Yep, I’m staying up late with a bad backache listening to full albums on YouTube, and what I have been listening to lately has been Gorillaz. While the best stuff is from the second album Demon Days, the best album musically is their most recent studio release, The Fall. No hits, just a steady sonic wall of awesome. And a narrative of sorts as the songs track a journey that meanders across the United States, starting with a phone call to Arizona from somewhere in the hills and moraines of Michigan, that tracks through Detroit, Chicago, Joplin MO, Southern OK and far North TX into Dallas, then back northwest to Amarillo and then on to the Speak It Mountains and a quiet glade of Aspens. From there they meet up with Bobby in Phoenix, slide on over to California, then up the coast to Seattle. Nothing that screams “hit single” like “Clint Eastwood” or “Kids With Guns”, but just a mellow trip with smooth sounds. All together it sounds like a trip through the late 1960s and early ’70s country blues rock. I wouldn’t buy any song from the album as a stand-alone, but as a sonic unity I like it. I would buy the album if I could find the CD.
Now having said that about The Fall, the album that has the best songs is Demon Days, but those are all just songs, not a sonic unity. My particular choice from that album is a tossup between “Dirty Harry”, “Kids With Guns” and “DARE”. I mean none of the songs are clinkers, they are all pretty decent pieces of music, but those are the 3 that top my list. “Dirty Harry” particularly sounds like something that was rejected from the soundtrack to a Mad Max side story for being too good compared to the rest of the story (and now someone is going to make that movie in some alternate universe because I wrote about it here). “Kids With Guns” has one of the better bass lines ever, what else can I say? I mean there is the socially relevant lyrics, and a decently catchy tune, but that bass line >shiver<. And something that foreshadows The Fall is the pair of tracks "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" that tracks right into "Don't Get Lost in Heaven". The thematic thread that runs through Demon Days is a bass-heavy mix with the bass line carrying the melody in several of the songs. That is to be expected with a front man (Murdoc) that is the bass player for the virtual band. I know the front for the real band is Damon Albarn, the voice of 2D in the virtual band and singer for the group Blur when he's not a Gorillaz.
Now my vote for "worst" Gorillaz album is Plastic Beach which just goes to show that with a good songwriting team and good musicians even the "worst" is pretty good. It just doesn't have the sonic unity of The Fall, or the consistent single quality of Demon Days. The best tracks on that one are "Stylo" and "Melancholy Hill", with the one I like the least is "Superfast Jellyfish". That song sounds like a 3 minute commercial. Ugh!
Well I’m not a music guy, so I’m going to let this one end here.