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Explosive debut album for this interesting band who use 3D graphics on stage, Gorillaz always try to push the boundaries of crazy and different, with mixed consequences. Some tunes are more listenable than others but overall I enjoy this album when I am in a particular mood.
--My track by track analysis--
The album begins with aptly named "Intro", which is mainly instrumental until it nears the end of the track, where some gruff voices come in. It then fades sharply into "Last Living Souls", a catchy and upbeat track asking the questions "Are we the last living souls" which could refer to the lack of discovery of life in outer space and Earth, the lonely planet or it could relate to the album's "story". The next track is lowkey "Kids with Guns", this track is repetitive and explores the theme of children taking over (think Lord of the Flies) or perhaps the controversy surrounding guns and schools in America.
"O Green World" starts with a variety of digital sounds and musical experiments, building a musical sensation complete with backing guitar. "Dirty Harry" starts on a similar note, with some quite cheerful note patterns and culminates into chanting and a bouncy tune.
The chart hit "Feel Good Inc" follows, easily the best track on the album, this summery hit is probably the only one I listen to on a regular basis. It reminds me simultaneously of summer camp as a kid, as this is when it was in the charts, and of a hot car driving home and a shocking conversation.
"El Manana" - my friend once told me this song made him feel very philosophical, and I sort of get where he's coming from. The ominous notes accompanying this less upbeat song contribute to the effect.
"Every Planet We Reach is Dead" starts deliberately with slow, heavy pace and the clues in the title to
what the theme of this track is about. The lyrics are riddled with metaphor.
"November has Come" is a reference to darker days I would assume, and this starts with average rapping and echoey sounds, which changes to singing later in the track. An average track.
"All Alone" utilises some musical effects but I really really hate that "chipmunk" effect so I can't listen to the start of this. This track also contains the average rapping.
As I further the end of the album, I've started to realise why I haven't really listened to each track religiously!
I quite like "White Lights" if only for the images it conjures up of strobe lights and clubs. It captures the dark edge of nightlife if you're going to look into the track in detail.
"Dare" is a good track, and this has also been popular in the past, it sounds very familiar anyway! Catchy beat, tune and pleasant vocals. Download this.
"Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head" - this track is another which makes me think the songwriter is slightly mad, but possibly in a good way! A jokey track, a story about a monkey.
"Don't Get Lost In Heaven"
Warning track with the theme of mistakes and getting over confident. About the perils of hedonism.
"Demon Days" - The album name, this track leaves something to be desired. Mainly consists of high pitched singing and white noise.
"Clint Eastwood" - A popular track by Gorillaz, this is another sunny weather song, which is just brilliant.
--Price and availability--
Widely available and probably pretty cheap now as it has been out for years and years. Check Amazon for a good deal!
An average album, with some great hits in there to compensate for the patchy individual tracks.
Coming four years after their first, "Demon Days" saw a release in 2005 and was the second album from the virtual band Gorillaz. Headed by Blur's Damon Albarn, the act this time has a heavy Hip Hop feel with the aid of Del La Soul, MF Doom and Roots Manuva brought in to assist the band as they come with yet more alternative material taking on trends from Pop, Trip-Hop and Alternative Rock as the get help from Danger Mouse, Ike Turner and Neneh Cherry amongst many others for this release.
2. "Last Living Souls"
As we come right off an atmospheric Hip Hop-based introduction, we find ourselves thrown into the main body of the album here. I felt that we were taken into a great track to give us an indication of what the album is about as it's clearly very alternative with a mix of Electronica (with a clear '80s feel) and then a Hip Hop percussion format and on top of that you get a very memorable hook-driven song.
3. "Kids With Guns"
Although not nearly as popular as the other singles from the album, this one still said a little something for them and aided in getting their names out there even further. With this track you get a nice little feature from Neneh Cherry on the vocals and she seems to be able to give a nice edge on the music to make it even more 'alternative' than the act's music already is. This one wasn't all that special, but some may get more from it.
4. "O Green World"
We're given rather dark and grungy synth on this one to take things down and away from their very light and uplifting feel from elsewhere. We find that here we're offered a powerful piece and one that gets the act coming to jam hard with lots of experimental Rock sounds acting as the foundations to the light melodies which the vocals bring with them. It's a grower so you shouldn't be expecting it to hit you from the get-go.
5. "Dirty Harry"
I felt that this one was the biggest of the singles on the album as it stood right out as something you couldn't have issues with when it had such an infectious hook and finds that Damon Albarn recycles a track from one of his solo projects to help it on the hook. It's a well put-together alternative tune which you'll have a hard time trying to identify why it sounds so good. I felt that Bootie Brown (of The Pharcyde) was unneeded for the raps two thirds of the way through, however it doesn't really affect the quality of the overall piece.
6. "Feel Good Inc"
We're immediately dragged on towards another of the hits from the album. It was the lead for the record and I felt that it did a good job in this position as it's driven solely by a riff that keeps you engaged and sees the people behind the act coming to compose a piece that plays around wth many things structurally, but is done in a way that you can't complain about. The added Jungle-esque sub-bass in De La Soul's section I felt topped-off this banger.
