Plastic Beach is a roller-coaster ride from dance-generating beats to reflective, almost melancholy, lullabies and back again. The third album from Gorillaz is a smooth blend of orchestra instrumentals, ’80s-inspired electronic synths and hip-hop flows that confronts consumer-obsessed society and the destruction of the planet, particularly the ocean. The album invokes images that might appear in National Geographic: beaches covered in plastic bits, garbage floating eternally in the ocean and condoms raining from the sky.
Plastic Beach is dominated by celebrity appearances, including Mos Def and Bobby Womack in the first single, “Stylo”—and Bruce Willis makes an appearance in the music video available via YouTube.
However, the honor of the strongest song goes to “White Flag.” The track opens with an American Indian-inspired flute and percussion prelude, which then morphs into intensified classical Gothic instrumentals that lead into hip-hop lyrics featuring Bashy and Kano. It’s definitely repeat-worthy.
Another gem is “Rhinestone Eyes,” an eerie synth-infused track featuring the ominous, disillusioned and perhaps indifferent repeating line “factories far away.”
Other celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Lou Reed strengthen the album. Gorillaz will headline at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, April 18. With an album like this, it seems worth it to hitch a ride down south for a trip to Plastic Beach.