My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Discussion about the band and related projects.

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John_d
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My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by John_d » 01 Jan 2016, 10:08

Finally got my act together and got a log in for here! Happy New Year everybody!

It was a lot of fun getting a new Blur album, a lovely surprise, and it was a good album too. I wasn't really into Lonesome Street as it sounded like a strange throwback, a weaker MLIR track perhaps. Blur have never went backwards like that before. I liked the sentiment of Go Out, and the tune was a grower, but it's never going to be a proper great Blur song. Ghost Ship and Ong Ong were on the other hand excellent, and should in my opinion have been the 2 singles. I saw the guys in 2012 and 2013 but timings worked against me this time, so I didn't see them. For me they fumbled 2 big live TV appearances in the UK - Graham Nortons chat show (the "retro" Lonesome St, which wouldn't have won anybody over) and the TFI Friday relaunch (it was a huge TV and Twitter event, but they gave a pretty rough performance of coffee and TV due to Damon having a "sore throat"). I also don't think they should play Hyde Park again. For me the social and internet engagement is shoddy - not least closing the forum! I get the impression Blur's management kind of don't like Blur fans. Damon v Adele didn't reflect we'll on either of them. I think damons failure to write a big hit for another artist is definitely a blot on his song writing record.

In 2016 I would welcome a "quick" gorillaz record that isn't weighed down by guest spots all over it. Regardless of record sales, plastic beach was definitely missing a killer single or 2. It may be that damons knack for writing these has gone. The wonder.land reviews aren't wholly encouraging. If so that's ok, even stellar talents like Bowie and madonna only manage 15 - 20 years max at the vanguard - Damon managed about 13 (there's no other way - feel good inc). But it would be great if he chose a producer who would challenge him. He was apparently going to be challenged by Richard Russell on everyday robots, but I didn't hear it. Too many of the songs were of the stoner mid-tempo Damon likes defaulting to. I wonder if we have had to wait until 2016 for "phase 4" because EMI wanted some kind of return on investment and profit of X before making another gorillaz record. I find the idea that EMI is a partner in gorillaz (not widely discussed) really interesting and you would think they would put their best management/web/social people on the account. Phase 3 was strangely botched in a lot of ways. Damon should be commended on the scale and ambition and incredible quality of the Phase 3 live shows but there must be a more practical and cost-effective and innovative (this is supposed to be an innovative and "virtual" band after all!) way to tour Gorillaz.

JD

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Forever Low Man
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by Forever Low Man » 01 Jan 2016, 14:06

My two cents:


Blur was awesome.

Gorillaz will be awesome.

Don't give two shits about GBQ.

Still haven't listened to Everyday Robots.

Don't plan to.

Whippy new year.
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tom_cas1
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by tom_cas1 » 01 Jan 2016, 16:18

Interesting points, I totally agree that Plastic Beach was missing one or two great singles. Stylo was good but no more than that, actually very weak compared to the singles on Demon Days. I also agree that Damon hasn't been at the top of his game songwriting wise for a while now although instead of Demon Days I'd say his last GREAT album was The Good, The Bad & The Queen. That was excellent. Everything since then hasn't been on that level, apart from The Magic Whip of course which was a big return to form.

Really interested to hear a new Gorillaz album, and a second The Good, The Bad & The Queen album of course.
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by davidsutter » 01 Jan 2016, 16:41

I probably would have chosen Superfast Jellyfish and Empire Ants for the singles myself.

(That is if they could have done a mix of Empire Ants where the second half isn't five times as loud as the first.)

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by 101reykjavik » 01 Jan 2016, 17:02

Yes, I always thought Superfast Jellyfish was an obvious single going begging.
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by idreamofpikas » 01 Jan 2016, 22:04

Stylo could have easily been a hit single, the marketing was just incredibly poor or that whole era. Hit singles are more about marketing these days than quality (though I really like Stylo)

There was no physical release which will have hurt sales but the single and video was released on the same day as the album, so many of the people who would have bought the single bought the album instead. Had the video and single been released a week or two before the album then it would have created more buzz.

