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Plastic Beach

Gorillaz

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Gorillaz began as a lark but turned serious once it became Damon Albarn’s primary creative outlet following the slow dissolve of Blur. Delivered five years after the delicate whimsical melancholy of 2005’s Demon Days, Plastic Beach is an explicit sequel to its predecessor, its story line roughly picking up in the dystopian future where the last album left off, its music offering a grand, big-budget expansion of Demon Days, spinning off its cameo-crammed blueprint. Traces of Albarn’s Monkey opera can be heard, particularly in the hypnotic Mideastern pulse of “White Flag,” but Damon’s painstaking pancultural pop junk-mining no longer surprises -- when hip-hop juts up against Brit-pop, it’s expected -- yet it still has the capacity to delight no matter which direction the Gorillaz may swing. Lou Reed’s crotchety croak on “Some Kind of Nature” has the same kind of gravitational pull as Mos Def leading the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble through the intensely circling “Sweepstakes,” while the group reaches new heights of sparkling pop on “Superfast Jellyfish,” aided by the return of De La Soul -- the rappers who propelled “Feel Good Inc.” -- and an appearance from Gruff Rhys, the Super Furry Animals frontman who is an ideal fit for Gorillaz (possibly because SFA’s genre-bending pop and Pete Fowler artwork clearly paved the way for Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s collaboration). A common thread among all these tracks is that they find Albarn ceding the spotlight to his fellow musicians, preferring to be the puppetmaster behind the curtain, and Plastic Beach works best when he’s the composer and producer, finding hidden strengths within his guests -- having Mick Jones and Paul Simonon for the elastic title track, coaxing some powerful performances out of Bobby Womack -- but often when Albarn takes center stage his laconic drawl lets the air out of the balloon. Curiously, much of this arrives toward the beginning of the album, the record gaining momentum as it unspools, working toward its climax, but the overall album accentuates moody texture over pop hooks. This emphasis means Plastic Beach is the first Gorillaz album to play like a soundtrack to a cartoon -- which isn’t entirely a bad thing, because as Albarn grows as a composer, he’s a master of subtly shifting moods and intricately threaded allusions, often creating richly detailed collages that are miniature marvels.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Plastic Beach

Gorillaz

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1
Orchestral Intro (feat. Sinfonia ViVA)
00:01:09

Mark Smith, Horn - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer, Masterer - David Lewis, Violin - Gorillaz, Producer, Featured Vocalist, Performance, MainArtist - Cox, Mixer, Engineer, Recorder - David Ayre, Double Bass - Damon Albarn, Writer, Performance - Stephen Sedgwick, Engineer, Programmer, Recorder - Jason Cox, Mixer, Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Performance - André de Ridder, Conductor - sinfonia ViVA, Orchestra, FeaturedArtist - Chris Windass, Violin - Peregrine William Benedict Holland, Violin - Nic Fallowfield, Violin - Ken Mitchell, Violin - Caroline Bromley, Violin - Rebecca Allfree, Violin - Clare Bhabra, Violin - Jackie Hill, Violin - Philip Charles Gallaway, Violin - Sian McInally, Violin - Hazel Parkes, Violin - Jacob Lay, Violin - Peter Leighton-Jones, Violin - Tim Taylorson, Flute - Nichola Hunter, Flute, Piccolo - Gordon Truman, Trumpet - Jose Lluna, Horn - Alex Carr, Horn - Graham Hall, Percussion, Timpani - Richard Muncey, Viola - Isobel Adams, Viola - Jacqueline A Anthony, Viola - Rachel Dyker, Viola - Deirdre Bencsik, Cello - Jeanette Lander, Cello - Freddie Collarbone, Cello - Chris Swann, Clarinet - Helen Bishop, Clarinet - Alun Darbyshire, Oboe - Sophie McMillan, Cor Anglais, Oboe - Glyn Foley, Bassoon - Claire Gainford, Bassoon - David Burndrett, Double Bass - Simon Mansfield, Trombone - Anthony Thompson, Trumpet - Lucy Wilding, Cello

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
00:03:35

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Snoop Dogg, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Gorillaz, MainArtist - Ted Chung, Recorded by - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Recorded by - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recorded by - Josh Shultz, Recorded by - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums - Chris Jackson, Recorded by - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Brass Ensemble

