4 or above at least.


reads like a rolling stone or SPIN review which really arent reviews just showcases for fancy wordsmithing

Plutonio
March 22nd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

like...?

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


10581 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i don't really understand how RS or spin reviews aren't "reviews." i thought this was good, if a little wordy at times. it's good to have a diverse vocabulary but you always have to beware of alienating your readers

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

Urinetrouble
March 22nd 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"nana”. Also attempts at integrating transethnic music into the genre-mash of Plastic Beach can be tasteful. '80s era UK synthpop works its way into “On Melancholy Hill.” Post-World War II German Elektronische Musik also makes an unexpected visit on Plastic Beach. With the effective oscillation between cold pitch and eerie buzz, Gorillaz shine. And yes, the pop and rock influences are still used well. The various tones that Damon Albarn uses make this album accessible and enjoyable as do the scores of hooks displayed on this album. Basically"

exactly like SPIN

Plutonio
March 22nd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well thank you for comparing me to a professional writing staff. Seeing as I have never read SPIN, I have no idea what criticism you are trying to give me; therefore I take your words as a compliment.

Urinetrouble
March 22nd 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

mixed criticism

Plutonio
March 22nd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thank you klap

Plutonio
March 22nd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

explain further please weedbeater.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


10581 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

something being like spin doesn't make it a bad review. in fact, i enjoy reading spin reviews - they're usually a lot shorter and to the point than a lot of shit online

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


31618 Comments


Rehashed electronics and otiose beats run amok on the radio,

I'd consider changing that word; while it can mean ineffective and/or useless it can also refer to being idle and being at leisure. So that might not be the most effective word for the sentence
Case in point: “Stylo” sounds like a monotonous and homogeneous Demon Days B-side, complete with disco and hip-hop tinge

Stylo has absolutely nothing in common with Disco; it's all new wave baby!
The track as a whole is like a plateau in the way

A plateu would suggest that it neither grows or declines, I think you're attempting to make a point that the song (being 'anticlimactic') goes downhill
eclecticism with flair and resplendence beautifully. Subtlety is key here

I'm not too sure that it is possible to be eclectic and subtle

Not bad though



Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

TheWayfarerElectric
March 22nd 2010


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Even with an electric performance by Bobby Womack, the track seems to be a stagnant cesspool of ideas. Those ideas never develop into much more than a really catchy track complete with pulsating beats and soaring vocals. A byproduct of this lack of musical development is the very notable faux-exoticism that runs amok on Plastic Beach. Attempts at including an Arabian orchestra on “White Flag” are contrived, and the track suffers the same problems that Stylo does. The track as a whole is like a plateau in the way that the much needed climax is nowhere to be found. Contrived, anticlimactic attempts at eclecticism are abound. Despite their presence, there are some examples of Gorillaz refining their genre-bending eccentricities.

One example of this is “Empire Ants”. Splashed with a subdued vocal performance courtesy of Little Dragon, this track balances eclecticism with flair and resplendence beautifully. Subtlety is key here, as the contrasting genre-juxtaposition is tasteful, akin to that shown in “El Manana”. Also attempts at integrating transethnic music into the genre-mash of Plastic Beach can be tasteful. '80s era UK synthpop works its way into “On Melancholy Hill.” Post-World War II German Elektronische Musik also makes an unexpected visit on Plastic Beach. With the effective oscillation between cold pitch and eerie buzz, Gorillaz shine. And yes, the pop and rock influences are still used well. The various tones that Damon Albarn uses make this album accessible and enjoyable as do the scores of hooks displayed on this album.


This

Urinetrouble
March 23rd 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you know what. im just givin you flack for giving this a 3. deserves 4 or more. the review reeally does kinda feel like a spin magazine one though.

also, wats your fav track?

TheWayfarerElectric
March 23rd 2010


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The track as a whole is like a plateau in the way

A plateu would suggest that it neither grows or declines, I think you're attempting to make a point that the song (being 'anticlimactic') goes downhill

eclecticism with flair and resplendence beautifully. Subtlety is key here

I'm not too sure that it is possible to be eclectic and subtle

Not bad though

----------------------

Um, okay... well as proven by El Manana, it is possible to be eclectic and subtle, as fusing genres doesn't have to affect the craziness or apparence of that component.

And plateaus go up a little bit.... then they stay the same a long time... and go downhill. He's saying listening to White Flag is like musical blue balls-slow jerk no pay.

Plutonio
March 23rd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My favorite track is either On Melanchly Hill or Empire Ants.

Bulldog
March 23rd 2010


3796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good review.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010


31618 Comments


Um, okay... well as proven by El Manana, it is possible to be eclectic and subtle, as fusing genres doesn't have to affect the craziness or apparence of that component.

I don't consider El Manana to be eclectic at all, but that just comes down to personal preference/listening experience and/or opinion. I think it's a great track, but far from an eclectic piece of music.
And plateaus go up a little bit.... then they stay the same a long time... and go downhill. He's saying listening to White Flag is like musical blue balls-slow jerk no pay

While that is true, I still don't think that it is being used in the proper context. A plateau means "little or no growth or decline" - to say the song is anticlimactic is not really synonymous with being 'stagnant'

Plutonio
March 23rd 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm saying it's anticlimactic and stagnant.

And El Manana fuses new wave, some jazzy quirks, neoclassical, pop, electronic, acoustic, and rock to create a style that is uniquely gorillaz's. that's eclectic for ya.

Urinetrouble
March 23rd 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

many people complain abut the lack of albarn but this is supposed to be a collaborative band. i wonder why people complain about lack of albarn?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010


31618 Comments


And El Manana fuses new wave, some jazzy quirks, neoclassical, pop, electronic, acoustic, and rock to create a style that is uniquely gorillaz's. that's eclectic for ya.


Bolding denotes what should stay



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