Even as I’m typing this out, I still can’t believe that Gorillaz, one of the most influential alternative acts today, is ten years old. Fronted by Damon Albarn (aka the former lead singer of Blur), the band catapulted themselves to mainstream stardom, thanks in part to the hypnotic beats and creative animated style of the band itself. I still remember watching “Clint Eastwood” and being entranced by the mash-up of alternative and hip-hop. To this day, it is still one of my favorite songs.
Now, if you don’t know who the Gorilaz are, then shame on you. Luckily, they decided to release a collection of their singles for a new generation to get into them. And I hope that they will take the time and listen to some pop-alt genius.
The collection starts out with four songs from their self-titled debut. “Tomorrow Comes Today” is a great introductory song, almost reflecting the band’s relaxed attitude towards their music. That, however, is followed up by their best song yet – “Clint Eastwood.” With help from De La Soul (whose rap I know by heart), this song catapulted them into music video superstars. The next two tracks, “19-2000” and “Rock The House” are great choices from a great freshman album.
Then comes the Demon Days song choices; “Feel Good Inc.,” “DARE,” “Dirty Harry,” “Kids With Guns,” and “El Manana.” Arguably their best album yet (that’s where my opinion is), the selection they put on the album is only a taste of what is heard on their sophomore album. The simplicity in “Kids With Guns” and “El Manana” shows that they can slow themselves down to appeal to an artsier sort of crowd. The last three tracks are genuine party starters, each taking a different aspect (and characters) and transforming them into infectious tracks.
Lastly, there’s the Plastic Beach set. Only having three songs on the album, their latest large scale release gives a great sample to the collection, even though the album as a whole was arguably worse than the past two. “Stylo” and “On Melancoly Hill” are two great pieces of electronic-alternative, while “Superfast Jellyfish” welcomes back De La Soul for one memorable rap song/commercial (you’ll get what I mean after listening to it).
Luckily for the faithful Gorillaz fans, there is a new song on the album…that’s right, only one. “Doncamatic” is a trippy mix of what “DARE” would sound like if it was put on the Plastic Beach album. The song takes some time to get into, but after a couple of listens, it is actually pretty solid.
They also put two remixes in it, helping close out the album. Though I don’t care much for the “Clint Eastwood (Ed Case/Sweetie Irie Refix),” the Soulchild remix to “19-2000” is a great way to close out the collection, as Soulchild manages to put out an even better single than Gorillaz put out ten years ago (in my opinion, of course). However, if you have the Deluxe version of the self-titled debut album, this shouldn’t be a big selling point for you.
Although they don’t go into D-Sides or The Fall (if anyone remembered that there was another album released after Plastic Beach), this is an incredibly solid collection of some of the best music to come out in the last decade. The album title says The Singles Collection: 2001-2011. Hopefully, Damon and Co. continue to put out more Gorillaz tracks. I cannot wait to hear what else he could have up his sleeve.
Final Grade: A
Go Download: The Entire Collection
To close out, please enjoy my favorite Gorillaz song, “Clint Eastwood:”