7. "El Mañana"
The string of three consecutive singles comes to an end here with this one. I thought that this one wasn't really saying anywhere near as much as the last couple though and this is largely down to the fact that it takes on much more of a Soft Rock style to it and it just wasn't to my tastes at all really. This is a rather dull cut from them and I thought that it pulled the quality of things down for the first time here.
8. "Every Planet We Reach is Dead"
We're offered a very funky guitar riff in this one to set things up and I felt that it was great in making you engage with the music before it takes on a bit of a different feel with the stuttering Trip-Hop elements steadily brought in and then a Garage Rock style in the way that some of the live instrumentals are put together. All together, it did well as a piece you're likely to enjoy regardless of your personal tastes in music.
9. "November Has Come"
The eccentric MF Doom gets up on this one and so sets this track up as a Hip Hop-driven recording from the Gorillaz. I felt that it was nice to see more of this stuff driven for in their music as you know that with this act, they're bound to find new ways to twist it whilst playing on things which have been trialled to some degree, but won't have had such extreme experiments placed on them to go to the edges of what's musically possible.
10. "All Alone"
Bringing things closer to home here, this one is taken down a UK Hip Hop route as Roots Manuva (out of Stockwell, South London) comes to bring out the rhymes and he does a great job at handling himself suitably while he gets up over the fast-paced stuttering and broken Breaks which are brought down for this tune. I saw it to be one of the biggest on the album and it stands out for being like nothing else on the record.
11. "White Light"
This one lasts just over two minutes and so is a pretty short blast from the band here. In this short space of time we find that they manage to fit quite a bit in as they come up with a raw piece which draws in subtle elements of many different styles from metal to Acoustic Rock and Hip Hop along the way. it was a nice break to the album and gives a little example of just how creative they can get at times.
I saw this to be a hugely-overrated single from the band. I really couldn't get anything from this tune in the way that everyone else seemingly could. Although looking back on it has highlighted the fact that it has much more going on in it (musically) than i originally felt, it just wasn't for me as things are taken more in a House direction and I felt that it took some time to adapt to this new twist in how they take the music.
13. "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head"
Here we're given a pretty funky jam from the band as they play out a song which takes you on a journey. The course of this tale is narrated by Dennis Hopper and this really took the tune away and gave it a rather different feel to what you'd typically expect to get out of a song, however the way that it's worked in with a nice chorus means that the strange idea behind it isn't overstretched.
14. "Don't Get Lost In Heaven" (Lude)
15. "Demon Days"
As we move on from a short two-minute-long piece which doesn't really sound to be a full song in itself, we're taken on towards the final track on the album and in it we're offered a nice one to draw the record to suitable closure. This one rolls along nicely, but once again manages to surprise as it takes us down a strange route that's quite hard to describe due to its mixture of many different things.
I saw this album to be an improvement upon their inconsistent debut. Although there may be a couple of slip-ups here, it seems that they have much more control over the genre-juggling this time around and it makes for a piece that you're bound to find a little something you'll enjoy no matter what you usually go for.
With the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach (which is fantastic by the way!) out I thought it would be a good time to look back at their previous album which seems a long time ago all the way back to 2005!
The Gorillaz are a bit different from other bands. For a start they are cartoon characters with names like 2D and Noodle! The band is based around Damon Alburn - Blur frontman with lots of other special guests. It is also a mix of many different genres.
The track listing is as follows:
1. Intro" (Gorillaz/Don Harper) - 1:03
2. "Last Living Souls" - 3:10
3. "Kids with Guns" (featuring Neneh Cherry) - 3:47
4. "O Green World" - 4:32
5. "Dirty Harry" (featuring Bootie Brown & Children's Choir of San Fernandez) (Gorillaz/Romye Robinson) - 3:43
6. "Feel Good Inc." (featuring De La Soul) (Gorillaz/Dave Jolicoeur) - 3:41
7. "El Mañana" - 3:50
8. "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead" - 4:53
9. "November Has Come" (featuring MF Doom) (Gorillaz/Daniel Dumile) - 2:41
10. "All Alone" (featuring Roots Manuva & Martina Topley-Bird) (Gorillaz/Rodney Smith/Simon Tong) - 3:30
11. "White Light" - 2:08
12. "Dare" (featuring Shaun Ryder) - 4:04
13. "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" (featuring Dennis Hopper) - 3:16
14. "Don't Get Lost in Heaven" - 2:00
15. "Demon Days" (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) - 4:28
My favourite song on the album has to be Feel Good Inc. which I just find brilliant. Kids with Guns is another great track with 2D repeatedly saying "kids with guns". Another very famous song from the album is Dare and it achieved great success as a single and the same with Feel Good Inc.
Most of the other songs are good to listen to as well but at points I think the album is a little weird and turns a bit strange!
Overall I just think this is a great album from this great band! It is very different and is very good!
It is less than £3 from Amazon which is a fantastic price and I would really recommend getting it!
Look out for my Plastic Beach review soon!
This review may also appear on other sites under the names ns1209 and mariofan123.
