Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

h1

Blunderbuss

June 24, 2012

Jack White is a curious fellow; precisely the kind of fellow I wasn’t surprised to hear used to scribble poetry into the corners of the furniture he used to sell, thereby getting into trouble for this charming behavior. Similarly, Jack’s been putting his signature on the good ol’ dirty blues for quite some time now—from his White Stripes garage band days of sweaty, simplistic, and splendid tunes, to his ensemble Raconteurs sideproject that transformed the genre into some kind of strange yet wonderful amalgam of conventional rock and forgotten lore. More recently, he had joined The Dead Weather, somehow further distancing himself from both of those established sounds and alienating himself from his trusty guitars and pianos. It’s sort of like how Bowie tried to get on with calling himself merely a “piece of the puzzle” in Tin Machine—you can’t fool us, Jack; we know you’re the main attraction. So lo and behold, after all of these groups dissolved and he was left standing, Jack decided to get back to his roots and create his first solo album, returning to the basics of what made him Jack White. But, here’s the thing with Blunderbuss: an album with just Jack White’s sentimentality and no filter of “dirty Detroit rock” or “Raconteur neo-blues ensemble” is pretty much a bare-bones affair.

I love Jack White; let’s get that out of the way. I think he’s a dynamite guitar player and his predilection towards DIY aesthetics is great in world full of power-punk garbage. Lyrically, he’s not that great; anyone who’s heard “The Hardest Button To Button” or “It’s True That We Love One Another” can attest to how wonky his songwriting can be. Jack excels at minimalism, but it helps if he has a partner in crime to reel him in. Vocally, the dude is dirty as hell, but he’s got a trademark howl that’s pretty great and I’ve come to admire. So why don’t I like Blunderbuss?

Blunderbuss is an Album; it is a music Album with Songs on it. I listened to it and decided, “this sure is an Album with Music on it. This sure is Music.” What I mean to say is this: Jack White hasn’t created an awful album, but I don’t think his solo effort is quite as memorable as anything else he’s done. Many of the songs take on a very plodding, serenading pace, and rarely will you here a guitar break through—probably one of the biggest mistakes was cutting his strings out of many songs. This is a Piano album with Jack White for sure, which is still by all means a better album than most…but I can’t say I remember many songs on it. It just made me miss The White Stripes more. I felt like listening to Icky Thump again, the genesis of White’s creativity. See, with Icky Thump, we were given evidence of two things: One, White was rapidly moving past the simple 2-instrument deal and was beginning to incorporate horns, clavicles, and bagpipes; still keeping the dirty souf sound and the rapidfire wallbanger structures, though. Two: we all knew that White was ready to pack it up because he was ready to evolve. However, the structure of Blunderbuss seems a bit meandering; almost as though White doesn’t quite know where to go on his own. The one irony here is that the songwriting, of all things, is the best its ever been—but there are very little quakes and tremors felt by way of the instruments or Jack’s erstwhile style.

Blunderbuss is a good album, but it’s also makes me miss Jack’s collaboration days, when he could still be in the forefront of a “thing” and his relevance could be supported by one or two or three other people. Much like how Ric Ocasek (another fantastic songwriter and singer) isn’t quite as good on his own as he is with the rest of The Cars, Jack should probably seek out to do another Raconteurs album (which is, in all honesty, Stripes 2.0).

In conclusion: Jack White has created something neither here nor there. It exists in a zone of negative energy where anger and happiness don’t teleport into my head easily. Jack White’s new musical project elicits only feelings of normalcy and realization that I am not imploding or even swelling up into darkness. I would rate Jack White’s new solo album with a solid ‘Yes’ out of ‘No’ which is to say, you will feel the same when you take it out as when you put it in to your stereo. It is my hope that Jack White continues to Make Music or maybe not. I can’t say because right now my brain struggles to recall if I even listened to his initial album at all. So, good job, Jack White, you certainly are able to put music on a CD and I certainly can use this CD like a human being and hear the sounds you have made. At least, I think I did.

Rating: One content and puzzled smile out of One

h1

Lulu

November 1, 2011

Normally, when I write a review on an album or a particular piece of music, it’s because I like it or I think it’s overlooked.

This time, things are a little different.

