We’re wrapping up our week today with an environmentally-conscious, genre-blending tune from the Gorillaz.
This week, we’ve been looking at a collection of songs from various artists, with a focus on music that combines or defies genres. Monday, we looked at Cake’s Indian-fused rock with”Comfort Eagle”. Tuesday, it was Sufjan Stevens’ frenetic blend of electronica and indie with “I Want To Be Well”. And yesterday, we covered the poppy, dance-fusion of Grimes’ “Kill V. Maim”.
Now we’ll finish this week up with a bit of a throwback from the Gorillaz, who have never been afraid to experiment with jamming genres together. Whether that’s hip hop, pop, dance, acoustic indie, jazz, or electronica. Today’s song comes from the Gorillaz’ 2010 album, “Plastic Beach”.
“Pirate Jet” is the closing track on “Plastic Beach”, and one of the shorter songs on the album, aside from “Orchestral Intro”. The track features a twangy, electronic groove with the words, “pirate jet” repeated throughout.
In an interview with NME, one of the virtual members of the Gorillaz, Murdoc Niccals, gives his opinion on the track:
“‘Pirate Jet’ takes the album out swinging, a finale with shuddering jazz hands: “Did you like the show? It was called PLANET EARTH”. We’re finished and now everyone’s evolved into plastic. A new breed of human.
But y’know, I want to clear this up. ‘Plastic Beach’. It’s not a green record, it’s not a judgement on the world. It’s just a picture. Plastic Beach: it’s another place, another way of looking at the world. And this is its soundtrack….”
Despite Murdoc’s affirmation that “Plastic Beach” is not a “green record”, the lyrics for “Pirate Jet” still fit in with the overarching themes of environmentalism that run through “Plastic Beach”. Although there aren’t many, each line punches straight through the music, and works as a great closer for the album.
The first two lines highlight the green themes clearly. “It’s all good news now / Because we left the taps running for a hundred years”. Obviously, not such good news, but I shouldn’t have to explain that it’s satirical, right? This sets the context for the state that the world is in.
The following three lines serve as a kind of sarcastic celebration. Humanity patting itself on the back for a job well done.
“So drink into the drink, plastic cup drink
Drink with the purple, the people
The plastic eating people”
After years and years of producing plastic, what happens when that’s all that’s left? That’s the question the Gorillaz pose here. The last line of the stanza brings us full circle. “Still connected to the moment it began”. Plastic doesn’t decompose, and won’t go away. And no matter how much the problem is ignored, we’re all still connected to it.
“Pirate Jet” repeats the same stanza, offering no more lyrics to the song. But from what we’ve already seen, it didn’t really need to. Message received.
“Pirate Jet” is one of those songs that can be easy to overlook at first, or write off as a goofy tune that ends the album on a whimsical note. And it’s partially that. But it also serves as an anchor to the album’s themes, driving them in one last time.
Hope you enjoyed listening. We’ll be back next week with more tracks to cover.