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

3
White Flag (feat. Bashy, Kano and the National Orchestra for Arabic Music)
00:03:43

Bashy, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Kane Robinson, Performed by - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, MainArtist - Cox, Mixer, Engineer, Recorder - Kano, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Damon Albarn, Writer, Performance - Stephen Sedgwick, Engineer, Programmer, Recorder - Jason Cox, Mixer, Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Performance - Essam Rafea, Conductor - Wissam Khodur, Musicians, Miscellaneous - The National Orchestra for Arabic Music, Orchestra, FeaturedArtist - Ali Mukhtar Babayev, Violin - Rachid Helal, Violin - Walid Khatba, Violin - Nawaf Helal, Violin - Mohamad Ali Moraly, Violin - Mohamad Wasim Al Amam, Violin - Maher Zaroof, Violin - George Tannou, Violin - Layth Chemayss, Violin - Tarek Zaidieh, Violin - Shalan Alhamwy, Violin - Sari Alesh, Violin - Mohanand Alhassan, Violin - Hivron Mirkhan, Violin - Amir Khouri, Violin - Mazkin Mouhammad, Violin - Jamil Bittar, Violin - Dania Alkabir Alhasani, Violin - Badi Rafea, Percussion - Mazen Hamzeh, Percussion - Ragheb Jbea, Percussion - Marwan Abu-Jahjah, Viola - Andre Al Maalouli, Viola - Mohamad Zaghloul, Viola - Thaer Eid, Viola - Khaldoun Al-Najar, Viola - Jamil Amari, Viola - Mouhamad Mear Ali, Viola - Ehab Abo Fakher, Viola - Mohamed Namik, Cello - Salah Namik, Cello - Mhd Sohaib Al-Saman, Cello - Somar Ashkar, Cello - Ossama Altessini, Cello - Bassem Aljaber, Double Bass - Mhd Jihad Sukkar, Double Bass - Wasem Kasem, Double Bass - Ibrahim Kadar, Flute - Kamal Skikir, Musicians, Miscellaneous - Feras Charestan, Orchestra, Musicians, Zither - Iyad Othman, Lute, Musicians

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Rhinestone Eyes
00:03:20

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
00:04:30

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - BOBBY WOMACK, Vocals - Gorillaz, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Mos Def, Writer, FeaturedArtist

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
00:02:54

David Jolicoeur, Writer - Kelvin Mercer, Writer, Featured Vocals - Gruff Rhys, Guitar, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Bass Guitar, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Writer - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums - Vincent Mason, Featured Vocals - Dave Jolicoeur, Featured Vocals - David Attenborough, Samples

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
00:04:43

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Fredrik Wallin, Keyboards - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Writer - Simon Tong, Guitar - Yukimi Nagano, Vocals, Writer - Hakan Wirenstrand, Keyboards, Writer - Erik Bodin, Writer - Fredrick Wallin, Writer

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)
00:04:03

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Additional Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Writer - Simon Tong, Guitar - Mark E Smith, Writer, FeaturedArtist

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Some Kind of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)
00:02:59

Gruff Rhys, Vocals - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Lou Reed, Guitar, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Writer - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums - Michael Makowski, Engineer - Marion Powell, Vocals - Wendi Rose, Vocals - Sharlene Hector, Vocals - Janet Ramus, Vocals - Yvonne Stevens, Vocals - LaDonna Harley-Peters, Vocals - Wayne Hernedez, Vocals - Lucy Randell, Vocals - John Gibbons, Vocals

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

10
On Melancholy Hill
00:03:53

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Percussion, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Additional Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Broken
00:03:17

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Percussion, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Additional Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

12
Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
00:05:20

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Recording Engineer - Jamie Hewlett, Performance - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums - Dante Terrell Smith, Writer - Michael Makowski, Engineer - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Brass, FeaturedArtist - Mos Def, FeaturedArtist

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

13
Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)
00:03:47

Paul Simonon, Bass Guitar, Bass, FeaturedArtist - Mick Jones, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Engineer, Programmer - Jason Cox, Engineer, Mixing Engineer

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

14
To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
00:03:55

Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Keyboards, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Fredrik Wallin, Keyboards - Jason Cox, Additional Keyboards, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer, Ukulele - Yukimi Nagano, Writer - Hakan Wirenstrand, Keyboards, Writer - Erik Bodin, Writer - Little Dragon, FeaturedArtist - Fredrick Wallin, Writer