When Metallica and Lou Reed were reported to be collaborating on a new, experimental album, my first reaction was rather stupid and illogical: I was overjoyed. I thought, “hey, one of the most talented metal bands is teaming up with one of the most influential alternative rock icons in the world! This is going to be sweet, bro!” I failed to stop and realize that Lou Reed and Metallica have absolutely nothing in common and this was probably something to be fearful about. Just because a few musical acts are top-tier in their respective areas of expertise doesn’t necessarily mean it warrants a supergroup.  Honestly, I love scrambled eggs and I love potato chips; but I’m not about to pour Cool Ranch Doritos all over my omelette. And that’s exactly what Lulu is: a breakfast sampler stuffed with Slim Jims, basted in 4Loko, and served au jus the kind of pretension that assumes this kind of unholy union is nothing less than sweet nectar to the ears of both fanbases.
Very seldom does the whole idea of a “supergroup” pan out to be more than just cashing in on your own bloated ego, or last beyond one convoluted album. One of the only exceptions to the rule that comes to mind is Them Crooked Vultures, which was essentially 3 megastars coming together—but it was a melding that carried a great deal of common interest and generally cohesive songwriting. Being able to bring together each musician from differing backgrounds and form a cohesive theme is, unfortunately, not one of the prevalent ideas at work in Lulu.

Describing what Lulu sounds like is sort of difficult. I mean, if you can picture the aural  pish-posh you get with Reed’s Metal Machine Music / later 90’s tripe mixed with perhaps the worst of St. Anger, that’s what it is.  Instrumentally, all the tracks are pretty uninspired; they meander all over the place and go nowhere. It’s depressing to hear Kirk Hammet noodle about on a guitar as if it’s the first time he’s ever picked one up. Listening to the same riff drone on and on, as it does in the second track “The View” might make you want to fall asleep, if not for Reed’s mumbling nu-order prose.
Oh, right: I forgot to mention Lou Reed’s part in this debacle. This is, after all, Lou Reed’s vehicular manslaughter charge; Metallica is merely the passenger.
I’m a fan of Lou Reed and all—I own all his records—but I can admit he’s gotten a little cuckoo as the years waned on. Some of his worst work was on “The Raven” and everyone knows it. But the writing he commits to Lulu is a special kind of Pandora’s Box of shitbird delusions and nonsensical warbling. It’s the kind of garbage that not even the most melodramatic Tumblr-landscaping Livejournal shepherd-of-none would owe up to.

Despite all this degradation, I must say that I feel that Lulu is a very special album; thus, it deserves a special track-by-track review in order to give you the full diorama of what terror, disgust, and hilarity await you.

1) The very first lines in the very first track “Bradenburg Gate” are as follows:
“I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski; in the dark of the moon. It made me dream of Nosferatu, trapped on the isle of Dr. Moreau.” What immediately follows a second later is a slow, rusty guitar riff accentuated by Hetfield wailing “SMALL TOWN GURL” as if he’s trying to ape Billy Joel with distortive fuzz at the rear. The rest is just Lou Reed pounding the pulpit like a rogue preacher in an acid flashback. What the hell is going on.

2) The second track, “The View,” is, like I mentioned before,  home to a mind-numbing guitar riff that sounds like it was dragged off a demo disc circa “The Butt Attack EP. 1980” or something. I can’t even believe that Lars “Need More Bass Drum” Ulrich, the crown prince of percussion “improvision,” is being collared to the most rudimentary drum beat you’ve heard since “Sample 1” on your synth keyboard. What’s that I hear in the foreground? Oh, it’s more pointless diatribe from Lou Reed. What the fuck is he talking about? Oh, who cares. He tunelessly floats lazily o’erhead, just before James Hetfield launches into a fleeting solo and declares “I am the table! I am a table!” Ladies and gentlemen, this man is a fucking table.  Somebody get him some fucking chairs and set the table; tonight’s supper will be comprised of rot and woe, courtesy of maitre’d Lou Reed.

