Gorillaz – Demon Days (2005/2014) [Qobuz 24-44,1]

Gorillaz – Demon Days (2005/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 50:47 minutes | 570 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

Demon Days is the second studio album by British virtual band Gorillaz. The album entered the UK charts at #1 and the US charts at #6, outperforming the band’s eponymous 2001 debut album. Spin Magazine ranked Demon Days as the fourth-best album of 2005, while Mojo ranked it at number eighteen on their year-end list and hailed the album as a “genre-busting, contemporary pop milestone”. NME placed it 98th on their list of 100 greatest albums of the decade. Uncut ranked it at 75 on their list of top 150 albums of the decade. Complex included it on their list of 100 Best Albums of the Complex Decade, placing it at No. 43. Spin later included it in their list of The 300 Best Albums of 1985–2014. The album has sold eight million copies worldwide.

Damon Albarn went to great pains to explain that the first Gorillaz album was a collaboration between him, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, and producer Dan the Automator, but any sort of pretense to having the virtual pop group seem like a genuine collaborative band was thrown out the window for the group’s long-awaited 2005 sequel, Demon Days. Hewlett still provides new animation for Gorillaz – although the proposed feature-length film has long disappeared – but Dan the Automator is gone, leaving Albarn as the unquestioned leader of the group. This isn’t quite similar to Blur, a genuine band that faltered after Graham Coxon decided he had enough, leaving Damon behind to construct the muddled Think Tank largely on his own. No, Gorillaz were always designed as a collective, featuring many contributors and producers, all shepherded by Albarn, the songwriter, mastermind, and ringleader. Hiding behind Hewlett’s excellent cartoons gave Albarn the freedom to indulge himself, but it also gave him focus since it tied him to a specific concept. Throughout his career, Albarn always was at his best when writing in character – to the extent that anytime he wrote confessionals in Blur, they sounded stagy – and Gorillaz not only gave him an ideal platform, it liberated him, giving him the opportunity to try things he couldn’t within the increasingly dour confines of Blur. It wasn’t just that the cartoon concept made for light music – on the first Gorillaz album, Damon sounded as if he were having fun for the first time since Parklife. But 2005 is a much different year than 2001, and if Gorillaz exuded the heady, optimistic, future-forward vibes of the turn of the millennium, Demon Days is as theatrically foreboding as its title, one of the few pop records made since 9/11 that captures the eerie unease of living in the 21st century. Not really a cartoony feel, in other words, but Gorillaz indulged in doom and gloom from their very first single, “Clint Eastwood,” so this is not unfamiliar territory, nor is it all that dissimilar from the turgid moodiness of Blur’s 2003 Think Tank. But where Albarn seemed simultaneously constrained and adrift on that last Blur album – attempting to create indie rock, yet unsure how since messiness contradicts his tightly wound artistic impulses – he’s assured and masterful on Demon Days, regaining his flair for grand gestures that served him so well at the height of Britpop, yet tempering his tendency to overreach by keeping the music lean and evocative through his enlistment of electronica maverick Danger Mouse as producer.

Tracklist:
01 – Intro
02 – Last Living Souls
03 – Kids With Guns
04 – O Green World
05 – Dirty Harry
06 – Feel Good Inc
07 – El Manana
08 – Every Planet We Reach Is Dead
09 – November Has Come
10 – All Alone
11 – White Light
12 – DARE
13 – Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head
14 – Don’t Get Lost In Heaven
15 – Demon Days

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