For those that have been reading my blog posts each week, the genre of music hasn’t varied all that much over the last couple months. Part of that is because this is a family-friendly blog, but also I’m self-limited to what is $5 dollars any given week on Amazon. Truth be told, I listen to everything. Really—everything. Today’s artist is a good example of some of the weird music I’m fond of.
The Gorillaz are a band with real musicians making music, but their stage presence is strictly virtual. The real members are Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, who first met in 1990. The two met when Albarn was just starting his band Blur, but the two knew at some point they’d make music together. While the two were watching MTV in 1998, they were disgusted how there was nothing of substance on the station anymore, and decided to make a cartoon band as a commentary on that stance. They initially referred to themselves as “Gorilla” because of their takeover mentality, the Z was added before the first extended play album was released.
For a band that was almost started as a joke, their music got noticed very quickly. After a small EP, the self-titled Gorillaz album dropped in March of 2001. The single ‘Clint Eastwood’ came out in same month, and was considered a big hit (it has a couple curse words in it, so get a censored version for the kids). Because of that song, many folks took notice and bought the album, even though nothing was really known about the band other than the one track. I was one of those people, who took a shot in the dark on the record back in ’01, but 14 years later can officially say this is in my top ten favorite albums of all time.
What doesn’t this record have? It’s rock, hip hop, pop, Britpop, reggae, Latin inspired, psychedelic rock and punk all mixed into one. It uses samples of movies, TV shows, songs, it has horns, guitars – lions, tigers and bears, oh my! It’s a unique conglomerate of songs that’s something I’ve never heard before. If I could venture a guess, I think all hands on deck that contributed to this album just went out and had fun. You would almost swear 20 guys who never met each other before each did their own track with their own style–but somehow it all flows together so well.
I’m sort of at a loss for words, because this album is really so different from anything else you’ve heard. But I personally don’t know anyone that has listened to it and didn’t like it. And with over 5 million copies sold, plenty of people have picked it up. It’s been featured on lists like “albums to listen to before you die” and “best albums of all time,” and “best albums of 2001.” I think because it’s so different it generated so much buzz—and it just has this irresistible quality to it. If you go into it with an open mind, I think you’ll come away wondering what you just heard, but also wanting to hear it again.
I love this record, I can’t state that enough. I’d pay $500 dollars if I had to buy it all over again, so it’s well worth $5 bucks. I don’t give that kind of praise very easily. Of course, if you’re sensitive to hearing the occasional curse word in your music, then skip this sale version and order an clean copy of this album instead—but don’t miss it. I’ll give my top three tracks below, but I’d highly encourage you to listen to it start to finish, that’s how it plays best.
Top 3 Tracks:
- 1) Rock The House
- 2) Clint Eastwood
- 3) Double Bass