Demon Days is the second album to be released by the animated cartoon band, Gorillaz; the brain-child of Damon Albarn best known as the frontman of Indie Brit-Pop band, Blur. I was always a big fan of Blur and so always expected good things from Gorillaz but sadly, that has never really been the case. As it was with their debut album, so it is with Demon Days that, unfortunately, the best songs here all happen to be the singles....
Kids With Guns, the third track on the album. alone here shows lots of promise initially but sadly never really goes anywhere for me despite its attempt at very clever and socially political lyrics. Apart from that, most of the rest of the album just fails to live up to the potential it tries desperately to achieve and it is only really songs like Dirty Harry, Feel Good Inc and Dare that shed any light or illumination in the darkness. I really wanted to like this, complete as it is with guest performances from the likes of Neneh Cherry, De La Soul and even Dennis Hopper on one number, but theres nothing here that really gets me excited the way Blur did in their heyday!
I know it is supposed to be a different sound and that Gorillaz was never meant to be Blur Part Deux, but the whole concept album idea here never really gels or pulls together and, as such, I found it better for me to simply download the few tracks I DO like rather than the whole album!
When they are good, Gorillaz are on top form. But it is in my opinion that they don't make very good albums...sorry!
Gorillaz are a mysterious band with a huge history it seems. I'm not that much of a fan to try and delve right into it as the hardcore do, but I do really love this album.
Fusing a mix of dub, rock, pop, rap and just plain greatness, this album is positively packed to the brim full of great ideas, and in the main, fresh sounds, that even now, still sound just as great.
The intro is a typically dark one, police sirens in the background over an "urban" synth sound, before slowly building into Last Living Souls. Admittedly, on first listen, this song didn't grab me possibly as it should have, especially after hearing DARE (obvious track i know). But Damon Albarn crafts a wicked lyrical genius around the foriegn sounding song, before it breaks into a calm section, which is truly quite touching, it sounds like if it was developed into a full song, it could be used in an American TV show.
Kids with Guns follows, before the simply sublime O Green World, cruelly ignored by many casual fans. The song is just beautiful, again fusing the best of weird beats with fantastic melodies and lyrics. This is the Gorillaz at the finest, with Damon singing a mournful lament over astonishing music work.
The album rattles through the singles Dirty Harry, Feel Good Inc. and El Manana which are obviously fantastic, before it seems to come to a juddering halt. Some of the songs just either go to weird or appear to be trying to be weird for weird's sake. The second half is saved only by DARE and White Light's funky scuzz.
Overall, this album is very unbalanced, but what is great could rank in my favourite songs ever.
Highlights: O Green World, DARE, El Manana, Feel Good.
I got this CD as a present a very long time ago now! I asked for it after I'd heard a few Gorillaz songs, then thought I'd try listening to the album.
As soon as I recieved it, I put it in my CD player and had a good listen. After listening to each song, I found myself rather disappointed. The few songs I had enjoyed were fairly upbeat and exciteable, but the album seemed to consist of mainly very slow (and dare I say boring) tracks.
I found that a lot of the songs sounded too much the same (which seems to be quite a common feature to a lot of bands' albums) and found it hard to differentiate between them.
However, I did find a few of the features tracks very enjoyable, such as the famous 'Feel Good Inc.' and 'Dare'.
There are 15 tracks on the album in total, which is a rather decent amount considering some bands/singers try to get away with 8-10 sometimes.
The track list is as follows:
2. Last livings souls
3. Kids with guns
4. O Green World
5. Dirty Harry
6. Feel Good Inc.
7. El Mañana
8. Every planet we reach is dead
9. November has come
10. All alone
11. White light
13. Fire coming out of the monkey's head
14. Don't get lost in heaven
15. Demon days
So there you have it. My opinion is that the Gorillaz can do a lot better than this album; although I have noticed that a lot of people would disagree with me.
3/10 for this album... Sorry Gorillaz
Damon Albarn is a brilliant musician as the writer and singer of Blur he has really shown himself to be a creative and brilliant writen and singer. The Gorrilaz is a side project created with his friend the artist, Jamie Hewitt, in essence its a cartoon band, so we only ever see the cartoon band, but the real singers change regularly with Albarn bringing in a wide variety of talents to contribute to Gorrilaz albums.
Most band side projects are small intimate affairs which have little commercial success however the Gorrilaz debut album sold over 4m copies worldwide and was lauded as ground breaking and different.
While the first album was produced by Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura the second album was produced by Danger Mouse the man behind the Grey Album and of Gnarls Barkley fame.
In some ways you can tell Danger Mouse's influence immediately as this second album is not as catchy as the first, it takes time to listen to grasp the riffs and melodies, but once you do this is actually a more satisfying and exciting album than the bands debut, it is daring and different and challenges the senses, at times sounding nonsensical, but patience is rewarded and the songs gradually seap into your consciousness, this is proved by the catchy 'Dirty Harry' a song that has a kids choir on it and the stepped beats at first sound wrong but eventually make total sense. Their words are strange talking about needing guns to protect themselves but I think this might be showing how chilling these words are when uttered by a child and yet this is what many kids grow up believing to be the truth.
The songs have an incredible variety of influences, with piano's african guitar music, prog rock, heavy metal, dub step, some strange vocoder voices and strange rambling Dylan impressions.
If you really listen to this album it is much more than a concept album there are serious issues being addressed, on O Green World the vocals transcend the lyrics and the song becomes something totally different to what you expect.
On Fire coming out of a monkeys Head, Dennis Hopper narrates a story of people living happy lives having it ruined by the military and living a more materialistic fearful life.
Kids with Guns is a scary song talking about the horror of modern life for many kids, Albarns vocals are stunning and go from crazed to heartfelt.funky beats, real funk that makes you want to move and great rap, the melodies are superb. Dare is great fun with Shaun Ryder back to his best while Roots Manuva, Neneh Cherrty and MF Doom also have great appearances on the album.
Feel Good Inc ha
I think this is a superb album which I will be playing in years to come, it has variation, some great vocals, the lyrics mean something, it is stylish varied and fun. The rap is well produced, you can hear later Blur influences in the guitars and arrangements while Danger Mouse shows himself to be a cutting edge producer who never takes the easy option.
The videos are cartoonish but the performances are definitely real and absolutely vital, ground breaking and exceptionally well produced the Gorrilaz make a lot of their rivals look very two dimensional!!
2. Last Living Souls
3. Kids With Guns
4. O Green World
5. Dirty Harry
6. Feel Good Inc (Album Version)
7. El Mañana
8. Every Planet We Reach Is Dead
9. November Has Come
10. All Alone
11. White Light
13. Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head
14. Don't Get Lost In Heaven
15. Demon Days
The cd is available for 43p on amazon Marketplace so is well worth checking out.
The Gorillaz is a band based all around removing the sort of celebrity culture built around music stars, the Gorillaz are instead depicted as cartoon characters and Demon Days sees these cutesy cartoons turn dark. If anyone is aware of the real identity of Gorillaz you will know its Damon Albarn, Blur frontman, The Good, The Bad and The Queen etc, plus a few select guests and this is no bad thing. I am a big fan of Damon Albarn, such an adaptable artist who continues to surprise me in his musical ventures. Many fans will have heard their debut: Gorillaz, in comparison Albarn has done some growing up...
The Intro does cannot really be reviewed as a proper track but it does demonstrate Albarn's evolution and epitomises the sound of the album, dark, experimental and more musically adept than it's predecessor.
Last Living Souls, uses warped loops and synthetic sounds to create a dark landscape leaving Albarn to croon over the top. The song's writing is based on the stories of the band. I really love the piano/voice breakdown about two minutes in, then the introduction of strings, I find it immensely interesting to hear the melding of more classical instruments with loops and heavy beats.
O Green World sees scratchy guitar riffs, tinny vocals, atmospheric backing vocals and the obligatory drums and electronic backing of the album really demonstrating the album's variety. From a musical point of view its so very different that it makes you listen.
Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head sees spoken word grab the focus with electronic guitar and bass backing, spooky backing vocals making the occassional appearance, listen for Damon's stirring outro.
And of course I had to critique Feel Good Inc. The lead single of the album, everybody went nuts for this one in the summer and quite rightly, it's a brilliant tune. Catchy bass riff and scat vocals over heavy drums and sparse guitar opens after the welcoming laughter. Then comes Damon's tinny vocals, disguising his precious identity. He sings of 'melancholy town where we never smile'. The chorus is the real winner, spooky synth stabs over twangly guitar and Albarn's croons before the 'love forever's which were sure to be a winner. Next we hear De La Soull's contribution, smashing the very idea of musical genre. The breakdown haunts before Damon ushers us back into the chorus. A brilliant brilliant song through and through.
Demon Days is really a very different kind of album, very creative, making full use of modern technology and of course the more old fashioned forms of music creation. It's the perfect mish mash of genres too, we hear pop, disco, rap, hip hop, rock and alternative throughout. Albarn is certainly a very talented individual.
Who/what is Gorillaz?
The band itself is a standalone complex containing four animated or computer generated characters. These band members include 2D the vocalist and keyboardist, Russell the drummer, Murdoc the manager and bassist and Noodle vocalist and guitar. These characters came from the twisted minds of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett; they based the characters loosely around their darker personalities and imaginations. Even though the band doesn't exist in reality it has become famous all around the world accumulating a God like status. If they ever perform again live and I can afford it I would definitely go see them as computer graphics are getting better all the time.
1. INTRO- Arguably the shortest track of the album, has some messed up voices echoing in the background with creepy music and a dark horror movieish voice introducing the rest of the album at the end of the track.
2. LAST LIVING SOULS-Contains vocals from 2D, repeatedly asking "are we the last living souls" with background singers mixed up with a lot of more electrical sounding instruments most likely these sounds are coming from keyboards but the effect is a good one. Gives the feeling of abandonment, reminds me of the movie 28 days later for some reason. Though Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett are very into their horror movies so maybe this album emphasises their hobby?
3. KIDS WITH GUNS-I consider this the most track of this album and remind me of the Gorillaz previous album possibly leaving me nostalgic for Blur and pulp. It once again features 2D on the vocals, the song sounds more indie and not as mad and experimental as some of the other tracks. The lyrics make me think of the child soldiers with the lyrics "kids with guns" and taking over, they won't be long".
4. O GREEN WORLD-This track makes me think of deforestation for some reason lol maybe it's because I do international development but a lot of these songs make me think of social and environmental issues across the globe. Lyrics are by 2D with guitar in the back ground; the song is quite dark or pessimistic at least but does remind me of the Gorillaz older album also.
5. DIRTY HARRY-This one has a music video! It also contains a school choir for vocals along with 2D yet at the same time the music is quite electronic or dance related. The music video features the band accompanied by some school kid in the desert singing, probably not one of their most interesting music videos.
6. FEEL GOOD INC- The main song/ single that everyone remembers from the Gorillaz second coming. The video is of the bands central base, Murdoc and 2D are sitting amoung loads of bodies and Noodle is on a floating island powered by a windmill playing her guitar. Feel Good inc is probably one of my favourite tracks. Mainly this is because of Noodle's guitar solo and the relaxed sense of the song. It seems more regulated than other songs on the album yet it varies and experiments a great bit from 2Ds slower melodical vocals to rap.
7. EL MANANA- Another one of my favourites. There is also a music video for this track though it hasn't been shown on television as much as Feel Good Inc and Dare. It features Noodle's island being shot down by the helicopters in Feel Good Inc. It was thought that this was actually the end of Gorillaz as the video made it look like Noodle was killed in the process. The song is very depressing in my opinion and starts off with sirens; while Noodle tries to hide in the windmill from the fire 2D begins to sing sadly about the disappearance of summer from life and the end of life possibly. Though he does mention some hope with the lyrics "maybe in time you'll want to be mine" implying they haven't given up yet. At the same time the song kind of sounds like the reasoning of somebody who has been through a rough break up.
8. EVERY PLANET WE REACH IS DEAD-A little more nuts and experimental 2D starts to rhyme and there are a lot of strange sounds in the background, at the same time there is some very delicate piano playing and calming essence.
9. NOVEMBER HAS COME-Mainly consists of strange noises and rapping with 2D singing "...oh November has come..." in between the breaks, wasn't overly impressed by this track as it's not really to my taste.
10. ALL ALONE- The beginning lyrics are simply "all alone" being sung in different tones/ voices. I do like this one however as have way through the song there seems to be an epiphany or a realisation. I maybe didn't realise this until I was accessing these songs but the album on the whole does seem quite depressing.
11. WHITE LIGHT-This song reminds me of punk a little from Gorillaz last album. The song is quite course and scrapped sounding with 2D on vocals singing in an almost whisper at times "white light" and "alcohol". The song is pretty simple but having a more rocky Indie song adds to the diversity of the album.
12. DARE- The music video of this track features Noodle singing and dancing with the big head in her room. Initially I didn't really like this track but after a few listens it did grow on me and I did really like Noodle's keyboard solo and the attention to her in general. She did appear to the band in a wooden box after all.
13. FIRE COMING OUT OF THE MONKEYS HEAD- This one is spoken like a story, on the whole I found this a bit strange or odd on the whole, not that it's bad but hacking away at blind people's brains is a little too out there for me. 2Ds input at the end once again reminded me a little of western powers attacking poorer nations by force and having an unfair advantage over the indigenous people.
14. DON'T GET LOST IN HEAVEN-2D s tone of voice makes this song sound like a happy nursery rhyme but when you actually listen to the lyrics they talk about drugs and somebody laying on the side of the road. It reminded me a little about the whole ignorance of "ring around the roses"
15. DEMON DAYS-I really liked this one, it contained choir singers and is very out there and chilled out sounding, it is actually quite a remarkable optimistic track to end the album. It's almost as if to say goodbye but it's not all bad. It almost sounds like something moby would come up with in his 18 album.
The album also comes with a fold out leaflet with images associated with different tracks. O Green World is associated with a landfill with a single hand stuck up from the middle, Dare features Noodle lying on her belly waiting for an answer playfully and Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's head features a rather angry red monkey smoking a cigarette.
Gorillaz started as Damon Albarns animated side-project, although nowadays they must his primary concern. Made up of 2D, Noodle, Murdoch and Russel, I find the whole premise a bit gimmicky really, and when listening to the album you soon forget about these crazy characters and it begins to sound like Damon Albarn plus special guests.
Demon Days appealed to me as soon as I heard Feel Good Inc. and Dare, but then when the fantastic new single Dirty Harry was released, I felt the need to go out and borrow it (Im too cheap to actually buy CDs). When my favourite newspaper The Telegraph also voted it their number 1 album of the year this gave me an added incentive. The main criticisms levelled at this alum are that you have to like hip-hop and that it takes a while to grow on you. Neither of these are a problem for me, but I did find that these statements were indeed true. That doesnt make it a bad album though, on the contrary, its great!
The Intro is pointless but atmospheric, Last Living Souls is good, and whilst Kids With Guns isnt one of my favourite tracks, it does feature Neneh Cherry singing SaltNPeppers Push It and a very good chorus. However, the best is about to come.
The next five songs are probably the best section of the album, and from now on the standard is generally quite high. O Green World is slightly slower than the average, as well as ludicrously catchy and inventive, and shows that Damon Albarns best work isnt necessarily behind him.
Dirty Harry and Feel Good Inc. come next, and Im sure youve heard these, whether you know it or not. I love the sort of squelchy beat on Dirty Harry, and it just makes you want to get up and start dancing! Although maybe thats just me. This also features the first bit of rapping on the album, and theres a lot more of that to come. And Feel Good Inc., despite being overplayed, is still probably the best pop song of 2005 and the song that defined the summer.
Whoever says there arent enough slower songs on Demon Days doesnt know what theyre talking about. El Mañana is fantastic and elegant, and provides the perfect response to the frenetic Feel Good Inc. The final track in this little section is called Every Planet We Reach Is Dead, and it has a very laid-back and catchy rhythm which reminds me of something but I cant put my finger on it. Excellent.
November Has Come is really disappointing, because it has a great, atmospheric chorus but its spoiled by some dreadful rapping in the verses, which I think include the lyrics dont split clownbum. Whats that supposed to mean? Answers on a postcard, please. If you want an example of good rapping, then All Alone delivers, courtesy of Roots Manuva. The chorus is really bouncy and catchy, and the verses have great rhythm, plus theres a little slower interlude.
White Light is strange: its kind of rocky but with whispered vocals, and for the most part it doesnt sound convincing. Theres just something lacking to give it the sparkle of some of the other tracks. However, as in All Alone, theres a bizarre, slow interlude, which is fantastic. Dare comes up next (see what I did there?) and again this is one of the best songs of 2005. Featuring vocals from Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays), its really bizarre but somehow they pull it off, and it has one of the best intros on the album.
Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head is a hotly contested track, since its basically a silly little fable about Happy Folk and Strange Folk who arrive and cause the destruction of the town by their excessive greed, put to seemingly happy beats. It epitomises the whole album, which has a vaguely end-of-the-world / nihilistic vibe. You might not end up listening to this track as much as the others, but its still interesting every now and again.
The final two tracks kind of go together, as they both have a spaced-out sound and feature the London Gospel Choir. Dont Get Lost In Heaven has a really nice chorus and some contemplative lyrics. This rolls into track 15, the title track of the album. Its quite pessimistic about the state of the world (mother nature wants us to leave), but its beautiful, brave and brilliant, and the choir part is one of the highlights of the album. A fantastic note to end on.
Its true that this album does require you put time into it, but if youre willing to do that youre in for a treat. People often say that Demon Days is full of loads of different genres. I would disagree. I think its just pop with elements of hip-hop. But if you dont mind listening to pop music, youll find that in Demon Days, Damon Albarn has created one of the most original, innovative and downright catchy pop albums of recent years. This is just about as good as pop gets. Im trying to be more critical since I seem to give every album I review 5 stars, so I think 4 and a half is fair.
Demon Days is available to buy online for £6.99 from www.4cheapcds.com, and its easy to find in high-street record shops.
Being a huge fan of Gorillaz for five years now, this album never ceases to entertain me.
There is such a wide variety of songs on here, you could probably give each one a mood.
The first impression this album gave me is "These songs aren't catchy, I'll doubt I'll listen to this often". After a second time of hearing it through, you are able to understand the complex rhythm of each song. From the bouncy, quick beat of the popular "Dare" to the awesome bass and addictive vibe of the successful "Feel Good Inc" to the unusualness of "Don't get lost in heaven."
Apart from the intro the album includes a story-based song, "Fire Coming out of the Monkey's head" which has an absolute plot to it.
De la Soul add some rap to the album and Noodle sings more than ever.
"Demon Days" merges Rock, Indie, Rap and jazz to form a unique Gorillaz sound that is lovable by almost everyone., anytime.
1. Intro - A mysterious entry into the album.
2. Last Living Souls - Damon Albarn singing in an almost monotone voice with a light snare drum in the background.
3. Kids With Guns - Techno/Rock sought of thing
4. O Green World - A concuction of weird noises to introduce it with Damon singing.
5. Dirty Harry - One of the best songs, contains a group of people singing along.
6. Feel Good Inc. - The heart of the album. A mixture of bass and rap, very melodic and catchy.
7. El Manana - Indie music, guitar playing.
8. Every Planet We Reach Is Dead - Jazzy, slow but interesting to listen to.
9. November Has Come - Alot of rapping, sounds like an original gorillaz song.
10. All Alone - Bouncy, electric and more rapping.
11. White Light - Everything but ordinary.
12. DARE - More of a pop song, very 80's.
13. Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey's Head - A narrative song backed with humming and bass instruments.
14. Don't Get Lost in Heaven - Good song.
15. Demon Days - A finale to the album. Not much singing.
Overall, I guarantee this album will impress you, with its large selection of 15 tracks but if you havn't bought their original album yet, I recommend you buy that first.
This album is a great progression from the lazy beats of the first album 'Gorillaz'. Slightly more up-tempo, but still harking back to 'Gorillaz' and even Blur's 'Thinktank'.
The stand-out tracks as you would expect are the two singles 'Feel Good Inc' and 'Dare'. Initially listeners may be dissapointed that the other tracks aren't quite in the same vein, this certainly doesn't mean they don't live up to the standard. 'Kids with Guns' is a great track with guest vocals from Neneh Cherry which seem to be samples from Salt N Pepper's 'Push It'. Rap, as in 'Gorrilaz' features heavily, noticeably in 'November has Come', which has a great sing-along chorus. The experimental element to Gorillaz is very evident, the odd monolgue in 'Fire coming out of the monkey's head' perhaps a climax.
Overall a highly reccomended album for anyone interested in Damon Albarn's work, rap music and pop music, as this is an album that bridges gaps between white and black music, the serious and the comedic and can appeal to alot of musical tastes.
This album was the long awaited return of Gorillaz, and when the world heard the sheer originality of "Feel Good Inc" I think the common expectation was that of something amazing.
In my opinion I'm afraid, most of the tracks on the album don't quite live up to the bands first single from this second album But don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of quality music on this album, which I'm sure all gorillaz fans out there will enjoy immensely, but me as a fairly new fan, mainly having been introduced to these guys by "feel good inc", i was just expecting something a bit different.
One huge plus with this album is that there are a good, healthy number of tracks, 15. Many albums these days only average around 10 or so, but gorillaz provide us with enough material to keep us listening for months.
The disk starts with an "intro" which does its job perfectly in setting up the tone for the rest of the album.
"Last Living Souls" is a great tune, with great rhythm and beat, upholding the typical gorrilaz hip hop style which everyone's used to. The lyrics in this song are pretty basic and we don't hear much more than "are we the last living souls" throughout the whole track, but nevertheless a great song.
"Kids With Guns" is also a good song, but again not very lyrically advanced. This does however improve as the song progresses into the chorus, which is very effective.
(I think that these first two tracks provide a really solid opening to the album, and go really well together. This is one of the highlights of the album for me.)
"O Green World" is next, and this is a much more down beat, melodic song, but still manages to get your foot tapping. For me however, this is not one of the highlights of the album, as i prefer more of the upbeat gorillaz tracks
"Dirty Harry" is perhaps one of the best songs on the album, It has a very strong opening beat, really setting up the song for the listener, allowing them to listen on and certainly not be disappointed. The use of soft vocals is very effective against the harsh beats in the background.
And now we move onto the amazing "feel good inc." Which (regardless of the fact it was released as the first single) i believe to be undoubtedly the best song on the album. It is so original, one of the most original songs I have heard this year, and everything in the song just works. The structure is simple, yet highly effective. It opens with a rapping sequence, goes into a more vocal chorus and then repeats. Amazing song.
"El Mañana" was perhaps the stand out track on my first listen, but in reality this is probably because I found myself listening 2 "feel good inc" a lot and this is the track after. But anyway, it has a slower beat than many of the other songs, and the lyrics really flow with the musical beats. A very effective song.
"Every planet we reach is dead" - As with a lot of gorillaz music, this song starts off as it means to carry on, a very firm opening. Another thing with this song, is the tone and general sound of the opening is really suited to the name of the song. As we are introduced to the lyrics, we find that they perfectly compliment the tune, more classic gorillaz. Loving it.
"November has come" starts off fairly slowly, and then incorporates vocals in the form of rapping. Personally I'm not overly keen on this songs opening, but it does get better, with the typical gorillaz soft vocal sounds coming through in the chorus.
"All Alone" Similar sounds to previous tracks on the album. Also it starts off with the lyrics "All alone, all alone...." This is something we have seen a lot on the album, with the name of the song being repeated at the beginning of the song. This is one of the reasons i had my reservations about this album, as I thought all the songs were going to sound the same, but it turned out that they were all perfectly original and individual, each with their own merits. As for this song, great beat, and I love the way it is structured.
"White light" is another perfectly original track, allowing the typical gorillaz style of music writing to shine through in all its glory. There is a very fast beat, guaranteed to keep your head nodding for some time. The music then slows down into a sort of interlude, which is another feature we often see in gorillaz songs. Great tune.
"Dare" - and now we come onto the second main standout track of the album, alongside "feel good inc" Being released as the next single, "dare" is perfect in backing up the gorillaz high set standards put forward by the first single. There is perfect rhythm, and perfectly crafted lyrics from Damon Albarn.
"Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head" begins like a story, with a narrator setting the scene alongside a melodic beat. The song then becomes more lyrical, and turns into a great song. A highly effective structure for a highly effective song.
Ever since the eponymous first album Gorillaz was released in 2002, the conceptual cartoon band has defied the odds to retain a huge popularity both in the U.S. and at home. Ostensibly, the band is made up of 2D, Murdoc Nicolls, Noodle and Russel Hobbs but the reality is that Damon Albarn of Blur drives the post-modern 80s electro dance-floor fillers with an apparent freedom to mix and match music across a whole range of cultural borders. With additional production from the similarly cartoon-named Dangermouse, Demon Days is a heavily produced piece of work resulting in this, the bands latest album release.
The initial album was a big hit and Demon Days has similarly gone platinum on both sides of the Atlantic suggesting that it has a lot more to offer than its eclectic mix of animation and effects. The band won both the Breakthrough Video and Best Special Effects awards at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards lending further weight to the idea that the surreal, cartoon concept has a much greater longevity than many thought possible back in the early days of Gorillaz. This is backed up by record sales with an enduring popularity on American radio stations paving the way for further releases after this one is spent, Im sure.
Demon Days is a series of bitter-sweet melodies incorporating another roll call of special guests employed to vary the direction and tempo of Albarns musical meandering. De La Soul get to feature on the latest single to be drawn from this particular musical well i.e. Fell Good Inc whilst Shaun Ryder punches a swathe through the lyrics of Dare.
As an album, Demon Days fits that more electro pop category than anything else. The band claim to having a desire to reprising those swooping electro dance tunes that came out of Manchester in the 80s and 90s and maybe this is where the music gets its roots on the whole.
The highlights of the album for me are Feel Good Inc and Dare. The former may be inspired by a Kinks like chorus with its windmill line Windmill, Windmill for the land/Turn forever hand in hand/Take it all in on your stride/It is ticking, falling down... Its a catchy, funky, playful ditty enhanced by De La Soul with a rapping lyrical set thats common to quite a few tracks elsewhere on the CD. Theres also a strong baseline to compliment the catchy rhythm of the song.
Dare features the mighty Shaun Ryder formerly of the Happy Mondays. From an idea borne from a mutual drinking session in Soho, Dare gets to revisit those heady dance floor days of Ryders Happy Mondays experience with a synth backing and falsetto singing managing to offset Ryders dulcet tones. You got to press it on you/You just, think it, that's what you do it/That's what you do, baby/Hold it down there. The chorus apparently came from trying to pass the microphone to Ryder and as it got closer to him the chant of Its coming up, its coming up, its coming up, its there! became the chorus for the song. Fate, huh?
From the very first track the listener knows that they are in for an interesting ride. The brief Intro with elements from Dark Earth from Dawn of the Dead brings with it a dark melodrama that goes neatly with a nod to zombie culture at least in the title of Last Living Souls, the next track.
Kids with Guns gets the added momentum from the vocals of Nenah Cherry although its a little one-paced and ordinary. Better tracks follow including O Green World and Dirty Harry. Whilst O Green World is a satirical knock at the state of pollution on the planet, the discordant few bars could almost be Stravinskys Rite of Spring.
Dirty Harry includes a childrens choir to add to the orchestral backing the track gets from violins, violas, cello and double Bass. A collaboration again, this time with Booty Brown, Albarn follows up his initial homage to Clint Eastwood from the "Gorillaz" album with a joyful, clapping/rap of a tune that defies the listener not to smile especially with the youthful backing from the choir - another one of my favourites on the album.
Just to add to the anime feel of the project, All Alone intones the thoughts of a traveller staying in a claustrophobic, coffin-like residence that feature in the highly populated Tokyo. With a dream-like chorus that lifts the song from being just a straight-forward synth/rap affair, All Alone lends itself to a ring-tone that comes with the territory these days as a way of making more money from music.
Maybe it's the frenetic, proto-punk "White Light" that sums the album up as a whole. Fast, furious and with a big grin on its face, "White Light" is depicted as the world of the super strong, crack booze of the street wanderer. As a picture from the CD sleeve caricatures, perhaps "Demon Days" is a homeless person grinning at the camera with a can of 500ml, 100%abv?
Like many albums these days, the weaker tracks are hidden away at the finale and Demon Days fits the profile of this particular theory. Both Dont Get Lost In Heaven and Demon Days seem more like musical afterthoughts to whats gone before. Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head reminded me of the voice-over employed by The Clash on Ghetto Defendant from the Combat Rock album and whilst bizarre, has a kinda lost island feel to it that makes it interesting to listen to both lyrically and musically.
Critics of Gorillaz might suggest that the band is just a bit too self-indulgent of Albarn. With a whole micro-world of web-sites, tongue-in-cheek forums and cartoon identities, Gorillaz gets to say and do whatever it likes behind a veil of semi-anonymity. What is says though, isnt taken as seriously as maybe Albarn might think because of that 2D concept that he has managed to adopt. This is a distraction that fits the world of online graphics and abstract videos gaining an instant popularity in a 21st century that was designed for this kind of idea. Frankly, I like the idea but loved the music. Its a whole lot of fun, different and takes the listener on a bizarre journey through monkey laden jungles to desolate, rubbish filled landscapes. Demon Days tries to get across a depressing picture of today. It doesnt manage it because of the dance nature of the music. Maybe theres a message in there somewhere.
Thanks for reading
Demon Days is published by Parlaphone on the Capitol Music label. I bought this from Tesco for £9.77 but you may be able to get it cheaper from online outlets such as Play.com.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Last Living Souls
3 Kids With Guns
4 O Green World
5 Dirty Harry
6 Feel Good Inc (Album Crossfade)
7 El Mañana
8 Every Planet We Reach Is Dead
9 November Has Come
10 All Alone
11 White Light
13 Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head
14 Don't Get Lost In Heaven
15 Demon Days