Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Be Young, Gifted, and Virtual...

Our slightly late Song of the Week is the funky but sweet and playful ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ by the ‘virtual band’ Gorillaz, which began in 1998 as a ‘side project’ of Damon Albarn, the visionary behind Blur, and British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett to universal critical acclaim, commercial success, and even some modest radio play!

In animation,
the band is a quartet whose four fictional members are pictured left: 2D (lead vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), and Russel Hobbs (drums).

In real life, the music is written by Albarn, performed by an ever-expanding coterie of collaborators and guest stars, and rendered live by a seven-piece ensemble. Albarn’s vast musical melange steeps his Brit-pop and alt-rock influences in hip hop, dub, electronic, and pop, with uniformly terrific results.

Let’s take a video walk through Gorillaz delightful oeuvre – it’s been an amazing 12 years, with 3 excellent proper albums and a generous array of B-sides, rarities, and out-takes… We'll start with the faux-breakfast cereal-psychedelia that is today's selection, 'Superfast Jellyfish,' which features Gruff Rhys, the Welsh mastermind of Super Furry Animals (whose 50s-ish run-away was featured on SOTW back in November 2007, 138 weeks and songs ago)...

Here's the philosophical faux-nightmare, rap/folk tune that put Gorillaz on the map back in 1999 - it's 'Clint Eastwood,' which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with Clint Eastwood... This was a top 5 hit in all over Europe and #1 in Italy. It managed to get around quite a bit in the US without cracking the top 40.. you may recognize it from a clothing store or a trendy restaurant..

But their biggest hit ever came in 2004, this time worldwide, even here! It's 'Feel Good Inc...' As usual, it blend alt-rock melancholy, hip-hop posturing and irresistible propulsive rhythm..

Their other 2004 hit was
the bouncy, non-hip-hop 'Dare'.

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