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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Gorillaz -- Gorillaz

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I don't think it's a stretch to say Gorillaz are the greatest animated simian band of all time (including the Monkees). That said, their first album, Gorillaz, is weird. Granted, it comes from a weird time. After the 20th  Century ended on such a high note, there were many possible futures. Gorillaz self-titled debut exists in the twilight ether of the start of the 21st Century. The party is still going on and hopefully going to last, but who knows what's about to happen? Gorillaz odd, sleepy chillout mix of trip-hop, rap, and rock reflects this. A few months later, some planes would hit some buildings, and instead of a new century of hope, we found ourselves in a fearful situation, constant wars, tanking economy, the future now not just uncertain, but darkly uncertain. I've discussed the strange lost period between the start of the century and 9/11 before. Those twenty months could have well been the start or continuation of something beautiful, but life went in another direction.
Likewise, this album could have been a classic, but isn't, in this case because it can't find any focus. The genre-blending turns into more of a fuzzy gray than something distinct. There's no flow from track to track, and there are A LOT of tracks. Then again, there are some really awesome songs, put to some really awesome videos.

In fact, there are enough good songs to make this album at least qualify as "good enough." And while that hopeful note of a new century does run through some of the songs, Gorillaz pretty much predict that things aren't going to turn out pretty on track eight, "Sound Check(Gravity)."

"Gravity never let me down gently" sings 2D the Monkey, actually Damon Albarn from Blur. Gorillaz is actually Albarn's musical brainchild, and the visual brainchild of artist, Jamie Hewlett. Like the century, the Gorillaz got much better as time progressed. Here their sound is only embryonic. Also, I'm not sure the century actually got any better. The economy still sucks, our troops are still dying overseas, there are police video cameras on traffic lights, sprawl has increased by staggering amounts, and I hate everything. Well, at least the Gorillaz got better.

2001 Parlophone
1. Re-Hash 3:37
2. 5/4 2:39
3. Tomorrow Comes Today 3:12
4. New Genius (Brother) 3:57
5. Clint Eastwood (featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapien) 5:39
6. Man Research (Clapper) 4:32
7. Punk 1:36
8. Sound Check (Gravity) 4:40
9. Double Bass 4:44
10. Rock the House (featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapien) 4:08
11. 19-2000 3:27
12. Latin Simone (¿Que Pasa Contigo?) (featuring Ibrahim Ferrer) 3:36
13. Starshine 3:31
14. Slow Country 3:35
15. M1 A1 3:49
16. Dracula 4:42
17. Left Hand Suzuki Method 3:07

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