Customer Review

6 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work, 8 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Singles Collection 2001-2011 (Audio CD)
Ten years - eleven actually - after Damon Albarn's joke band stumbled forth, and somehow, they are still doggedly selling records, playing out big places, and with this, releasing greatest hits. But whats to get? Gorillaz aren't a band, but a piece of shallow, mostly meaningless egostroking for Damon to exercise his brain and stave off the kind of boredom that comes with financial security. Couldn't he grow cheeses instead? The idea of a grown man capable of great work felt-tipping his teeth black and pretending to be a cartoon sixteen year old is more absurd that Michael Douglas still having sex appeal in Hollywood blockbusters.

Oh, I forgot. It's the music, isn't it. That's what we are all apparently bothered about. (Are we?) This, being either a celebration of the first ten years, or the bookend funeral of Gorillaz, whatever it is. It opens with music : on the face of it, a direction you probably wouldn't have seen hinted at in the slightest in Albarn's Blurworld. In the past ten years, Albarn's frantic reinvention has diluted his name and his brand. Not content with making it big in Blur, and making the best record of his life - "13" - Albarn ripped it all up and threw it away. For what?

For the safe, unemotional, rote gibberish of "Gorillaz", sure this is 'good' music that if what you want is entertainment. If what you want is not music of power and force, but music for chilling ouit in the car and for the iPhone and for walking down the street. It is lacking in the essential status of necessity : you can take, or leave, this music, live as you will. Sure, there's hits, there's memorable tunes - "Dare", "Stylo" and "Clint Eastwood" are quite good, entertaining even - but there's no compulsion to listen again. And the music is, shorn of the angular guitars and underplayed keys of his other bands becomes, well, a bit of a amorphous mass. On the other hand, if you really do believe that this is the work of anything other than a bored rich man, playing with his toys, surrounded by hired hands and his mates - yes men, all - going along with his muse and his ruse. They may very well believe this, and enjoy it, but just does not provide the things I would expect from the music I love. It's just pop : disposable, meaningless, shallow : and in it, shards of beauty can sometimes be seen. But that isn't enough for these ears.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Dec 2011 13:50:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Dec 2011 17:30:40 GMT
David O says:
Whilst it is obvious that your review is very well written and intelligently crafted, i have to disagree with your point that Gorillaz (as a musical project) are not worthy of being mentioned among some of the more interesting acts from the past 10 years. I don't really agree with this release appearing after only 10 years and 3 albums in to their 'career', and then only concentrating on their commercial singles. It is pandering, sadly, to the populist and Christmas markets, so 3 stars is about right for the concept here. But the music is better than three stars, even the most 'pop' moments. Gorillaz are at times disposable and shallow, but sometimes that is the point, and part of their charm is that they can reference seemingly throwaway themes in their music in a way similar to sampling but which will actually draw your attention to much weightier ideas and issues. I have found their albums good enough to warrant investigating their two b-side collections and their is some fantastic music to find there.

Overall, songs like Hong Kong, Empire Ants, Faust, We Are Happy Landfill, Demon Days, Cloud Of Unknowing, Stop The Dams and i could go on but I won't, make me think this is more than just an ego-massage for Mr Albarn, but a useful outlet for a raft of songs and ideas that he wouldn't have otherwise released under his other projects. And I'm very glad he has, because I think they offer genre-crossing, culture-clashing music that can poke fun at itself whilst also being types of modern hymns. Modern life is rubbish for the most part, but I find Gorillaz frequently find beauty in the mundanity of it.

That said, I respect the angle that your argument comes from.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2011 01:33:09 GMT
Eric Generic says:
Eloquently put, Mr O - I'd go as far as to politely disagree with the idea that Gorillaz are not worthy of "proper band/music" status, because their output since 2001 has far more to it to enjoy and savour than most of the more mainstream music made this century. I don't even particularly care for Damon Albarn, much less Blur (who were okay in small doses for me), but what he and his mates do in Gorillaz tends to transcend whatever opinions or perceptions I have of the man.

Maybe a Greatest Hits doesn't serve them too well (the tracklisting, such as it is, seems fine enough), maybe this is the best little compilation of cracking Noughties art-pop you'll find. I'm going with the latter. But it's a well-written review.

Posted on 26 Dec 2011 00:24:58 GMT
Jim Aitken says:
"disposable, meaningless, shallow"

Maybe to you MA Reed. Not to me! 'Broken' is genius.

Posted on 30 Dec 2011 17:49:09 GMT
Mr. Shy says:
An interesting musical curio is appended to the Japanese version of 13 - the song "I Got Law (demo)" went on to become "Tomorrow Comes Today" on the first Gorillaz album.
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Mr. M. A. Reed
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