January 2, 2008

D-Sides: A Review

So I was at Best Buy a couple of months back (around Thanksgiving), and to my surprise I came across a brand new Gorillaz CD entitled 'D-Sides". It's basically a collection of songs and demos that didn't make it into 2005's 'Demon Days'. 'D-Sides' is a two disk affair. The first disk contains unreleased songs and demos, and the second contains remixes. I will now proceed to break the album down song by song because, let's face it, some of these were meant to be left on the cutting room floor.

Disk One:

68 State- A catchy tune with no lyrics. I like it. It's a great way to start off the CD. Awesome, eerie tune.

People- 'People' is obviously an original demo version of 'Dare', and I like it better. It has a slightly different tune and, obviously, different lyrics. No English dude in this version- just Albarn. I don't know what everyone liked so much about 'Dare', but this is a much better version.

Hongkongaton- In one word, 'Hongkongaton' is strange. It's like a weird polka-waltz, but it's also has a slight Asian sound. Not bad. This is one of those songs that grows on you.

We Are Happy Landfil- One of my personal favorites. Definitely the liveliest song on the album. Very catch tune. The sound is hard to describe... but it seems oddly familiar.

Hong Kong- A long, moving balled. Well, as much as a balled as Gorillaz is capable of. You can actually understand the lyrics of this one! Also has another Asian tune (obviously).

Highway (Under Construction)- This is where things start to go downhill. Slow and unmemorable.

Rokit- Definitely a throwback to the eighties. The British dude is back in this one. It's actually very strange. 'Rokit' is okay, but not great. It does, however, win the award for the most use of the word 'blah' in a song.

Bill Murray- It's like 'Clint Eastwood' except not at all and bad. One of those slow Jamaican-sounding songs. Nothing really good or memorable about it.

The Swagga- More slow songs! Hooray! Wait, that's a bad thing. Slow gets boring after a wile, and by this time the CD is putting you to sleep. Very little tune, and nothing special about it.

Murdoc Is God- Well, this'll wake you up! It's loud and... well, still slow- but loud. Best use of subliminal messaging in a song award winner! The only lyrics consist of 'Murdoc is God' over and over, but you can barely hear it over the blazing guitar. Oh, and Murdoc gets a guitar solo himself.

Spitting Out The Demons- It's got a funky sort of vibe, but still maintains to be slightly eerie at the same time. Not much for lyrics, but it's catchyness grows on you. Did I mention it's a slow song?

Don't Get Lost In Heaven (demo)- Slightly different tune and no chorus. It's... different, that's for sure. Not bad, but I think I prefer the final version a little better.

Stop The Dams- The CD redeems itself at the very end with 'Stop The Dams'. This is my favorite song on the album (with 'Happy Landfill' a close second). Still slow, but for once it doesn't have an eerie tune. It's kind of... happy. Or magical, if that makes any sense. In any case, it's a wonderful song and a great ending.

So, the first disk manages to be half and half. How is the second? Worse. Terrible, terrible remixes. There are three of 'Dare' and three of 'Kids with guns', 'Feel Good Inc.', 'Dirty Harry', and 'El Manana'. All are pretty awful. The Hot Chip Remix of 'Kids with Guns' is okay, but the Jamie T Remix is just WTF. It's not even the same damn song! It's not even similar! The only song worthwhile is the 'Dirty Harry' Chinese New Year Remix which is really cool. It's the same song, but sung entirely in Chinese and with some Chinese instrumentation.

All in all, I would recommend this only for die hard Gorillaz fans. For the rest of you, just download the good tracks.

The Good Tracks: 68 State, People, Hongkongaton, We Are Happy Landfill, Hong Kong, Stop the Dams, Dirty Harry Chinese New Year Remix

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