3) “Pumping Blood” begins with some very poignant, non-Metallica string arrangements, evoking a bucolic…oh, wait. Here comes the boring riff and drumline, paired with Lou Reed moaning “pumping blood” like a grandmother on her deathbed. God, when will this riff end? Does Lou Reed have a mandate against solos? Or any kind of lick that differentiates itself from a single chord? A soliloquy halfway has me in tears of laughter, something about “trickling of blood; will you adore the river!? If I’m pumping blood like a common state worker…if I waggle my ass like a state prostitute, will you think less of me!?” Aside, Lars Ulrich does his best retarded Neil Peart impression; I sit listlessly but nod in affirmation. Yes, Lars; that is what Neil Peart would sound like if he had one arm, one eye, and half a brain.
One thing I can’t figure out is the identity of the “Jack” or “Jane” mentioned repeatedly in the lyrics. One part of me wants to go through Lou Reed’s back catalouge and decipher the meaning of this seemingly random beseechment. Another part of me doesn’t give a shit and wants this track to be over. Yet another, stronger sentiment is to strangle Lou Reed and drown out his meaningless story.

4) You know what? I lied. I can’t do a full review of this album.

To go in-depth with each and every song would be excruciating to both the reader and myself, for two reasons: first of all, I assume by what I have described for you, you’ve already tasted a portion of the tancrid pie Lulu truly is, and your appetite for artsy sludge has been satiated. Second of all: you are all sick people, and people know that if something is bad for them, they’ll do it anyway. Lulu is like that one sickening exploitation film your mother told you was no good—but you watch it anyway, and guess what? It sucks and it’s gross. Lulu is no different; to be truly understood, it must be experienced. It is out of morbid amusement and general psychopathy that I own this album on my iTunes. Just as the jerks that came before me with their “hey, watch this YouTube video,” I too hold a terrible secret.

Before I complete this horrible cavalcade of nonsense, I leave you with the knowledge that Rolling Stone gave the single “The View” four out of four stars.  The Telegraph stated “it’s the sheer sense of unrestrained folly throughout that makes Lulu feel like an important album.” Now, we can all agree that Rolling Stone is worthless when it comes to musical criticism; their flip-flop via “popular opinion” to grant bands like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and Rush favorable reviews show how much integrity they have. However, we can  agree with the Telegraph’s statement. Yes; this album is important, much in the way a tragic airplane crash is important. Lulu is a marvel solely because a group of seemingly-legendary men went into a studio, recorded these songs, and nodded generously to the fact that they had birthed unto our ears a gold standard. That, I believe, is total “unrestrained folly.” Lulu is a complete mess, but it is also a hilarious one. A hilarious, torturous, arduous mess that pretty much easily wins my approval for Worst Album 2011.

5/10 (for the laughs)

2/10 (for serious)

h1

Public Image

August 1, 2011

Normally, I’d be reviewing an entire album, but for now I wanted to focus on merely the title song of Public Image Ltd’s debut work.

In terms of just the mere history this song carries with it, the music nerd in me would automatically place this highly. As it stands, it’s an incredibly powerful abridged version of the rise of punk rock as a whole, through the eyes of John Lydon and Keith Levene.

Johnny, as everyone knows, was used and abused in the whirlwind ride that was the Sex Pistols: wrestling with the puppet strings by lord high executioner Malcom McLaren, watching his friend Sid Vicious spiral into the tar pit of a junkie, and eventually becoming public enemy number one in the wake of the single “God Save The Queen.” PiL co-conspirator Keith Levene was probably one of the most underrated names in the rise of punk rock in general, being one of the original members of The Clash and pioneering an incredible new style of fretwork that would be cited as a great example of the “post-punk” sound of the 80s. Both of them outsiders even in their former bands, the self-titled song—the first song off the first album—is an appropriate finale and introduction rolled into one, with a vitriolic splash of rebellion launched full-throttle at their detractors.

Lyrically, Lydon’s rave about only being seen for the “clothes I wear” or “the color of my hair,” along with the claim for not being treated “as property,” rings back to his initial recruitment into the Sex Pistols. Onward, “two sides to every story” pushes the notion further that between Johnny’s eventual departure from McLaren’s game and Keith Levene being sacked due to supposed drug problems, the new band has accepted the bullshit in the media–and that they are finally cohesive and independent (for the time being, anyway.) This would be the first time either of them really broke free and cut loose, and goddamn does it show.

Sonically, John sounds better than ever, shaping his traditional, snarky siren of a wail into a more refined, rebellious howl that seems to echo through the entire first album. It’s the perfect complement to Levene’s hollow, metallic guitar work, the spirited precursor to the sound that The Edge would run away with many years later. I haven’t even mentioned bassist Jah Wobble–who would become an influential dub musician in his own right later on–who was in fact a very key player in the early PiL days, and his bassline here is terse but resonates extremely well.

