Proceed With Caution
There’s no denying that Damon Albarn is a talented little bugger. However, the Gorillaz’ third release Plastic Beach tends to leave one with mixed feelings. Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of input from an outside producer. It’s not bad it’s just that the songs don’t quite mesh as a cohesive whole, but they tend to stand well on their own. The disc begins with the instrumental “Orchestral Intro,” which gives way to a laid back rap, courtesy of Snoop Dogg, about how pollution is destroying our oceans in “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach”. The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music provides the back drop for “White Flag,” which meshes together Mediterranean and Caribbean influences. The electronic sleepy beats of “Rhinestone Eyes” are reminiscent of the Gorillaz’ classic “Clint Eastwood”.
One has to give credit to the genius of “Stylo” (featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def). The song has received noticeable amounts of airplay despite its lack of a chorus. “Superfast Jellyfish” is an amusing tune that features Gruff Rhys and De La Soul. “Glitter Freeze” is a techno infused ditty that is well suited for the dancefloor. Lou Reed’s graveled vocals add character to “Some Kind of Nature,” and Mos Def makes a return on the up-tempo “Sweepstakes”. The most notable appearance on the album has to be the reunion of Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (The Clash) on “Plastic Beach”. The disc ends on a cheery note with a pub worthy raise your glass in the air anthem titled “Pirate Jet”. All in all, this record may take awhile to grow on you. However, creating your own playlist from iTunes may be the way to go.