Plastic Beach

BY Jessicka Lee LoducaPublished Mar 8, 2010

After over a decade of influencing the scene with their experimental sound, genre splicing animated super-group Gorillaz make a triumphant return with third studio album Plastic Beach. The collaborative compilation is undeniably one that stands on its own. Featuring a vibrant infusion of cameos, including Lou Reed, Mick Jones, Mos Def, De La Soul and the Lebanese National Orchestra, Gorillaz demonstrate how revolutionary they are with their picturesque mishmash of rhymes, pop, disco, orchestration, blues and dark electronic beats. After 2005's Demon Days, some might have wondered if Damon Albarn's virtual side-project could hold up to the luminosity of the five-time platinum LP, yet Plastic Beach couldn't be more of a masterpiece. After a short orchestral intro, the record soars into "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach," featuring Snoop Dogg. A perfect prologue, the dub-funk track showcases mellow music and twisted beats. Drawing from synth pop sounds and Albarn's trademarked sighs, 2D's solo song, "Rhinestone Eyes," is one of the brightest gems on the record. Following it up with '70s-esque highlight "Stylo," this single featuring Mos Def and a wailing Booby Womack couldn't be any hotter. "Empire Ants," featuring Little Dragon, is a nice slow down, with scampering drumbeats and a dreamlike swirl of vocals. All pedestal elevation aside, one might want to skip Lou Reed's "Some Kind of Nature," which must have seemed like a beautiful idea at the time, but turns out to be a mess. Even so, the eclectic harmonics of the disc resonate like a beautiful mixtape.

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