The album is chock full of Gorillaz charm -- an often unclassifiable sound mashed full of different styles and plenty of guest spots including Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Kano, Gruff Rhys, Mos Def and, of course, The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.
It's worth noting that Plastic Beach, the band's third album, was produced by Damon Albarn, Blur's lead singer and one half of the creative force behind the band. (Tank Girl co-creater Jamie Hewlett is the other). This means that Plastic Beach will definitely have a different sound, one that the band itself will have complete and total control over. The previous two albums, Gorillaz and Demon Days, were produced by Dan the Automator and Danger Mouse, respectively. Those two knew just how to get commercial/radio appeal, and the lead singles "Clint Eastwood" and "Feel Good Inc." certainly drove that idea home.
This time around, however, it's more subtle. "Stylo" is a far cry from the widespread appeal of, say, "Feel Good Inc." The sound is more in-house this time around, and that means more room for experimentation, something that seems over-the-top for an already experimental band -- yet something that absolutely comes across as one listens to the album in its entirety.
For that, we still have NPR to thank. So head over to npr.org and enjoy Plastic Beach before it hits stores March 9.
Plastic Beach tracklisting:
1. "Orchestral Intro" (featuring sinfonia ViVA)
2. "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
3. "White Flag" (featuring Kano, Bashy and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music)
4. "Rhinestone Eyes"
5. "Stylo" (featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
6. "Superfast Jellyfish" (featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
7. "Empire Ants" (featuring Little Dragon)
8. "Glitter Freeze" (featuring Mark E. Smith)
9. "Some Kind of Nature" (featuring Lou Reed and Noel Gallagher)
10. "On Melancholy Hill"
12. "Sweepstakes" (featuring Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
13. "Plastic Beach" (featuring Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)
14. "To Binge" (featuring Little Dragon)
15. "Cloud of Unknowing" (featuring Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA)
16. "Pirate Jet"
17. "Pirate's Progress" (iTunes Deluxe LP bonus track)
18. "Three Hearts, Seven Seas, Twelve Moons" (iTunes Deluxe LP bonus track)