The brain child of Blur singer Damon Albarn and Tank Girl artist Jamie Hewlett, the Gorillaz are back with an entirely different sound. The band, as representation of four cartoon characters, seemed crazy enough when the band first started, and years later they still make it work.
From track one, an orchestral piece entitled "Orchestral Intro," it is clear the Gorillaz have changed directions. This album is an eclectic mix of "joints" with collaborating artists, such as Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Mos Def and the Clash's Mick Jones, and it raps and rocks to create a plastic beach: a world of the natural and the not-so-natural.
The album itself is largely environmentally-friendly in its message and, as silly as that sounds, it actually works. Snoop Dogg shows off why he is one of the best rappers today on the second track, "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach," making silly rhymes about pollution that sound smooth and poetic.
One highlight of this album was a synth powered track: "Empire Ants" starts off as a lazy beach tune and suddenly explodes in to a catchy, dreamy head-bobber of a tune.
The third track, "White Flag," features the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music and Kano and Bashy. It starts off with a beautiful flute, drum melody and switches gears into a rap fueled by anti-war, anti- religion anthem.
Track five "Stylo" is the most impressive by far. Featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack, the vocals on this track are unbelievable. Womack's wails are so intense and unheard of in music as of late it grabs a hold of your eardrums and does not let go until the end. The music video for "Stylo" is a fun Sunday car ride that features Gorillaz fan Bruce Willis that makes it well worth visiting Gorillaz.com, and perhaps even buying the album.