Then there was the whole idea of releasing the album on Mothers Day. Instead of being able to advertise it as a no1 album, like it would have reached the week before or after, it had to settle for no2. As trivial as it sounds that has some sway on casual buyers.

And then there was the album cover. As awesome as the Island design was, the concept of Gorillaz is the animated band. That is were the bands recognition comes in and many casual buyers would have recognized the 'band' on the cover and bought it.

Lastly there was Damon making it public how he would never allow his music on shows like Glee or Pop Idol. Pointless statement to make public, as all it does is alienate fans of those shows against him. Saying that cost him sales but Gorillaz, in particular, lends itself to those awful mashups and every song Glee was using at the time saw a spike in sales.

Album sales of 1.3 is not a disaster, but it should have done an awful lot better. The marketing was awful.

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by MsMagicAmerica » 01 Jan 2016, 23:51

101reykjavik wrote:Yes, I always thought Superfast Jellyfish was an obvious single going begging.
I thought the same. The chorus is perfect pop, and the rap is actually really good (that's chicken :D )

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by tom_cas1 » 02 Jan 2016, 00:29

idreamofpikas wrote:Stylo could have easily been a hit single, the marketing was just incredibly poor or that whole era. Hit singles are more about marketing these days than quality (though I really like Stylo)

There was no physical release which will have hurt sales but the single and video was released on the same day as the album, so many of the people who would have bought the single bought the album instead. Had the video and single been released a week or two before the album then it would have created more buzz.

Then there was the whole idea of releasing the album on Mothers Day. Instead of being able to advertise it as a no1 album, like it would have reached the week before or after, it had to settle for no2. As trivial as it sounds that has some sway on casual buyers.

And then there was the album cover. As awesome as the Island design was, the concept of Gorillaz is the animated band. That is were the bands recognition comes in and many casual buyers would have recognized the 'band' on the cover and bought it.

Lastly there was Damon making it public how he would never allow his music on shows like Glee or Pop Idol. Pointless statement to make public, as all it does is alienate fans of those shows against him. Saying that cost him sales but Gorillaz, in particular, lends itself to those awful mashups and every song Glee was using at the time saw a spike in sales.

Album sales of 1.3 is not a disaster, but it should have done an awful lot better. The marketing was awful.
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by Lt Pinkerton » 02 Jan 2016, 12:12

idreamofpikas wrote:Stylo could have easily been a hit single, the marketing was just incredibly poor or that whole era. Hit singles are more about marketing these days than quality (though I really like Stylo)
While I agree with you on this, I think Stylo could've been a hit had it been recorded with the funky guitars it had live. They made the song catchier and just way more fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clqv8vUJw-Y" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by davidsutter » 02 Jan 2016, 12:54

IMO the best version of the Stylo beat is the demo.
Obviously there was no song there yet but I like the groove better.

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by tom_cas1 » 02 Jan 2016, 13:14

Some Kind Of Nature would have made the best single. Best song on the album too.
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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by Mrbriggs » 02 Jan 2016, 18:25

tom_cas1 wrote:Some Kind Of Nature would have made the best single. Best song on the album too.
Agreed.
Plastic Beach is actually my favourite Gorillaz album as well.

Wasn't really a fan of Everyday Robots though.

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by northernmonkey » 02 Jan 2016, 21:13

For me 2015 has been an amazing year for Blur, to see them play new material has been a highlight despite missing out a number of great TMW songs. To have a new album let alone one worth the very long wait and to know how the odds were totally against us ever getting this just makes it better. The majority of fans seem to rate it and this has received strong reviews from the critics so obviously Blur still have that creative spark and obviously do enjoy playing together.

2016 and beyond, we'll I would prefer more new Blur material but I am pleased with what we have for now. With Gorillaz in mind I am not that bothered with the whole cartoon concept I just want good songs from Damon and ones better produced than ER or PB, I'd be happy for him to have someone like DM back on board as with the great work by Stephen Street on TMW proved Damon's work does need guidance on the production front as it sounded so much more complete than songs like The Puritan or UTW. So yeah more Demon Days than PB for me.

