The wait is over – 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel have finally arrived at the Plastic Beach (see full track list and hear full length album at the end of the article). Stay tuned this week for the official premiere of the “Stylo” video on GRATEFUL GRAPEFRUIT.

The album opens with a warm wash of oceanic strings, before hitting a shore of hard brass notes – powerfully reminiscent of that sinister old Open University theme music. Then the hip hop beat drops in to the bark of Plastic Beach’s first celebrity inhabitant – Snoop Dogg greets us like a guard dog pacing back and forth on the island’s perimeter, while Albarn’s distorted voice hovers above like a melodic military drone. From there the seductive rat-a-tat tabla, flute and strings of the Lebanese National Orchestra lures us into the arms of London grime rappers Bashy and Kano, who prepare us to meet some big names along the road.

Plastic Beach’s finest moment comes when laconic Lou Reed slouches in for the transcendent Some Kind of Nature. He’s beachcombing for “some kind of majesty/some chemical low/some kind of metal made from glue/some kind of plastic I can wrap around you” while Albarn’s brine-brimming, manga-eyed falsetto reminds him that “all we are/is stars”.

All that Eastern philosophy Albarn read while writing Monkey – Journey to the West must have rubbed off – Plastic Beach plays out like the Tao of 2010.

My personal favorites are White Flag, Superfast Jellyfish, Some Kind Of Nature and of course The Pirate Jet! The seagulls, divine!

Hear the full Plastic Beach by Gorillaz here or here.

Track list

  1. Orchestral Intro (feat. Sinfonia ViVA)
  2. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
  3. White Flag (feat. Kano, Bashy, and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Arabic Music)
  4. Rhinestone Eyes
  5. Stylo (feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
  6. Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
  7. Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
  8. Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)
  9. Some Kind of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)
  10. On Melancholy Hill
  11. Broken
  12. Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
  13. Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)
  14. To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
  15. Cloud of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)
  16. Pirate Jet

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