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by Gorillaz

Released March 26, 2001 via Parlophone Records / Virgin Records

Reviewed March 24, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Clint Eastwood (70%), 19-2000 (52%), Tomorrow Comes Today (52%)

Damon Albarn’s legacy was already cemented as the frontman of Blur, who helped to define Britpop and alternative rock in the 1990s. But as the orchestrator and sole musical contributor of Gorillaz (excluding collaborators), Albarn’s creativity expanded into uncharted territory and the possibilities seemed endless. With Jamie Hewlett at the helm of animation, the Guinness World Record holders of “Most Successful Virtual Band” ushered in an era of genre-bending to the mainstream behind four fictional musicians. These eccentric characters wonderfully reflect the essence of the music itself, with their self-titled debut boasting a brilliantly eclectic and cohesive sound that blends hip-hop, electronic music, rock, psychedelia, punk, and more into an avalanche of fun. The first of several defining works, Gorillaz showcased the genius of Albarn and Hewlett, two artists with a vision that was well ahead of their time. – Dominick (8.8/10)

After departing one of the biggest British bands of the 90’s, Damon Albarn turned inward to create a new musical project that combined everything that influenced him. No longer was he confined to making alternative rock with a pop edge, but he could warp electronics with a Pharcyde feature and make it come back to an alternative rock hook to close it out all without a hitch. By allowing himself to experiment with blending genres, he helped to usher in a new era of music where the limits were showing themselves to be endless. Gorillaz’ debut is a landmark for the music scene and continues to have influence 20 years later. – Jared (8.5/10)

A virtual band could only be undertaken by a man like Damon Albarn. With his curator, cultivator, and conductor ways, the Gorillaz were always going to unearth unprecedented success. Nobody pulls together features and contemporary artists like Albarn. His sixth sense for what suits and fits is second to none. The Gorillaz wear their influences on their sleeve; Bristol's early 90's trip-hop scene and hip-hop, of course, play a major role in shaping the Gorillaz universe. “Tomorrow Comes Today” harks back to the likes of DJ Shadow and his sense for downtrodden tempo, while “Gravity” and “New Genius” are heavily indebted to acts like Portishead and Massive Attack. With the Gorillaz you have one of the finest pop albums, and acts, of the last 20 years. Their presence is nothing short of groundbreaking on both the animation and music front. – Peter (8/10)

If you were going to summarise the history of ‘90s pop with two genres, you’d probably think of the diversification of alternative rock and the ever-flourishing fusions of contemporary R&B with coastal hip-hop. Gorillaz, spearheaded by Damon Albarn & graphics artist Jamie Hewllett, isn’t the perfect product of this, but it certainly fits the bill, from its comparably saccharine grunge guitar licks on tracks like “5/4” or “Double Bass,” to the sample-laden beats seen on the brassy, upbeat “Rock The House” or the wonky, vibrant “19-2000.” The debut record of this multimedia ‘virtual band’ – comprising of grotesquely non-human-seeming yet endearingly relatable cartoon characters – is charming because of its versatility and conviction, especially since it has both aged very well and laid the groundwork for Albarn and co.’s more experimental efforts, both with and without the Gorillaz name. – Cam (7.8/10)

Pax: 9/10 | Dominick: 8.8/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8/10 | Hadley: 8/10

Peter: 8/10 | Daniel: 7.9/10 | DeVán: 7.9/10 | Alan: 7.4/10 | Enth: 7/10


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