Undervalued Treasure: Plastic Beach

gorillazPlastic Beach has turned out to be my favorite Gorillaz album, overtaking Demon Days, but it didn’t happen overnight. The songs here wormed their way into my brain over time to such an extent that even the ones I barely took notice of back when the album was released have become firm favorites. The mellow, more atmospheric numbers are my favorites (On Melancholy Hill leading the pack, followed by Rhinestone Eyes), and even the multiple guest vocals, which seemed so scattered and schizophrenic when I first heard them, make perfect sense with the passage of time and many listens. Lou Reed’s number is my favorite of the bunch (Some Kind Of Nature), but really I dig ‘em all, even Snoop Dog’s lazy Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach delivery. As a matter of fact I can’t imagine a better start to the album now. Mark E Smith on Glitter Freeze is pretty much there in name only, but the song overall is a fun stomp. Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals does a turn, too, as does Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of The Clash., Yes, some of the rapping grates a little, but most of it works just fine. This is the Gorillaz album that sounds the most ‘pop’ to me, the most ‘Blur-like’ to me, and that’s probably the reason I like it best. Critics hated it, fans were disappointed, but I found myself a classic that’ll stay in the upper echelon of my collection for years.