Album Review no.19: Gorillaz - Gorillaz

kempokid
Gorillaz have always been an interesting band to me, in each of their albums, they have a very distinct, different sound, yet still are able to sound like themselves. Each album is good in its own way and focuses around a particular genre. I decided to review the album that started it all, the alternative rock/ hip hop album, Gorillaz.

Re Hash:
The opener for the album is pretty standard stuff in a lot of ways. The drum beat is nice and laid back, the bass and guitar are both all around decent, yet are somehow very memorable, and the vocals are nice. The main draw of he song is definitely the unbelievably catchy chorus, as well as the harmonizing of the vocals. As well as this, the song doesn't really drag at all, since it's only 3 and a half minutes long. It's an all around decent, pleasant song.
9/10

5/4:
I love the riff in this one, it's just so simple, yet so good. The slow addition of the instruments is great, which makes the second verse even better as it becomes more chaotic when small digital noises begin appearing in the background, especially that 8 - bit one. Once again, the chorus is great. In general, while this doesn't really sound much like Gorillaz, it's no doubt a great song.
10/10

Tomorrow Comes Today:
Despite the bouncy sound of both the bass and the drums, the combination of the harmonica and the vocals give the song a very melancholy tone.I find this to be an interesting song, partially because of that and also because this is a very dark sounding song on an album that's very weird and lighthearted for the most part. The vocals also sound much more like the later albums, which is definitely a good thing, as I find 2D's voice through Demon Days to be amazing. To end this song, whistling definitely fit well.
10/10

New Genius (Brother):
This is a very underrated song, the beat is great and everything just sounds so amazingly smooth. My favorite part of the song is when the noises come in at about the 2 minute mark that sound like a DJ messing about on a turntable. The vocals could be better, but that's the only problem I have with this otherwise great song.
9/10

Clint Eastwood:
Everything about this song is extremely good, the instrumentals are catchy, the chorus is probably my second favorite thing that the band has ever done, and 2D's vocals are awesome. The rapping segments are also of extremely high quality, as they both fit really nicely with the main beat and Del has really good flow. The harmonica also plays a great role in the song, as it ties everything together to finish off this near perfect song. The outro is surprisingly good considering it's a minute of instrumentals.
10/10

Man Research(Clapper):
One of the songs which is really strange and trippy. The beat is bizarre and the vocals are unbelievably funny/weird. I like this song a lot, but I can't help but notice one big flaw with it, it's very repetitive with its "yeah yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah" that drones on, and while I find it funny, it definitely isn't a great idea. I can see a lot of merit in this song, but the chorus definitely lowers my opinion on it somewhat.
8/10

Punk:
This is an extremely simple song, but there's an odd charm to it, this is the chaotic song of the album, every one of them has one. Demon days has White Light, Plastic Beach has Glitter Freeze etc. The heavily distorted vocals work really nicely and I can't help but clap along. I really wish that the song was slightly longer, around 2 minutes would make this feel less short, but it's an all around good song.
9/10

Sound Check (Gravity):
This is the other extremely underrated song on the album. After the relaxed intro involving some more extremely high singing, the song essentially explodes into this amazing, scratchy beat that I absolutely adore. As the song progresses, this recurring, central beat has more instruments added to it until it becomes a beat that edges on messy, but doesn't quite get there. As the vocals kick in again, they become much lower and sound clearer. The layering between these 2 vocal sections at at around the 3 and a half minute mark is a clever way to bridge the gap before the recurring beat closes off this gem of a song.
10/10

Double Bass:
This song probably fits the description of trippy even more than Man Research, which is saying a lot. The main riff is good and the weird noises that sound almost like a water drop make a really catchy The thing that really stops this song from being dull is the constant presence of little guitar, keyboard etc. solos in between each of the main melodies of the song. That single voice line is something that is unexpected, but till fits the song near perfectly.
10/10

Rock the House:
Some people hate this song, others love it. I am firmly in the latter category, the flow that Del displays once again is great. I also like that there is another predominantly hip hop focused song, because I've always loved when Gorillaz does them. The main reason this is such a great song is thanks to the unique addition of the trumpets and flutes. On a separate note, the music video for this is really weird.
10/10

