Stylo (song)

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"Stylo"
Single by Gorillaz featuring. Bobby Womack & Mos Def
from the album Plastic Beach
Released 26 January 2010 (2010-01-26)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2009
Genre Alternative hip hop, Funktronica[1]
Length 4:30 (album version)
3:50 (radio edit)
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Mos Def, Bobby Womack
Producer(s) Gorillaz
Gorillaz chronology
"Kids with Guns"
(2006)
"Stylo"
(2010)
"Superfast Jellyfish"
(2010)
Mos Def singles chronology
"Sex, Love & Money"
(2004)
"Stylo"
(2010)
"Pride N Joy"
(2012)
Bobby Womack singles chronology
"It's a Man's Man's Man's World"
(1995)
"Stylo"
(2010)
"Please Forgive My Heart"
(2012)
Music sample
Music video
"Stylo" on YouTube

"Stylo" is the first single from British virtual band Gorillaz's third studio album Plastic Beach. The song features guest vocals from Bobby Womack and Mos Def. The single was released on 26 January 2010.[2]

Production[edit]

Bobby Womack knew nothing about Gorillaz and was initially unsure about the collaboration; however, his daughter liked Gorillaz and convinced him to do it.[3] Womack was told to sing whatever was on his mind during the recording of "Stylo". "I was in there for an hour going crazy about love and politics, getting it off my chest", said Womack.[2] After an hour of recording, Womack, a diabetic, started to pass out. He was sat down and given a banana, before waking up minutes later.[2]

Music and lyrical content[edit]

Fictional band member Murdoc Niccals stated the following about "Stylo" in a track-by-track commentary:

This is a new sound for Gorillaz. An electro-ish 'crack funk' sound, with a little bit of politics and a lot of soul going down. With 'Stylo', I wanted the music to feel euphoric, whilst still putting across how precarious our tightly packed situation is now, worldwide. Where we're at as a species on this overpopulated planet ("Coming on to the Overload. Overload. Overload"). Bobby Womack's chorus, he just explodes into the track. How good is it to get Bobby Womack on the record? This was the first recording he's made in 15, 20 years, so what an honour. Bobby said he only returned to do this Gorillaz track because his granddaughter said Gorillaz were cool. Which is true. We are.

Reggae singer Eddy Grant claimed that this song bears similarities to his 1983 song "Time Warp" stating that "I am outraged that the Gorillaz have infringed the copyright of my song Time Warp, claiming their song Stylo to be an original composition" and within weeks of its release he began consulting lawyers.[4]

Release[edit]

A demo form of the track, then just a rough beat, was premiered on the Zane Lowe show on 14 January 2009, along with "Electric Shock" and "Broken".[5] About a week before the official premiere, Parlophone president Miles Leonard described the song as "a dark, twisted track that sounds like the 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack on MDMA".[6] The single was leaked onto the internet on 20 January 2010.[7] Murdoc stated on his Twitter account, "A leak! A leak! Plastic Beach has sprung a leak! One of those Russian pirates has put a bullet hole on my island! My single's leaked! 'STYLO!'" He later added, "If anyone's going to leak my single, it'll be me!" The song's official premiere was on NME Radio that same day,[8] shortly followed by its addition onto the Gorillaz official website. Gorillaz manager Chris Morrison said of the leak, "I just think that illegal downloading and pirating could be stopped, without a doubt. We have to take the gloves off and say it has to be stopped."[9] On 26 January 2010, Stylo was released for digital download from iTunes. When the video was released it received regular airplay on MTV and Viva. However, the video no longer received significant airplay after failing to make the Top 100 in the UK. The song was performed on the 22 April 2010 episode of The Colbert Report by real members of the band. "Stylo" is a playable song in DJ Hero 2.

Reception[edit]

"Stylo" was met with mainly positive reviews, as well as noticed as one of the key points of the album. Pitchfork gave it a 7 out of 10, saying "There's not a Gorillaz song that can trace its lineage to one geographic place, and "Stylo" feels drawn from the time when people thought hip-hop might turn the Bronx into a borderless musical melting pot."[10]

Danreviewer from Altsound gave the song a 69%, confessing that he never was a "Gorillaz fan until now", complimenting the techno groove and soft vocals.

Jacqueline Rupp of Common Sense Media gave it 3 out of 5 stars saying that "Aside from the head-scratching message, the eerily smooth hooks combine with impassioned verses, a repetitive techno background chorus, and a steady beat to make their own statement, regardless of the spoken words." Rolling Stone also gave it a positive review, with 4 out of 5 stars.

It mainly failed to chart successfully, closely to the Billboard Hot 100,[clarification needed] and only reaching 24 on the alternative charts.[which?] It was however the first Gorillaz song to reach any Japanese chart, rising to number eight on the Japan Hot 100. In other countries, it was near the bottom or middle of the chart. It is the fifth song by Gorillaz to reach any American chart position.

The song made number 78 on the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2010.

In February 2011, music video blog Yes, We've Got a Video! ranked the song's music video at number eight in their top 30 videos of 2010. The video was praised as "awesome" and "thrilling."[11]

Music video[edit]

On 14 December 2009, California-based newspaper Desert Dispatch reported that a Gorillaz video shoot had taken place on 12 December in Calico Ghost Town, California. A representative from the production company said the video had a Mad Max theme.[12] The main portion of the video, a car chase, has been compared to the car chase scene in the 2005 Australian Horror film Wolf Creek. No information has been given by Gorillaz to clear up whether or not the film was an influence on the video.

Stylo hero car on location at Calico, CA
Stylo police car on location at Calico, CA

The first preview of the video was a set of animated storyboards that were shown in a press-only Plastic Beach exhibition in London.[13] On 15 February 2010, Murdoc made a series of posts in Twitter about the upcoming video before releasing a trailer for it. The posts described him, Cyborg Noodle and 2D being chased through a Californian desert by an antagonist referred to only as "HIM".[14] A second trailer was released on 27 February,[15] revealing the animation style to be 3D CGI, a first for the band. Babelgum was expected to premiere the video on 27 February,[16] however they postponed their release to 4 March. The premiere took place on 1 March on the official Gorillaz YouTube page. The video was nominated at the 53rd Grammy Awards in the category of Short Form Music Video. The ceremony took place on 13 February 2011. The video lost to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."

The music video depicts a fast-paced car chase on a Californian desert road. Murdoc, 2D, and Cyborg Noodle (with a bullet hole in her head) are speeding down the road in a bullet-riddled, smoking 1969 Chevrolet Camaro with the word "Stylo" on the front grille. They encounter an inept police officer (played by actor Jason Nott) who pursues the speeding band in a police car. The android Noodle, while Murdoc is trying to pull her back in the car and pull over, shoots at the police officer's vehicle, running it off the side of the road. Bruce Willis, in a red 1968 Chevrolet El Camino, chases down and shoots at the Gorillaz, as the sky turns black with a spectral fog and the android Noodle malfunctions and collapses. As Bruce and the Gorillaz race across the desert, the policeman crawls towards his spilled box of doughnuts. Before he can reach it, a shadowy masked figure (the "Boogieman")[17] appears out of thin air and envelops the stunned policeman in a black fog, similar to that in the sky. The video ends with the Stylo car running off the side of the road and into the ocean, as Bruce looks on contently. The car, submerged underwater, transforms into a shark-like craft and swims out of view. The CGI characters of the music-video have been made by the London-based award winning company Passion Pictures, and co-directed by Pete Candeland. During the video, references are made to three other tracks on the album:

  • As he is being run off the road, the officer crashes through and wrecks a billboard poster of "Superfast Jellyfish".
  • There is a sign labeled "Sweepstakes" that can be seen when the scene of the police officer's wrecked car is returned to.
  • At the end of the clip, the submerged car that was occupied by the animated members of the Gorillaz transforms into a shark-shaped submarine, which is also seen in the music video for "On Melancholy Hill".
Jakob Klug's original 69 Stylo Camaro, Denmark

Track listing[edit]