I love TGTBATQ but I am a little concerned too much time has passed as although I thought ER had its highlights the similarities in style were present but ER was no TGTBATQ and I know there are other band members on this particular project but don't believe they have the influence on the sound in the same way as the members of Blur do.

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by AdvertBreak » 02 Jan 2016, 21:27

I agree with the points about the bad promotion, but it still had quite a lot going for it. Bruce Willis, daytime and nighttime alternate editions, whatever. But Gorillaz aren't for kids. Jools Holland, Q Magazine and Parental Advisory albums aren't for kids are they? So by that manner, I don't think the band's abscence on the album cover affected sales. I can't see why someone wouldn't want to buy it because of the bloody imagery. Yes, I know they're popular with kids or whatever, but in the same way that Queen, Green Day, RHCP, The Offspring and Nirvana. And this is based on the tastes of every youngen who likes Gorillaz that I know. Besides, they probably just download the songs they like anyway. Cynical, but whatever.

So it's about the songs. And judging by the charts in 2010, I don't think Stylo would have been bigger based on CD sales. This was 2010. I can't remember CD singles existing then except on the counters of HMV (Muse's Resistance and Mika's Rain, specifically, and I've not seen CD singles since except for charity singles). It's funny because with their previous album they were issuing CD1/CD2/DVD sets. Oh how the industry changes.

But its true that Plastic Beach didn't really win them any fans, I guess. But it didn't make them lose any either.

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Re: My thoughts on Blur in 2015 & Phase 4 of Gorillaz

Post by Pavlich » 03 Jan 2016, 01:43

idreamofpikas wrote:Stylo could have easily been a hit single, the marketing was just incredibly poor or that whole era. Hit singles are more about marketing these days than quality (though I really like Stylo)

There was no physical release which will have hurt sales but the single and video was released on the same day as the album, so many of the people who would have bought the single bought the album instead. Had the video and single been released a week or two before the album then it would have created more buzz.

Then there was the whole idea of releasing the album on Mothers Day. Instead of being able to advertise it as a no1 album, like it would have reached the week before or after, it had to settle for no2. As trivial as it sounds that has some sway on casual buyers.

And then there was the album cover. As awesome as the Island design was, the concept of Gorillaz is the animated band. That is were the bands recognition comes in and many casual buyers would have recognized the 'band' on the cover and bought it.

Lastly there was Damon making it public how he would never allow his music on shows like Glee or Pop Idol. Pointless statement to make public, as all it does is alienate fans of those shows against him. Saying that cost him sales but Gorillaz, in particular, lends itself to those awful mashups and every song Glee was using at the time saw a spike in sales.

Album sales of 1.3 is not a disaster, but it should have done an awful lot better. The marketing was awful.
I disagree a lot with this.

Damon can say whatever he wants. Pop Idol is shit. It represents something cynical and wrong with western society. It's about money and takes away from the artistry of the thing it's so much trying to promote. When you're a random music listener with a worthless opinion, you can still hate it – when you've been in music for decades, and you've tried hard to get to where you are, and still work 9-5 on songwriting and your musicianship, how can this sort of cheating of the industry not annoy you?

What kind of soft, lame person would he be if he didn't comment on things that aggravated him? He's in the rare position where what he moans about, matters. What kind of boring, sanitised person do you want him to be? He should be slagging off things that aren't right. And to hold your tongue for some record sales is just as bad as Pop Idol itself. I'm glad he says things like that.

I just think Plastic Beach didn't have enough pop hits or wasn't, basically, as intense, cinematic, bold, interesting, and simply good as Demon Days. I think he did the right thing, basically sleeking down the songwriting and going for a more 'pure' and less bombastic album, but it wasn't that great. That's the big difference. Taking about five years to follow up a record is also a pretty negative thing, but hey, this dude has a lot on his plate. Who cares.

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