Ten years seems to be the mandatory length of time that a band must be in existence in order to release a greatest hits compilation, that or multiples released as three disc epics. Now it appears to be the turn of the Gorillaz to release their own artist statement of sorts 'The Singles Collection 2001-2011'. The result is somewhat brilliant as at is worrying that the last decade has flown past so quickly; Damon Albarn and company's eclectic side project is arguably one of the strangest eccentricities of the music world, a definition that lends well to consolidation.
Like Spinal Tap before them and the Munkees before that Gorillaz are a fictional band, a meta-pastiche of the music industry if you will. Yet unlike the aforementioned they are the first to exist solely as animated creations, complete with a surreal back story explored through the music videos, games and pieces on the band's website. There is an extensive lore that lies behind the band, comprised of the fictional characters of 2-D, Russel, Murdoc and Noodle, each a unique parody of a particular denomination of the music industry. Drawn by the 'Tank Girl' artist Jamie Hewlett they are as much a musical phenomenon as a visual and literary one, as such the DVD packaged alongside the album is a great accompaniment to the compilation, dictating in full the Gorillaz timeline in a music video format. An additional inclusion of live recordings from the infamous Brit Awards and Roundhouse performances serve only to complete an extremely well rounded package.
But what about the music? Well as we all know by now Damon Albarn (the only full time member of the band) has never been one to play conventions, easily matching the imagination given to the band's look and story in his songwriting. The entire decade of singles laid side by side acts as a testament to this, truly displaying how remarkably eclectic the Gorillaz really are in fusing elements from as many genres as the mind can fathom. Ranging from the hip-hop infused 'Feel Good inc.' and 'Clint Eastwood' all the way to the ambience of 'Tomorrow Comes Today' and 'El Manana', the roster of compositions is truly a marvel to behold, both pop genius and progressive experimentation. Additional highlights are present with the inclusion of the Souldchild and Ed Case/Sweet Irie remixes that have been smashing dance-floors for a good long while.
The only real issue to be raised with collections is the problem of perhaps initially owning the tracks prior to the release, however the DVD alone almost makes the purchase worth it. Also if you haven't yet delved into the world of Gorillaz 'The Singles Collection 2001-2011' is an album that you most certainly should endeavor to add to your collection, being an amalgamation that is an inherently impressive achievment. Roll on the next ten years, hopefully they won't go by quite so quickly...