  • Promotional CD single[18]
  1. "Stylo" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
  2. "Stylo" (Album Version) – 4:30
  3. "Stylo" (Instrumental) – 4:30
  • Promotional CD single - Remixes[19]
  1. "Stylo" (Labrinth SNES Remix) (featuring Tinie Tempah) – 4:15
  2. "Stylo" (Alex Metric Remix) – 6:14
  3. "Stylo" (DJ Kofi Remix) – 3:44
  4. "Stylo" (Chiddy Bang Remix) – 3:38
  1. "Stylo" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
  2. "Stylo" (Instrumental) – 4:30
A1. "Stylo" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
A2. "Stylo" (Labrinth SNES Remix) (featuring Tinie Tempah) – 4:15
A3. "Stylo" (Tenkah Remix) - 4:48
A4. "Stylo" (Alex Metric Remix) – 6:14
A5. "Stylo" (Chiddy Bang Remix) – 3:38
A6. "Stylo" (Death Metal Scene Remix) - 7:54
B1. "Stylo" (Instrumental) – 4:30
B2. "Stylo" (Annie Mac Minimix) – 5:06
B3. "Stylo" (DJ Kofi Remix) - 3:44
B4. "Stylo" (Yuksek Remix) - 5:08
B5. "Stylo" (Tong & Rogers Wonderland Mix) – 4:13
B6. "Stylo" (Louis La Roche 'Better Late Than Never' Remix) – 3:29

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[22] 48
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[23] 40
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[24] 31
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[25] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten)[26] 20
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[27] 56
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[28] 8
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[29] 56
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[30] 24

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.digitalspy.com/music/review/a205527/gorillaz-stylo.html#~oM6xbNanhYNv7A
  2. ^ a b c Davis, Johnny (March 2010). "Yo Ho Ho". Q (Bauer Media Group) (284): 44–52. 
  3. ^ Greene, Andy (9 April 2009). "Gorillaz Attempt to Draft Bobby Womack For Upcoming Album". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Eddy Grant claims Gorillaz' 'Stylo' copies his song". nme.com (IPC Media). 15 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Cochrane, Greg (15 January 2009). "Gorillaz tracks debuted by Damon". Newsbeat. BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Sutherland, Mark (12 January 2010). "Gorillaz "Plastic Beach" Album Preview". Billboard. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "gorillaz_news: Stylo leaks". 20 January 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Gorillaz announce new album details, guests and release date – exclusive". nme.com. United Kingdom: IPC MEDIA. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010. "The album will be preceded by the single 'Stylo', which you can hear on NME Radio from today (January 20)." 
  9. ^ "Gorillaz manager criticises Pharrell Williams file-sharing views". 25 January 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ Eric Harvey (26 January 2010). Gorillaz – 'Stylo'. Pitchfork.
  11. ^ "Top 30 Videos of 2010: 10 – 1!". Yes, We've Got a Video!. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  12. ^ "Gorillaz film at Calico". Desert Dispatch. 14 December 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Coljon, Thierry (30 January 2010). "Dans l’antre de Gorillaz" [Deep Inside Gorillaz]. blogs.lesoir.be (in French). Belgium: Le Soir. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "gorillaz_news: Stylo trailer / Stylo video info from Murdoc". Gorillaz-Unofficial. 25 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "gorillaz_news: Second Stylo trailer released". Gorillaz-Unofficial. 27 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "gorillaz_news: Stylo video to show on Babelgum from 27th February". Gorillaz-Unofficial. 13 February 2010. 
  17. ^ Gray, Tyler (8 March 2010). "Gorillaz in the mix - NYPOST.com". New York Post. New York, United States of America: NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 9 March 2010. "Mos wouldn’t stop yapping about someone called The Boogieman. I thought it was just the cocktails talking, but Mos said he’s a dark entity, a black-caped figure made up of all the evil in the world. Turns out that Mos was right! We’ve got the Boogieman in our "Stylo" video." 
  18. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Gorillaz-Stylo/release/2201072
  19. ^ http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=2208487
  20. ^ http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=2178519
  21. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Gorillaz-Stylo/release/2507465
  22. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Gorillaz – Stylo". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  23. ^ "Gorillaz – Stylo – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  24. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gorillaz – Stylo" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gorillaz – Stylo" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  26. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Gorillaz – Stylo". Tracklisten. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  27. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Gorillaz – Stylo" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  28. ^ "Gorillaz Album & Song Chart History" Japan Hot 100 for Gorillaz. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  29. ^ "Gorillaz – Stylo – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.
  30. ^ "Gorillaz Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Gorillaz. Retrieved 24 Sep 2010.

External links[edit]