What GVSU listens to, No. 4: Gorillaz

Courtesy Photo / Google Images
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Courtesy Photo / Google Images Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz project, which first debuted at the turn of the millennium amidst the ashes of Blur, was always something of a mystical endeavor. A conceptual band that rarely toured used hip-hop influences and represented itself as cartoon apes. Lately, Albarn has demystified the act but amped up the intensity.

“Plastic Beach” is Gorillaz’ most hip-hop oriented album yet, and it hosts a Hall of Fame roster of special guests from Lou Reed and Snoop Dogg to Albarn crony Bobby Womack. Much like the Laker Bowls at Fresh Foods, it’s unsure if the combination of everything you love will make sense blended into one. Luckily, this album is perfection and could have been made by no one else.

“Plastic Beach” takes elements from the band’s previous work and adds a conceptual element to the mix. Everything here elicits imagery of the sea and of a quick, easy, plastic lifestyle – albeit a sometimes despondent one. This despondency is not so much of a downer as it is a necessary part of bringing you into the world of the plastic beach. The flicker of hope found in the warm synthesized hums of “Melancholy Hill” infer that the pebbles and stones hold secrets we’ve yet to discover. However, cheeky rap bangers like “Sweepstakes” and the fast-food-jingle-on-uppers single “Superfast Jellyfish” show that gloom and doom isn’t something to dwell on, but rather to come to terms with to party to your greatest potential later.

No other album released this year snatches the listener from the doldrums of everyday life as “Plastic Beach.” The excellently communicated state of catharsis the album illustrates, covered in its glossy, plastic sheen, cements it as an obvious gem from 2010.