Gorillaz’s third album Plastic Beach will be 10 years old on the 3rd March. Debatably one of the virtual band’s best works Plastic Beach reached a new height for the band right before they took another lengthy break between full-blown albums.
As is normal for Gorillaz Plastic Beach is a confident mix of genres, ranging from Rap to Orchestral, which even combine together on the track ‘White Flag’. What unites each song is the environmental theme of the album. A complete departure from the grunge and weight of their previous album Demon Days, Plastic Beach is airy and calm with its darkness hidden in its thematics and quieter moments. It also features some more obvious references to this fictional plastic beach with seagull noises and brass reminiscent of a boat horn.
The album also makes confident use of different musical talents, Damon Albarn is the main artist behind it but he’s backed up by the likes of other talented musicians. Snoop Dog features, as does Kano, Bobby Womack, and Lou Reed, among others. Perhaps the most unexpectedly impressive collaboration is the Lebanese National Orchestra, which helps make ‘White Flag’ one of the best songs on the album. It represents the sereneness of the ocean around this plastic beach, and contrasts the rapping from Bashy and Kano about life on the island and if it’s better than back home.
For many Gorillaz fans, this album was truly the peak of their music before the band fell to less unique and interesting projects such as Humanz. Which, aside from the less than stellar music, didn’t incorporate the members of this virtual band anywhere near as much as they once did. The charm of these fictional band members was something that made Gorillaz unique, and while Demon Days solidified these characters Plastic Beach added to this strange lore. Here’s hoping for a return to form with their new album.
Watch the video for ‘On Melancholy Hill’ below: