Plastic Beach - Gorillaz
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. The whole thing works beautifully, more with each listen.
  2. 100
    Only behind such a distracting smokescreen could Damon Albarn get away with conducting a project as sprawling, daring, innovative, surprising, muddled and magnificent as Plastic Beach: not just one of the best records of 2010, but a release to stand alongside the greatest Albarn’s ever been involved with and a new benchmark for collaborative music as a whole.
  3. Because past the pop songs, past the soaring (and let’s not make any bones about it, this album soars in places) this is a supremely clever album.
  4. Plastic Beach's remaining eight tracks sound less immediate, sometimes getting lost in the album's complicated--albeit culturally-relevant--concept.
  5. Best when he’s corralling others into out-of-their-comfort-zone creativity, it’s the Albarn-sung tracks on the second half of the album where the attention wanders and the album opening Snoop Dogg cameo seems a million miles away. Of course, there’s alot here to take in and maybe it just needs a fair few listens to fully digest it - the sign of any album worth its salt.
  6. While there's no immediate pop hit present a la "Feel Good Inc" or "Clint Eastwood" to get sucked into straight off, Albarn's ability to juggle his rotating ensemble cast and still spin a cohesive yarn for all of sixteen tracks remains something to behold.
  7. Find, here, Gorillaz’ third record, some sort of masterpiece within the band’s canon, and undoubtedly the best chillwave record ever recorded.
  8. The one-time Blur frontman has transcended some of the post-modern artifice of this project, and created the group's most affecting and uniquely inviting album. Joke's over, Gorillaz are real.
  9. Plastic Beach is a full blown hip-hop/trip-hop album and a prime example of how to stray away from one genre to dominate another. If Albarn has done anything with this project, he has shown his knowledge of flawless production and the ability to create aesthetically pleasing tunes.
  10. More than happy to engage the pop mainstream (once heard, the irresistible, day-glo chorus of "Superfast Jellyfish" is never forgotten), yet experimental enough to satisfy the hipsters, these cartoon characters just made the first 3-D album of the new decade.
  11. Its real strength lies in the fact that it implores you to return for repeated visits to a world riddled with other people's cast-offs. Ironically, it recycles nothing; everything here is box fresh.
  12. Though it's only to be considered "pop" in the most obscure sense, and it goes to show Albarn has a pretty warped concept of the term, Plastic Beach provides the almighty shakeup that pop music has needed for some time.
  13. Not all of Plastic Beach's concoctions work. It's a moot point as to whether the fake jingle of Superfast Jellyfish, featuring De La Soul and Gruff Rhys, is daffily entertaining or just annoying beyond belief--but there's something hugely impressive about Albarn's ability to coax artists out of their comfort zone.
  14. Albarn doesn't give us a "Clint Eastwood" or a "Dare" this time around, but in spite of a messy and patently artificial conceptual framework, Plastic Beach feels clean, shiny, and new.
  15. It has hooks, but none as immediate as past Gorillaz hits Feel Good Inc. or 19-2000. This is a hefty offering clocking in at nearly an hour and featuring everyone from Lou Reed to Snoop Dogg.
  16. Ironically, these individual pieces don’t add up to an overall masterpiece, possibly because the narrative is convoluted and strained, getting in the way of the pure musical flow, but also because it’s hard not to shake the feeling that this is a transitional effort, pointing toward a day when Damon Albarn will feel no need to front a band, not even in a cartoon guise.
  17. Plastic Beach proves that he's most truly himself when he turns into a cartoon.
  18. 70
    It's a jumble. But Albarn's love of "Waterloo Sunset" poignancy adds emotional weight.
  19. All these songs just sound too much like Gorillaz songs, in an uncomfortable, self-conscious way.
  20. The Windows operating system segue of Mark E. Smith ("Glitter Freeze") into Lou Reed ("Some Kind of Nature") is as apropos as used syringes littering Plastic Beach, which defines the disc's wasteland second half after "On Melancholy Hill." "Rhinestone Cowboy," meet "Rhinestone Eyes."
