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Plastic Beach (CD/DVD)

4.2 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 9, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Deluxe CD/DVD edition includes a bonus DVD that contains a 45 minute documentary on the 'making of' the album hosted by Murdoc but featuring creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. Long awaited 2010 album from the genre-defying animated musical collective. Five years on from the release of Demon Days, Murdoc Niccals and Co. return with Plastic Beach. The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a plastic beach HQ, made up of the detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This plastic beach is the furthest point from any landmass on earth; the most deserted spot on the planet. As the world's biggest animated band, Gorillaz formed in 1998, and have since sold 12 million copies over two albums!

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Orchestral Intro (featuring Sinfonia ViVA)
  2. Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
  3. White Flag (feat. Kano, Bashy & The National Orchestra For Arabic Music)
  4. Rhinestone Eyes
  5. Stylo (feat. Bobby Womack & Mos Def)
  6. Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys & 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 & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
  13. Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon)
  14. To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
  15. Cloud Of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)
  16. Pirate Jet

Disc: 2

  1. 45-minute "making of" documentary (DVD)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • ASIN: B0035G9ABG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Empire Ants" starts off like the nice-but-boring ballads from the last Blur album. Then it suddenly explodes into a dazzling rush of impossibly clean keyboards and Yukimi Nagano's lost, spaced-out vocals. It is an incredible, beautiful contrast with Damon Albarn's conventional balladeering in the beginning.

Ultimately, Plastic Beach isn't as visionary as Demon Days (surely one of the top five albums of the 2000s), but when it does come together, there's nothing else like it. The album's other peak is the lead single "Stylo," which unsurprisingly bears the most resemblance to the dark mood of Demon Days. It's packed with even more brilliant left-field juxtapositions than "Feel Good Inc." The music is based on a cold pinpoint-techno crawl with dark keyboard overlays. The lead vocal is passed from a smooth vocoded rap by Mos Def, to Albarn's fragile lost soul (much like in "Feel Good Inc."), to a colossal, histrionic turn by soul legend Bobby Womack. The smooth, easy way with which these three very different vocal styles alternate is remarkable, and the first two vocalists create a restrained counterpoint to Womack's overpowering, force-of-nature voice.

Alas, "Stylo" is the only time Plastic Beach flirts with darkness. The other catchy pop moments are of a more comic, whimsical nature. "Superfast Jellyfish" has De La Soul on lead vocals, but it's really a classicist British pop song masquerading as hip-hop.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I ventured on board the Gorillaz hype machine during Demon Days, their 2nd album and possibly their best to date. At the time I picked up the Deluxe version of Demon Days and loved the incredible quality of the package. With a great plastic slip, unique artwork and an entire mini-art book and DVD / CD it was truly an exceptional value as well as collector's piece.

When I saw the artwork for the Gorillaz latest album, 'Plastic Beach' I immediately thought of how great the last Deluxe edition had been and put in my pre-order. Upon it's arrival, the first thing that immediately struck me is how cheap it looked. Rather than any sort of slip case or plastic, everything in this "Deluxe" edition is cardboard. It looks terrible in comparison to the Demon Days deluxe package and basically it's a fold out cardboard piece with 2 sleeves that hold 2 smaller cardboard sleeves for the CD & DVD 'Making Of.' The saving grace for the packaging is the artwork, with vivid colors and images it almost provides the necessary incentive to pay about twice as much for this edition compared to the standard release.

With that said, I can't whole heartedly recommend this as a purchase. While the packaging is poorly made, the biggest disappointment by far is the included DVD. Prior to the release of Plastic Beach, I was lucky enough to see the music video for Stylo on youtube. It was great, with CGI Gorillaz members and even Bruce Willis. On the Demon Days deluxe edition, there was a nice variety of content included on the bonus DVD including the album's leading song in music video format.

On the Plastic Beach Deluxe edition, they have made a dire error that I feel should stop anyone who was a fan of the DVD in Demon Day's Deluxe from picking this edition up.
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Format: Audio CD
I open this review with a very strong piece of advice: please listen to this album in its entirety. Then come back to it within a day or two (or sooner, if you are so inclined) and give it a second listen from beginning to end. If you do that, unless you really dislike "this kind of music", I'm relatively certain you will be enchanted with the album permanently. Plastic Beach is truly an amazing work.

Keep the following thoughts in mind as you navigate through other reviews of Plastic Beach. First, immediately discount any that express disillusion that this album is not the sequel to its stellar predecessor, Demon Days (2005). Comparisons to Demon Days (and, by extension, the 2001 self-titled debut album) are useful to the extent they allow you to see how the Gorillaz sound has evolved over the course of a decade. To truly appreciate this work fairly, however, you should judge it on the strength of its own merits. Moreover, this review is being written the day of its United States release, and there are currently a handful of reviews that rate the album poorly. These reviews seem to have a few things in common: they show very little regard to not only the craftsmanship and genius behind this work, but seem to be written from a jaded aspect that belies someone writing against a deadline and only taking time to listen to the album once (if they even listened that much).

That said, while this album isn't perfection personified, it really is quite good, easily earning a 9 out of 10 rating. Below I will grade each track individually, but first I want to address the album as a whole.
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