CD REVIEW: Gorillaz "Plastic Beach"

Side projects are never really supposed to end up being bigger than a musician's main project. Don't tell that to Dave Grohl; his Foo Fighters became way bigger than Nirvana was (but had Cobain not died, who knows). Regardless, it seems that yet again the side project has become a bigger entity and Damon Albarn's Gorillaz have managed to make another stunning album. Albarn, who's day job is Blur (huge in the UK, not as big in the US), assembled a team to create Gorillaz's third release that included guest appearances by some heavy hitters: Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed. One possibly considered a one hit wonder, they became known for their hits "Feel Good Inc." and "Clint Eastwood," Gorillaz are out to show that they have staying power. Their new single "Stylo" is going to make that happen. Coupled by a music video featuring Bruce Willis, "Stylo" (with guest vocals by Mos Def and Bobby Womack) is the centerpiece of this album which is less electronic and more rock 'n' roll, with a sprinkle of soul and hip hop throughout. This album is reminiscent of the animated group's groundbreaking debut, and truly not a novelty or a gimmick as the band may once have been considered. Gorillaz are for real, even if the entire band is nothing but a bunch of cartoon characters.