  21. Sometimes, especially in the album's latter half, that sonic drift can come off as dull, and even dispiriting. Often, though, they do it with style.
  22. It will be the simple fact that it’s as good as anything Albarn has ever done and for the Gorillaz, a fantastically tailored album from top to bottom.
  23. From the languid, early Bowie dreaminess of “Empire Ants’’ to the chilled-out fuzz-funk of “Stylo,’’ featuring a startling eruptive vocal from the legendary Bobby Womack, Plastic Beach captivates.
  24. This is a dull album, revealing how over the space of three records, Mr. Albarn and Mr. Hewlett have moved from wacky conceptualists to self-satisfied dilettantes.
  25. He never panders to them; instead, Plastic Beach's guest vocals are anchored by Albarn's own melodic flair. His falsettoed ennui shines through, and the songs are loaded with Albarn's pet sounds.
  26. Overall, while the album isn’t an artistic triumph or grand satirical gesture, it is an enjoyable ride and is the best place to start if you just want a taste of Albarn’s post-Blur musical prowess and Hewlett’s animation wizardry.
  27. Songs like "Glitter Freeze" push that envelope to its furthest extent, where Albarn's sound becomes a plastic trance dance more at home with pulsing dancefloor strobe lights than a booming club with a DJ spinning the hottest rap hits. That may be a step too far for some. Tracks like "White Flag" and "Cloud of Unknowing" walk the line between those extremes.
  28. The result is an album that is slightly less immediate--the instant appeal of a hit such as “Clint Eastwood” or “Feel Good Inc.” is lacking. Bobby Womack’s strident vocal on “Stylo” is a rare burst of exuberance, but much of the rest exudes a chilled charm.
  29. With synth tones straight outta Miami Vice and dreamy melodies that cut through the fog-machine haze, Plastic Beach is music for piloting your speedboat beyond the no-wake zone, or for looking back from the future with a sentimental affinity for the past.
  30. Too many of these 16 hazy, half-crazy tracks sound like undercooked studio goofs recorded in the wee hours by Albarn and his impressive circle of celebrity pals.
  31. Plastic Beach runs out of steam toward the end, but Gorillaz combine their myriad of voices better than they ever have, creating a mood that’s simultaneously nostalgic and ominous.
  32. There was nothing like "Demon Days" before and there's been nothing like it since. Until now.[...] Plastic Beach picks up several steps on from where its predecessor left off. [Apr 2010, p.104]
  33. 80
    It displays a sonic ambition, an openmindedness and a melodic gift that puts so much modern pop to shame. [April 2010, p.85]
  34. 60
    The music that wraps around the concept is never boring and much of it is excellent....What's lacking is the nailed-on megatune--a "Clint Eastwood" or "Feel Good Inc"--that we've come to expect from a Gorillaz album. [Apr 2010, p.99]
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 251 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 69
  2. Negative: 3 out of 69
  1. Nov 9, 2010
    3
    Quite dissappointing. While the production, artwork, videos and list of guest appearances may be amazing, the quality of individual songs is very poor and even after a few months of listening I can not remember what the majority of songs sound like. Highlights however include "Stylo", "Superfast Jellyfish", Glitter Freeze" and "Empire Ants". Full Review »
  2. Oct 14, 2010
    1
    OK I had to create a Metacritic account just because I saw so many favorable reviews of this horrible drek. I keep trying to like it because I love this band. But I keep clicking next next next. You people should come to my house and share whatever illegal substance you took to enjoy this because it's just awful. If you added up all the essence from this entire album it still wouldn't be close to being as good as Dare. Full Review »
  3. Jan 2, 2014
    8
    [8.7] Plastic Beach is Gorillaz' most spacious, energetic, and bizarre album, and honestly their most cohesive. I still wouldn't call the album as a whole accessible, but if you listen to it enough, all of the songs are thoroughly enjoyable, and equally so. There are several perfect tracks on this album, and the rest are much more experimental, but are often even more powerful and original. Full Review »