Albums to watch

Plastic Beach


Plastic Beach

Plenty of acclaim for Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's third studio release, a multi-genre effort with a stellar guest list

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  1. 10.0 |   The Fly

    A seamless coming together of artists, cultures and themes on a record by a band that doesn’t even exist; on ‘Plastic Beach’, Damon Albarn’s Midas touch is bordering on genius
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  2. 10.0 |   Q

    Some of the most forward-thinking music you'll hear this or any other year. Print edition only

  3. 10.0 |   Daily Telegraph

    All that Eastern philosophy Albarn read while writing Monkey – Journey to the West must have rubbed off – Plastic Beach plays out like the Tao of 2010
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  4. 10.0 |   The Sunday Times

    Oh, for more albums as strange, unpredictable and jaw-droppingly good as this
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  5. 10.0 |   musicOMH

    Its real strength lies in the fact that it implores you to return for repeated visits to a world riddled with other people's cast-offs. Ironically, it recycles nothing; everything here is box fresh
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  6. 10.0 |   Scotland on Sunday

    Bobby Womack's earthy style electrifies the single Stylo, but pairing Gruff Rhys with De La Soul on Superfast Jellyfish tops the lot
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  7. 10.0 |   No Ripcord

    Considering the stellar album from supergroup The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, and Blur's under-heard, Coxon-less gem Think Tank, I'm seriously considering Damon Albarn as Pop MVP of the last decade or so
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  8. 9.0 |   The Quietus

    A fascinating and frequently wonderful album of real depth and vision, packed with more ideas, tunes and imagination than anything else you're likely to hear in 2010
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  9. 9.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    A record that is just as amazing as the previous two
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  10. 9.0 |   Beats Per Minute

    One of the most forward-thinking pop records in recent memory
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  11. 9.0 |   The Digital Fix

    Gorillaz have produced their best album to date
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  12. 9.0 |   The Times

    Played out across a pop album like no pop album you’ve heard before, no one can say it wasn’t fun while it lasted
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  13. 8.5 |   Pitchfork

    Along with a typically diverse band of collaborators, Albarn dips into Krautrock, funk, and dubstep, as well as the weary, more melodic music he's been perfecting for much of last decade
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  14. 8.0 |   The Scotsman

    Despite all the guest activity, there is still room for Albarn to put his pop stamp on the album with some of the best tracks on offer
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  15. 8.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    While it makes bold experiments, it does so without self-consciousness. It's high art, but it's not necessarily supposed to feel like it
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  16. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    A beautiful sonic experiment, deftly blending dub, hip-hop, and good ol' fashioned rock n' roll
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  17. 8.0 |   Click Music

    A complete melting pot of sounds. From hip-hop to African break-downs to Lebanese flute solos; it’s not an easy album to listen to
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  18. 8.0 |   Sydney Morning Herald

    Heavy on electronics, sometimes pushing the boundaries of excessive sound/excessive production, it is a moodier piece of work than the early "this is our poppiest album" talk had it
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  19. 8.0 |   God Is In The TV

    Track by track, this album works brilliantly, with most songs successfully employing guest stars. Most impressive, however, is how cohesively the album plays, rolling from song to song; each being identifiable as trademark Gorillaz
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  20. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Serves as another vessel from which to launch a series of guest vocal collaborations over Albarn's twitchy electro keyboard grooves
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  21. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    There's something hugely impressive about Albarn's ability to coax artists out of their comfort zone
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  22. 8.0 |   The Observer

    Plastic Beach isn't as obviously commercial an album as Demon Days, however. It lacks a killer hit, making do with the nicely insidious "Stylo"
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  23. 8.0 |   The Times

    ..entertains with the same enjoyment as its predecessors, only refined, at times, to the point of perfection
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  24. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Past the pop songs, past the soaring (and let’s not make any bones about it, this album soars in places) this is a supremely clever album
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  25. 8.0 |   State

    Every tune has something to recommend it and doesn’t really sound like anyone else in the process. If you can reconcile yourself with the fact that sometimes, huge stars play bit parts, you’ll grow to love this weird and wonderful world
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  26. 8.0 |   Uncut

    It displays a sonic ambition, an openmindedness and a melodic gift that puts so much pop to shame. Print edition only

  27. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    It contains some of the most exhilaratingly different music you’ll hear all year. It’s a freakout on an Oceanic daydream
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  28. 7.0 |   Clash

    An intoxicating cocktail of musical styles and pioneers, ‘Plastic Beach’ is instantly recognisable as a Gorillaz album despite, or perhaps because of, its scatter shot styles, contributors and voices
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  29. 7.0 |   NME

    Print edition only

  30. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Plastic Beach, Gorillaz's third excellent album in a row, is all Albarn — he writes the tunes, produces, sings, plays most of the music and gets people on the phone for left-field cameos
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  31. 7.0 |   Spin

    It's a jumble. But Albarn's love of "Waterloo Sunset" poignancy adds emotional weight
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  32. 7.0 |   Independent on Sunday

    Plastic Beach is a record that stands up on its own merits, regardless of graphic gimmicks. Throw the cartoons on the landfill and just listen
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  33. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    The songs immediately following "Plastic Beach" are the album's strongest, including the '80s-cop-show-esque first single "Stylo"
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  34. 7.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Gorillaz have given us a glimpse of the beauty one can fashion out of a bleak natural landscape, crafting discarded styles and sounds into something greater than we remember it, but vaguely familiar anyway
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  35. 7.0 |   PopMatters

    Overall, while the album isn’t an artistic triumph or grand satirical gesture, it is an enjoyable ride and is the best place to start if you just want a taste of Albarn’s post-Blur musical prowess and Hewlett’s animation wizardry
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  36. 7.0 |   Rave Magazine

    Sandwiched between these moments of greatness is more of Albarn sounding a bit tired of it all. Plastic Beach is still very good, but very good is a slight step down for a Gorillaz album
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  37. 6.0 |   Blurt

    All in all, not a terrible record per se, but not one you'll run to like the first two albums
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  38. 6.0 |   FasterLouder

    Albarn has washed up on the shores of Plastic Beach alone and punters seeking pop thrills will be dismayed by the records melancholic mood
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  39. 6.0 |   The Skinny

    The star of this show is Bobby Womack, whose pained warble adorns Cloud Of Unknowing and brilliant first single Stylo; beyond that, there's a lot of filler
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  40. 6.0 |   Evening Standard weird, wonderful and frustrating as Gorillaz have ever been
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  41. 6.0 |   Mojo

    There's too much intermezzo and not enough main event. Print edition only

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Gorillaz: Plastic Beach

  • Download full album for just £5.00
  • 1. Orchestral Intro (feat. sinfonia ViVA) N/A
  • 2. Welcome To The World of The Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble) N/A
  • 3. White Flag (feat. Bashy, Kano and The National Orchestra For Arabic Music) N/A
  • 4. Rhinestone Eyes N/A
  • 5. Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack) N/A
  • 6. Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul) N/A
  • 7. Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon) N/A
  • 8. Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith) N/A
  • 9. Some Kind of Nature (feat. Lou Reed) N/A
  • 10. On Melancholy Hill N/A
  • 11. Broken N/A
  • 12. Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble) N/A
  • 13. Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon) N/A
  • 14. To Binge (feat. Little Dragon) N/A
  • 15. Cloud of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA) N/A
  • 16. Pirate Jet N/A
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