Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Gorillaz [Virgin, 2001] **
  • Demon Days [Virgin, 2005] ***
  • Plastic Beach [Virgin, 2010] Choice Cuts
  • The Singles Collection 2001-2011 [Virgin, 2011] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Gorillaz [Virgin, 2001]
a goof not a concept, except insofar as they deny there's a difference ("Re-Hash," "Clint Eastwood") **

Demon Days [Virgin, 2005]
Pop trip-hop as alternative reality, from fantasyland to apocalypse ("All Alone," "Dare"). ***

Plastic Beach [Virgin, 2010]
"Some Kind of Nature"; "Superfast Jellyfish" Choice Cuts

The Singles Collection 2001-2011 [Virgin, 2011]
Their synthbeat-meets-comix concept got over as pop because it found a mildly playful and pleasurable way to enact well-meaning self-effacement, which was how Damon Albarn disarmed the world well before designing a virtual band for the era of electronic interpersonal multi-tasking between unknowable avatars. As far as he's concerned, that isn't humanity sitting up "On Melancholy Hill"--it's a manatee, who got there by means only a cartoonist could grasp. Note, however, that he invokes real-life humanity in an all too traditional way: via such living persons of African descent as Bobby Womack, Neneh Cherry, De La Soul, and the affably virtuosic Del the Funky Homosapien. A-