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The Fall

3.9 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 19, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

2011 release from Damon Alburn and Co. Over 32 days on their 2010 North American Tour the Gorillaz recorded a musical diary titled The Fall which was made available to their fanclub as a Christmas gift. The 15-track sonic journal follows up their Gold album Plastic Beach which made numerous 'best of' lists for 2010 and a sellout stadium tour which blew audiences and critics away.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • ASIN: B004OFWLPE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,030 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Damon Albarn talked about retiring Gorillaz, but instead he made a new album, almost immediately after Plastic Beach. The Fall is low-key and concise, the shortest Gorillaz album. It only has one guest vocalist (Bobby Womack on "Bobby In Phoenix"), and even Albarn's presence is muted. His lyrics are often simple, fragmented chants (e.g. "little pink plastic bags blowing on a highway") that barely seem to rise above the music. Many songs sound like vignettes: only one is over four minutes long, and seven are under three.

What this means is, The Fall is as close as Gorillaz have ever come to making a pure electronic album. For the first time, we get a chance to focus on all those weird sound clips, effects, textures and layers that were always bubbling beneath the surface of Gorillaz albums. They come to the forefront and inspire a new emphasis on atmosphere. The instrumental opening track "Phoner To Arizona" starts with a fuzzy digital bass sound, fairly close to Plastic Beach, and adds some synth beeps from the same album, but also brings in dark, uneasy strings and a rhythmic hook that sounds like it was made by distorting the pitch on Albarn's voice and then chopping it up.

You can hear Plastic Beach in the rhythm section, the beats have the same tinny, cheap drum-machine sound. Maybe Plastic Beach was actually recorded on an iPad, too! But, surprisingly, the music on The Fall actually has more detail.
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From the desert heat of Arizona to the highest peaks of the Rockies to the urban center of Detroit, Damon Albarn is on a mission to convey the sense of traveling through America. Recorded on the Escape To Plastic Beach World Tour on an iPad and lacking the amount of collaborators of previous offerings, Gorillaz may be the better for it. The album has a cohesive feel that is different from the albums before. Note that this is not a main album and should not be treated as such.

Some of the high points of this album are Amarillo featuring one of Damon Albarn's greatest vocal performances of all time, Bobby In Phoenix in which Bobby Womack delivers stunning gospel-reminiscent vocals, and Aspen Forest, an instrumental showcasing Damon Albarn's composing talents.

So in conclusion, if you love Damon Albarn's vocals and composing talents, definitely pick up this album. If you just want a bunch of collaborators or hip-hop, stay away.
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In In some ways Gorillaz is the most contradictory, anomalous phenomenon imaginable. They are almost purely a commercial creation. The way they came together, the way they are packaged and marketed--might as well be The Monkees rather than the Gorillaz.

But they continue to experiment and create in really interesting ways, and they seem mostly willing to do it in public. There's some unwelcome noodling and noise on "The Fall," and that's hardly shocking given how the album was produced, but what is surprising is the warmth, beauty, and humanity they managed to pump into then squeeze back out of an iPad.

Not every track is a gem. In fact, as the CD started playing my first thought was, Oh oh. Wasted money. But very soon and for much of the rest of "The Fall" I revised my opinion. And I'm left with this thought: Not every experiment on here is successful, but what IS successful is the ACT OF EXPERIMENTING. I give them huge credit for having the courage--not to say ballz--even to put some of this stuff out there. If this can inspire other people to turn their portable computing devices into sound studios with experiments of their own--so much the better. Gorillaz has demonstrated very ably what is possible from that approach.
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I've been a big fan of the Gorillaz since Demon Days came out. When I heard about Plastic Beach being made with an iPad, I wasn't terribly impressed. When I heard the album, I was even less impressed. Maybe it deserves another listen, who knows.
But this one... for some reason, it really grabbed me. I listened to (on youtube) it several times in a row over the course of a few days (which is unusual for me). So I had to buy it. It saw extended replays in my truck's stereo, and I still listen to it every once in awhile, at home or on my phone.
It's an interesting departure (or evolution) from Demon Days and their self-titled album, but I love it.
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For Gorillaz fourth album, Damon Albarn went New Wave by using mostly an iPad. This is an innovative idea that is not new, as in the late 70's and early 80's there were many other artists who did the same thing, just without the iPad. At first listen, "The Fall" seemed flat, with nothing interesting to offer. However, with repeated listening there are several good songs, but not enough to push this album past three and a half stars. The song titles do not match the lyrics for the most part, thus after repeated listens you might find yourself scratching your head as to which song was which.

"Revolving Doors" and "Bobby In Phoenix" stand out while "Little Pink Plastic Bags", "California & The Slipping Of The Sun" and "Seattle Yodel" seem pointless. There a far more instrumental tracks on "The Fall" than any other Gorillaz album. This alters the feel of this Gorillaz album to where it's more like a chill-out album rather than the eclectic mix you've come to expect.

So, "The Fall" is for fans only. It won't win new fans, and it might alienate some fans. "The Fall" is an interesting idea that ultimately feels unfinished--snapshots and sketches of ideas that never seem to fully materialize.

Here is how "The Fall" compares with previous Gorillaz work:

2001 Gorillaz: Three and a Half Stars
2002 G-Sides: Three Stars
2005 Demon Days: Four Stars
2007 D-Sides: Three and a Half Stars
2010 Plastic Beach: Four and a Half Stars
2011 The Fall: Three and a Half Stars
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