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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Album Review: Gorillaz’ New Album “Plastic Beach”

“Plastic Beach” is the third studio album from the Damon Albern led collaborative project, Gorillaz.

Certainly the most focused album of the three, “Plastic Beach” is as if Albern took Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” stretched it and morphed it into a concept album complete with a handful of rap delights, diverse collaborators and the Gorillaz experimental vibe we’ve come to expect.

Albern, heavily influenced by rap, British-pop, electronic and African music incorporates everything he learned from his previous two albums, including the edge that Danger Doom provided as producer in Demon Days, and creates a concept album that not only succeeds where previous albums have failed but also incorporates the experimental pop Gorillaz are so famous for providing its audience.

The album begins with an orchestra opening by Sinfonia ViVa as the audience is brought into the world Albern has created as if slowly drifting ashore.

Upon arrival trumpets play, as listeners are slowly introduced by a very mellow Snoop Dog to that plastic and disposable metaphoric world.

“Plastic Beach” is an album that is painted with both bright and bleak colors at the same time, creating an ironic beauty surrounded by an industrial, metallic, throwaway and plastic atmosphere.

But Albern does not let the album become like the fake, disposable and superficial world he describes in Plastic Beach.

In “White Flag” MCs Kano and Bashy explain the rules of this tropical, yet electronic island. They continuously tell listeners to raise their white flag, to submit, so that they can tell them the cautionary tale of the disposable world that is Plastic Beach.

“No castaway, no survivor/ I ain’t lost and this ain’t shipwrecked…This ain’t Atlantis, are you sure? I nearly suffocated when I touched the shore” preaches Bashy in front of synthesized tropical beats.

Featured in the album are a variety of collaborators including The National Orchestra for Arabic Music, Lou Reed, Bobby Womack, and others that provide fan with a walk through plastic world of the Gorillaz’,  making it feel inviting and relevant.

“Plastic Beach” shines with its electronic-funk single “Stylo,” as collaborator Bobby Womack really explodes and sings his chest out and past the melancholy chorus “Overload. Overload. Coming on to the Overload.”

The greatest part of “Plastic Beach” has to be its most pop laden song, the third single on the album, “On Melancholy Hill.” The song beautifully chimes up-beat synchs as Albern calmly professes in the incongruously melancholy fashion that riddles the album. “If you can’t get what you want/then you come with me.”

The song encompasses an unsettling depth to it that is only heeded at the end of the track and the only thing we can hang on to is the lyrics.

The track “Pirate Jet” acts the exit to the listener’s stay at Plastic Beach.

The album ultimately succeeds because it not only describes the symptoms of a problematic world but also provides the cleansing solution to the plastic polluted wasteland we’ve created: water.

“It’s all good news now/Because we left the taps running/ For a hundred years/ So drink into the drink.”

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