19-2000:
I can't think of any word to describe this song other than feel good. I really can't think of much to say about this one as the entirety of it essentially boils down to generally good vibes and relaxation. I also love the chorus for basically showcasing how nonsensical the lyrics by Gorillaz can be.
10/10

Latin Simone (Que Pasa Contigo):
This sounds directly from the mariachi world of Rayman Legends, which is a very good thing. The vocals being in Spanish is both a blessing and a curse, it fits the music, but I also don't know what is being said. I don't actually know why I like this song so much, but I absolutely love a lot of it, from the smooth trumpets to the vocal harmony in the background. I'm happy that the vocals play a very minor part in the song, because they could have potentially weakened a really fun song.
8/10

Starshine:
This song has a very minimalist approach to it, with barely any noise outside of the basic riff, with the drums even showing next to no sign of existing. I think it's the perfect song to come after Latin Simone, one of the weirdest, most insane sounding songs on the album. This is another song that layers the first vocal line and then utilizes it as what is essentially a backing instrument, I find this approach to be really well executed throughout the album. The slight volume increases throughout. The way it ends is also really cool.
9/10

Slow Country:
This is one of the most normal songs on the albums, for one, the vocals are the focus, which is something that's only happened a couple of times from songs that weren't singles. The background noise that sounds like a strong wind is a really strange choice that I'm surprised works as well as it does, because it adds another layer of depth to the song, despite the fact that it's nothing but the equivalent of white noise. I like the piano sections as well.
10/10

M1 A1:
Despite the fact that this album is fairly strange, this is the one song that goes beyond that and actually sounds very creepy. The repeated shouting combined with the slow crescendo of the guitar set up some amazing atmosphere. The chaos that is born from this build up is definitely an interesting payoff. The screams from 2D border on chilling as well as extremely harsh. While the latter half of the song is great, the first half is absolutely amazing.
10/10

Clint Eastwood (Ed Case/Sweetie Irie Remix):
Despite what this song is supposed to be, everything outside of the basic beat and the chorus is completely different. I vastly prefer the original one, but this version has it's own merit. For one thing, the faster tempo creates the perfect song for me to uncontrollably bob my head to. The electric drums also give this song a completely different feeling. All in all, I love this version but am very happy it wasn't the original, because this really wouldn't fit the general tone of the album.
10/10

19-2000 (Soulchild Remix):
This is easily the best remix of a Gorillaz song ever made. the main things changed are the tempo, which is increased and a completely different beat that is much more electronic focused. I like the very slight autotune effect that some of the vocals have to them, as it further adds to the completely different sound that the song has thanks to a couple of relatively minor changes (the beat is a big one though).
10/10

11*10 + 4*9 + 2*8 - 7*9.5 = 95.5/100 or 96/100

Final Thoughts:
I love this album, it's unique, weird yet lighthearted, and generally really well performed. I know that a lot of people say that they can't put a particular band into any defined genre, but I truly believe that Gorillaz is one of the few bands that could genuinely claim that. This album alone had hip hop, dance, techno, alternative rock and even a bit of punk for good measure. The freshness that so many of the songs provide combined with some really amazing single makes this an album that deserves a lot of praise. My recommendation with this one is anyone who enjoys music, no matter the genre, as this is almost guaranteed to be a unique experience and it was one of the bands that got me to look past genres and leave the one that I dedicated the bulk of my time to (metal). I don't think that everyone will enjoy this album, but I think that this and Demon Days are 2 albums to listen to if you ever want something different.

My next review will most likely be one of a bad album, or at least one that people generally say is bad.

Comments

This album took ages to do, I guess that's the downside of it having 17 songs - kempokid

What’s next in the review cycle? - visitor

Not quite sure, I was thinking of either reviewing Lulu, St. Anger, the debut of Symphony X or Virtual XI - kempokid

Review LuLu. Please. I have to hear your opinion that. - visitor

I'll do that after Somwhere in Time and Mezmerize. I'll definitely need to mentally prepare myself for that album though. - kempokid

That album is literally so repetitive that it makes me angry. - visitor

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