I just absolutely love the energy, the anger, the sense of deserved freedom that this song brings to the ears. It’s about clawing back from the suck, taking pride in undivided individuality, and just saying “forget it” at the end of the day. Though I love the Ramones with all my heart and I do believe they were the quintessential fathers of the punk movement, John Lydon is just as much on equal footing and “Public Image” is probably the greatest punk song, post/proto or otherwise, I’ve ever heard.

h1

Screaming For Vengeance

November 14, 2010

One of the better things about Judas Priest, in my opinion, was the width of themes they managed to cover. Being one of the first of the truly “heavy metal” bands to emerge alongside their brothers-in-arms, Black Sabbath, the group stood toe-to-toe with others like Iron Maiden and the Big Four of thrash metal (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax) and still maintained relevance. When you think of the heavy metal genre that was born of that era, you might immediately conjure visions of dragons and frost thrones and satanic shit, et cetera. I do generally agree that some metal had become a parody of itself, repeating the same tired demonic throes while the music becomes a game of “who can play this guitar the fastest?” instead of seeking some kind of melodic balance. Nowadays, we have bands like Between The Buried And Me and Priestess who break off from that imprisonment of the same-old, same-old in a fatigued sect of music.

And then there’s Judas Priest. Depending on time and circumstance, you might have grown up with Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. Though popular opinion usually puts IM over JP, there’s a huge difference in their style and messages. Iron Maiden was more for a literary, epic progressive, dividing songs into certain movements, taking a melody and telling a story with it. Judas Priest was faster, more raw, and less influenced by the more fantastical elements and tales.
And here’s why I loved Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance. One of the first albums I heard of theirs in its entirety, this is still one of my all-time favorite music albums and probably is one of the best examples how the band was so diverse–both lyrically and sonically.

Rob Halford and the band were a down-to-earth lot; beyond the 80’s fueled menace of songs like the titular title track and “Electric Eye,” there was political plea for peace in Bloodstone, the oft-revisited element of personal freedom and exploration in Riding On The Wind, and the even more central theme of relationships and white-hot lust in Fever, Pain And Pleasure, and even Take These Chains. One of the most interesting factors in the band’s existence was surely Halford’s homosexuality, which may have been the pained catalyst for so many heavy ballads—something that isn’t really as prevalent or well-done with other bands in the same school. After a few years, the band did adopt a more “radio-friendly” method of writing–whatever that means–though they sacrificed very little. If anything, it seemed like the band was free to express new modes of connection in whatever they composed.

I loved the band for its “normality” in the songs; less tancrid villainy and supernatural occurrence (which I do like, especially if Dio professes it) but more emphasis on personal vindication, being tough enough to withstand the journey, and dealing with the “devil” of love, hate, fury, freedom, and fun. When you’re running through albums like Killing Machine, British Steel, and even Rocka Rolla, you get the feel for a different kind of metal guided by Halford’s unique voice and the twin guitar sound. For anyone who doesn’t really listen to heavier rock or hasn’t had a feel for more theatrical bands like Iron Maiden or the speed metal of Metallica, Judas Priest might be a great halfway point. But even so, they’ve always been a solid sound, and a fan-fucking-tastic choice to put on when you’re cruising off somewhere. In fact, if you want a great JP album for driving, I suggest “Point Of Entry.”

h1

His N’ Hers

September 2, 2010

If you’re not familiar with Pulp, they’re sort of like a hybrid of disco keyboards, feedback-laden britpop, and a dose of frontman Jarvis Cocker’s typical alternative stylings. Lyrically and vocally, he’s always been a brilliant band leader; I can’t spare this guy. He’s probably one of the coolest musicians/artists/auteurs out there, totally engrossed with the finesse of aesthetics and art in general. He’s big on the “common” man’s mode of thinking, always humble but radical enough to protest over Michael Jackson’s infamous “Christlike” performance at one show. Some people thought Cocker ought to be knighted for that one, but that’s another story altogether. He sort of reminds of Rivers Cuomo just a bit—if only because they both give off this sort of geeky yet completely smooth style. But, that’s where the similarities end. I don’t think it’s much of a contest when it comes to sheer originality and consistence.