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

15
Cloud of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)
00:03:06

Mark Smith, Horn - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - BOBBY WOMACK, FeaturedArtist - David Lewis, Violin - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - David Ayre, Double Bass - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Simon Tong, Guitar - André de Ridder, Conductor - Chris Windass, Violin - Peregrine William Benedict Holland, Violin - Nic Fallowfield, Violin - Ken Mitchell, Violin - Caroline Bromley, Violin - Rebecca Allfree, Violin - Clare Bhabra, Violin - Jackie Hill, Violin - Philip Charles Gallaway, Violin - Sian McInally, Violin - Hazel Parkes, Violin - Jacob Lay, Violin - Peter Leighton-Jones, Violin - Tim Taylorson, Flute - Nichola Hunter, Flute, Piccolo - Gordon Truman, Trumpet - Jose Lluna, Horn - Alex Carr, Horn - Graham Hall, Percussion, Timpani - Richard Muncey, Viola - Isobel Adams, Viola - Jacqueline A Anthony, Viola - Rachel Dyker, Viola - Deirdre Bencsik, Cello - Jeanette Lander, Cello - Freddie Collarbone, Cello - Chris Swann, Clarinet - Helen Bishop, Clarinet - Alun Darbyshire, Oboe - Sophie McMillan, Cor Anglais, Oboe - Glyn Foley, Bassoon - Claire Gainford, Bassoon - David Burndrett, Double Bass - Simon Mansfield, Trombone - Michael Makowski, Engineer - Anthony Thompson, Trumpet - Lucy Wilding, Cello

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

16
Pirate Jet
00:02:32

Gruff Rhys, Vocals - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Gorillaz, Producer, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Vocals, Writer - Stephen Sedgwick, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jason Cox, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - David Coulter, Harp - Gabriel Manuals Wallace, Drums - Marion Powell, Vocals - Wendi Rose, Vocals - Sharlene Hector, Vocals - Janet Ramus, Vocals - Yvonne Stevens, Vocals - LaDonna Harley-Peters, Vocals - Wayne Hernedez, Vocals - Lucy Randell, Vocals - John Gibbons, Vocals

2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2010 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

Gorillaz began as a lark but turned serious once it became Damon Albarn’s primary creative outlet following the slow dissolve of Blur. Delivered five years after the delicate whimsical melancholy of 2005’s Demon Days, Plastic Beach is an explicit sequel to its predecessor, its story line roughly picking up in the dystopian future where the last album left off, its music offering a grand, big-budget expansion of Demon Days, spinning off its cameo-crammed blueprint. Traces of Albarn’s Monkey opera can be heard, particularly in the hypnotic Mideastern pulse of “White Flag,” but Damon’s painstaking pancultural pop junk-mining no longer surprises -- when hip-hop juts up against Brit-pop, it’s expected -- yet it still has the capacity to delight no matter which direction the Gorillaz may swing. Lou Reed’s crotchety croak on “Some Kind of Nature” has the same kind of gravitational pull as Mos Def leading the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble through the intensely circling “Sweepstakes,” while the group reaches new heights of sparkling pop on “Superfast Jellyfish,” aided by the return of De La Soul -- the rappers who propelled “Feel Good Inc.” -- and an appearance from Gruff Rhys, the Super Furry Animals frontman who is an ideal fit for Gorillaz (possibly because SFA’s genre-bending pop and Pete Fowler artwork clearly paved the way for Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s collaboration). A common thread among all these tracks is that they find Albarn ceding the spotlight to his fellow musicians, preferring to be the puppetmaster behind the curtain, and Plastic Beach works best when he’s the composer and producer, finding hidden strengths within his guests -- having Mick Jones and Paul Simonon for the elastic title track, coaxing some powerful performances out of Bobby Womack -- but often when Albarn takes center stage his laconic drawl lets the air out of the balloon. Curiously, much of this arrives toward the beginning of the album, the record gaining momentum as it unspools, working toward its climax, but the overall album accentuates moody texture over pop hooks. This emphasis means Plastic Beach is the first Gorillaz album to play like a soundtrack to a cartoon -- which isn’t entirely a bad thing, because as Albarn grows as a composer, he’s a master of subtly shifting moods and intricately threaded allusions, often creating richly detailed collages that are miniature marvels.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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