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Friday, May 03, 2013

Gorillaz -- Demon Days


So I've posted before about my summer of 2005 decent to mental darkness. Several albums helped pick me up out of that funk. I've reviewed some of them already. Blindside's The Great Depression. Dredg's Catch Without Arms. Some I will soon, like Greenday's American Idiot. I hate Greenday.
Anyway, if there's an album tailor-made to get someone out of a funk, it's Gorillaz's Demon Days. The Damon Albarn/Jamie Hewlett created project prove on their second album that they aren't an animated gimmick--Gorillaz is a great band.
Demon Days positive aspects are numerative and I hate this review and all its stupid sentences and that I just used the word "numerative" incorrectly instead of just saying numerous. I'm completely ruining things. Let's try to get back on track...
Like Gorillaz self-titled debut, Demon Daysis genreless. Unlike the band's debut, which became a muddy mess at times, Demon Days sound is textured, nuanced, and something completely new. More than anything, it's a world apart to itself. I'm a sucker for that sort of self-containment. Wait, there's an even greater "more than anything" coming in the next sentence. Demon Days greatest asset over Gorillaz self-titled debut is a simple one: Demon Days is actually an album instead of just a collection of songs.
The album starts off sleepily and seems to wake up as it goes along its excellent emotional journey. By the 4th 5th (that was fun to say), the songs are incredibly loose and awake. This leads into the final, connected trilogy of songs, which feature spoken word by Dennis Hopper, a gospel choir, and reggae. These three things shouldn't go together, and they certainly shouldn't work, but they do on a solar level. The enjoyable strain of chilled melancholy that runs throughout the rest of the album is transformatively paid off with joy and optimism. It's almost impossible not to feel better than one did fifty-one minutes earlier, as the gospel choir triumphantly belt out their final round of "turn yourself around, to the sun." I know I did on every consecutive listen eight years ago, and I have on every listen I've done recently for this review. It's pretty great to have an album mean a lot to you for a specific moment, yet find it still has that effect on you years later. The final rapped line of the midnight-evoking "All Alone" still makes me feel as equally triumphant today as it did when I literally was all alone eight years ago. I really, really love this album. It means more to me than I can express and it's a shame that I've botched this review because it deserves far better.
As with all Gorillaz albums, the visual aspect is almost as important as the audio. As MTV2 made a short-lived attempt to get back into the music video business in the summer of 2005, and the newer Fuse channel was really making a push to posit itself as the best place to watch music videos, I spent a lot of nights enjoying the audio/visual excellence of "Feel Good Inc."

The band did several videos for this album, and they are all pretty awesome. I suggest you check them out. Geez, I really hate this review. Can I try again in one quick, metaphysical burst? Thanks, here goes:
Imagine everything has gone wrong for you and you feel like life itself has abandoned you. You can't sleep at night, and you are haunted by how awful things have gone. Suddenly, on the longest night of all, you are visited by fifteen consecutive spectral visitors. Each one performs an exorcism on some small part of you. By the time they're gone, your demons are, too, and the sun is up and you feel incredible. What happened in the past doesn't matter. You can do anything. That's Gorillaz' Demon Days.

2005 Parlophone
1. Intro (sampled from the original score of the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead) 1:03
2. Last Living Souls 3:10
3. Kids with Guns (featuring Neneh Cherry) 3:45
4. O Green World 4:31
5. Dirty Harry (featuring Bootie Brown and The San Fernandez Youth Chorus) 3:43
6. Feel Good Inc. (featuring De La Soul) 3:41
7. El Mañana 3:50
8. Every Planet We Reach is Dead (featuring Ike Turner) 4:53
9. November Has Come (featuring MF DOOM) 2:41
10. All Alone (featuring Roots Manuva and Martina Topley-Bird) 3:30
11. White Light 2:08
12. DARE (featuring Shaun Ryder) 4:04
13. Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head (featuring Dennis Hopper) 3:16
14. Don't Get Lost in Heaven (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) 2:00
15. Demon Days (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) 4:28

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