Anyway, His N’ Hers historically comes roaring off as the breakthrough success of the band after two moderately selling yet fantastic albums and one earlier dud. Sonically, the album is a basketcase of whimsical yet bent-sinister songs, especially the opening track which begs for the car “to take a girl to the reservoir.” To do what!? Aside from the occasional double-meanings and bitter pills, the album really has a “loved and lost” feel to many of the tracks that suits Cocker’s wail perfectly. The guitars and the bass are fantastic and they mesh well with the extensive use of the keyboards—a staple in much of Pulp’s work. You get the feeling that many of these songs could be remixed really easy, not because of a simplicity in some places but because they’re just so catchy. And it’s hard to make something that’s both catchy yet dynamic enough so it doesn’t feel it can be easily duplicated.

I feel like this album has that distinct “90’s” glitz to it, if that makes sense. Back when this was released in ‘94, grunge was big in the US. It didn’t catch on in Britain, I think they were still going through the whole Oasis/Blur fiasco—and besides, I feel grunge was always something that was wholly American, belonging to Cobain, Weiland, Vedder, and Lanegan. They had britpop; we had grunge. I can recall Public Image Ltd.’s song “Seattle” which details the initial confusion they had, as well. I can’t really picture John Lydon getting on in Seattle, to be honest.

But in the midst of all that there was shit like Roxette and all those distinctly poppy groups who cut through the radio waves with this glittery sheen. Why did so many of those mid-card bands have to suck so badly? They could have been great. Not that I’m saying Pulp’s like a better version of a lame singles-based 90’s band; they’re pretty alternative with their fusion of social drama and sparkly beats. It just seems like they were the ones who should have been part of the focal middle ground between the sludge of 90’s grunge and the eccentric “I’m more English than you” battles.

Well, I guess since the US has R.E.M., my argument’s null and void. Which reminds me, I have to write something about them, but that’ll be another time.

So, long story short: Pulp’s one of the only really “pop” bands I admire, if only because they stray from the slow roll of glitz all the time and venture into new ways to get your blood pumping. If you need a starting point for expectations, His N’ Hers is an excellent jump-off and just a great album altogether if you’re seeking the true “alternative” to the Britpop stuff that was from that era. Interestingly enough, the band has had a history of their success stemming from a large following in the US, especially due in part to this certain album. If this album was any indication of new variety, a few years later their dark and spinning carousel entitled This Is Hardcore would really get the cogs working. But that, like so much else, is for another day.

h1

Wild Mood Swings

August 29, 2010

Ironic that I picked Wild Mood Swings to listen to from beginning to end. Keeping up with the previous Gorillaz review and the theme of “fans being upset about one album so different from the last, even though this is a thought pattern clearly unjustified,” Wild Mood Swings is regarded as a huge and sometimes unforgivable departure from previous sounds by the mopish, foppish hardcore Cure collective—and yet, Robert Smith puts this album in his top five favorite recordings. Wait, how could this be!? To make sense of this mess, let’s backtrack to Smith’s own quota about how it’s “pitiful that the word ‘goth’ is still attributed to the Cure.”

Furthermore, if we look into Smith’s own assertion that he’s surely not depressed all the time—“I’m not like that all the time. That’s the difficulty of writing songs that are a bit depressing. People think you’re like that all the time, but I don’t think that. I just usually write when I’m depressed—” we’re already facing someone who clearly wouldn’t ALWAYS keep the same attitude through his transition from purely webspun tales of brooding towards a more psychadelic feel which suited his upbringing with artists as classic as Hendrix. Man, that was a mouthful.

So, here we have Wild Mood Swings; appropriately named. The album, for the most part, is really a big departure from music like Disintegration, The Top, and Seventeen Seconds—all of which I love. Along comes Wild Mood Swings with a truly bizarre assortment of everything from his trademark “goth” sound to songs bordering on poppy punk (Mint Car) Bowie-esque glitterglam (Club America) or occasional upbeat anthems (Gone!). Hey, I thought Smith was supposed to be droll and defeated! Well, oops. I guess he was having a good day or something in the studio. Woe to us!

I won’t lie, I really do still staple the word “goth” onto Smith’s forehead. It’s what people think of when they listen to the Cure’s earliest and more well-known work (barring, of course, Just Like Heaven). But hey, if the sound manages to climb out of the darkling thrush and inject a fair bit of positive images into my head—while keeping the same amazing vocals, lyrics, guitarwork and overall production value—I can’t complain. This is a solid album from an artist who was still very, very grounded in his talent and his vision. Unfortunately, over time this vision took a second seat to what other people claimed the band “should” sound like, I suppose.

