The Fall (Gorillaz album)

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The Fall
The Fall (Gorillaz album) cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released25 December 2010 (online)
19 April 2011 (physical)
Recorded3 October – 3 November 2010
US and Canada
Genre
Length43:28
Label
Producer
  • Gorillaz
  • Stephen Sedgwick
Gorillaz chronology
Plastic Beach
(2010)
The Fall
(2010)
The Singles Collection 2001–2011
(2011)
Damon Albarn chronology
Plastic Beach
(2010)
The Fall
(2010)
Kinshasa One Two
(2010)
Singles from The Fall
  1. "Revolving Doors" / "Amarillo"
    Released: 14 March 2011[1]

The Fall is the fourth studio album by British virtual band Gorillaz. It was recorded during the North American leg of the Escape to Plastic Beach Tour. The album was first announced on 20 December 2010 and released as a digital download for members of the Gorillaz Sub Division fan club on 25 December 2010. This was later followed by a wider, physical release of the album on 19 April 2011. The album features fewer guest artists than previous Gorillaz albums; collaborators include Bobby Womack and Paul Simonon of The Clash. Critics enjoyed the experimental qualities of the album but believed that it lacked the feel of previous Gorillaz albums. It charted in various countries and peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200.

Recording[edit]

The entire album was recorded on group co-founder Damon Albarn's iPad over the course of 32 days during the North American leg of the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour in October 2010 and mixed in England by Stephen Sedgwick. Other instruments used included a Korg vocoder, a ukulele, a microKORG, an Omnichord, a Minimoog Voyager, a Melodica, a guitar, a piano and a Korg Monotron.[2] Albarn said of the recording: "I literally made it on the road. I didn't write it before, I didn't prepare it. I just did it day by day as a kind of diary of my experience in America. If I left it until the New Year to release it then the cynics out there would say, 'Oh well, it's been tampered with', but if I put it out now they'd know that I haven't done anything because I've been on tour ever since."[3]

The album includes four guest artists, three of which have worked with Albarn before. Mick Jones and Bobby Womack appeared on the previous Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, as did Paul Simonon, who also worked on Albarn's project The Good, the Bad & the Queen.[4] American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams of N*E*R*D recorded a track with Albarn while touring together which did not appear on the album.[5]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was first announced on 20 December 2010 as a holiday gift to fans.[6] On 22 December, the music video for "Phoner to Arizona", which consists of a compilation of footage and images taken from the tour and the phase, was posted on YouTube as a way to promote the album.[7] The album was first released to stream for free on the Gorillaz website on 25 December; it was available as a download for paying members of the band's Sub-Division club, a premium access campaign the band ran throughout 2010.[8] The album was given an official release on 19 April 2011.[9]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic67/100[10]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[11]
The A.V. ClubB+[12]
Consequence of Sound3/5 stars[13]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[14]
The Guardian3/5 stars[15]
NME8/10[16]
Pitchfork Media5.8/10[17]
PopMatters6/10 stars[18]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[19]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars[20]

The Fall received mixed to positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 67, based on 25 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[10] Praise was mainly focused on the album's unique qualities and experimental nature, with Rolling Stone stating that the album was "a wistfully spaced-out, subtly cheeky spin on the road-trip epic"[19] and NME calling it "quiet but ambitious".[8] However, some critics felt that it lacked the offerings of previous Gorillaz albums, with The Guardian stating that it was "oddly out of character" compared to Plastic Beach.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleRecordedLength
1."Phoner to Arizona"3 October, Montreal4:14
2."Revolving Doors"5 October, Boston3:26
3."Hillbilly Man"10 and 11 October, Camden and Fairfax3:50
4."Detroit"13 October, Detroit2:03
5."Shy-Town"15 October, Chicago2:54
6."Little Pink Plastic Bags"16 October, Chicago3:09
7."The Joplin Spider"18 October, Joplin3:22
8."The Parish of Space Dust"19 October, Houston2:25
9."The Snake in Dallas"20 October, Dallas2:11
10."Amarillo"23 October, Amarillo3:24
11."The Speak It Mountains"24 October, Denver2:14
12."Aspen Forest"25 October, Santa Fe and 3 November, Vancouver2:50
13."Bobby in Phoenix" (featuring Bobby Womack)26 October, Phoenix3:16
14."California and the Slipping of the Sun"30 October, Oakland3:24
15."Seattle Yodel"2 November, Seattle0:38
Total length:43:28

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the liner notes for The Fall.[2]

Musicians[edit]

  • Gorillaz – performance, writing
  • Bobby Womack - performance, writing, vocals, guitar (track 13)
  • Mick Jones - additional guitar (track 2)
  • Jesse Hackett - additional keyboards (track 6)
  • Paul Simonon - additional bass (track 12)
  • James R Grippo - additional qanun (track 12)

Technical[edit]

  • Gorillaz – production
  • Stephen Sedgwick – production, recording, mixing
  • Geoff Pesche – mastering
  • Zombie Flesh Eaters - artwork, design
  • Jamie Hewlett – artwork, design, photography
  • Mike Smith – photography, additional recording (track 11)
  • Seb Monk - photography
  • Oswald Lee Henderson - photography

Charts[edit]