I’m not sure how high I’d rank this compared to other albums, but I do like it better than a few other things that would follow in the future. That’s a story for another day, though. However…if you’re interested in the Cure, I would not recommend picking up this album as a starting point. If anything, I highly urge you to start from Seventeen Seconds, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, and Disintegration, following up with The Top or Head On The Door, before you touch this particular record. I realize that this is an awfully tall order and maybe a bit daunting to say, but I do believe that if you want to start listening to the band, you might get a very false impression from the majority of their work if you begin with Wild Mood Swings. And that, I think, is the one negative truth I can say about this album…other than how much I dislike the song The 13th. But hey, you can make up your own mind about that one; I’m already bound to be burned alive for claiming I love Club America. Although I might not be in the minority for suggesting the last track–Bare–is one of the band’s best, emotionally disintegrating and equal parts beautiful/depressing.

h1

Plastic Beach

August 28, 2010

Plastic Beach is totally unlike the raw pop-punk miasma of the first self-titled album, or the dark yet funky musings of Demon Days. Taking on more of a synthetic, electrolite sound, Damon Albarn does away with the guest producers and mixers of old—namely, Dan the Automator and Dangermouse—and tries his own hand at the production game. Depending on who you ask right now, this is either a neutral move or a completely awful one. Personally, I don’t think it would have made a difference in the end product, barring some shifting of song order or something.

Demon Days seems to be a high benchmark, and you’d be right; the production value and the overall quality of the music therein was fantastic. Nobody thought it had a right to be so majestic given the cartoon band’s initial image of the no-harm-done, playful romp in the first album. I doubt anyone expected the second album to be as artistically brilliant. And it’s because of this album that Plastic Beach is being constantly (and unfairly) compared to the earlier music. What even the diehard fans can’t understand is that Albarn clearly stated a loooooong time ago that the albums would feature a rotating roster, an evolving sound, and no certain kind of specific theme set in stone. Along comes a desperately different, even experimental album (experimental is a heavy word when it comes to the already alternative work of Gorillaz) and longtime listeners are split into a 50/50 dissent: people who hate it for being unlike the previous record, and others who accept the fun little changes in sound and mind.

I guess I fall into the latter category rather than the former, because I think although the album’s song structure is a bit less polished than Demon Days, overall it is completely catchy, insanely fun to play, and every bit as great as Albarn’s previous efforts. The guest cast is amazing; everyone from Mos Def and his highly chaotic flow one track to Lou Reed crooning over acoustics in the next. Mark E. Smith, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Little Dragon, and even the Simonon/Jones combo of the Clash round out the formidable line-up. This, of course, was also a source of complaint from some people; it felt like “Damon And Friends” rather than Gorillaz. This is a moot point and a terribly stupid argument. Gorillaz has always had tons of guest artists in the past, and it’s no different this time.

Overall, this ain’t about what other people think right now—especially people who can’t seem to let go of the old sound and the old crowd instead of going with the evolutionary flow. The album is by no means awful—far, far from it. Would I put it on par with Demon Days, an album that I regard among my absolute favorites ever? Well, yes. I would. I’d proudly put this side-by-side the previous record. They are as different as day and night, and yes—Plastic Beach is less of a dark and brooding journey and more of a sick-headed, glittery jaunt across an apocalypse of jangly keyboards. But that’s why I love it; it’s catchy and simple in most places, but the restrain in some instances gives way to great payoff. And as far as Damon Albarn not receiving enough space to stretch his vox, well…that’s unfounded. He still reigns as the best vocalist by far on the record. Sure, his voice may have toughened a bit over the years, but he’s still among the most talented singers in his generation today. He’s still got the touch.

I have the feeling this album will be hugely successful with more casual fans of the band, though it makes me a little weirded out to think how dense longtime followers are. I highly recommend picking this album up; even if you’ve never heard a single Gorillaz song. It’s a ball of fun, there’s something on it for everyone, and it’s honestly one of the most enjoyable listens I’ve had in the last year or so (though I’m still sold that the clear winner for a good long while will be the self-titled Them Crooked Vultures album.)