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The Fall is the fourth studio album by English virtual band Gorillaz. It was first released on 25 December 2010 as part of a free download for members of the Sub Division fan club and commercially on 18 April 2011 in the United Kingdom by Parlophone and in the United States by Virgin Records, being later reissued by Warner Records.

The Fall peaked at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart and number 24 on the US Billboard 200, and received positive reviews from critics. Revolving Doors / Amarillo was released as a double-sided single from the album on 14 March 2011.

Background and Recording[]

The Fall was recorded on Damon Albarn's iPad over the span 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 that were used includes a qanun, a Korg vocoder, a ukulele, a microKORG, an Omnichord, a Minimoog Voyager, a melodica, a guitar, a piano and a Korg Monotron. 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."[1]

The album fewer guest artists than previous Goorillaz album; including Mick Jones, Jesse Hackett, Paul Simonon, James R Grippo and Bobby Womack. 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.[2]

The album was first announced on 20 December 2010 as a holiday gift to fans members of the Sub Division fan club.[3] 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.[4]

Virtual Band Backstory[]

In relation to the virtual band's story, the album was entirely written and mostly performed by 2-D all by himself during the US leg of the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour. The album's cover art depicts 2-D in a state of distress and restlessness while his clothes (his hat especially) appears to be visibly disheveled (as though he was forced to wear them).

In the fifth installmet of Murdoc's Pirate Radio show, 2-D described the process of making The Fall on tour and the meaning of the album:

It’s, uh, something I did on the, uh, iPad initially. (...) So, some of it was, uh, recorded in dressing rooms, some in the mountains, some in the back of the bus, going through all of the towns. (...) It’s more like a scrapbook with, some cuttin’s and sketches in, a diary! Yeah, it-it’s a tour diary, uh, I mean, someone’s said it’s like a sketchbook full of doodles you find lyin’ about on the pavement.

Later on, 2-D stated:

I guess it’s my love-letter to America. I used to be very baffled by this place, and I guess I still am in some ways; America confuses me enormously. I was thinking of calling the album October originally, but figured since Murdoc already stole one of U2’s live shows, I should probably stay away from nicking an album name also. Eventually settled on The Fall, fit with the time of year, and the overall feeling of where Gorillaz was going… it was Mark E. Smith who suggested it actually, although when I was asking for name ideas I think he just misheard me and thought I was asking what band he was from. When he first heard Plastic Beach he thought it was the Fall, his band I mean, not my album, so he thought our album was his album and that’s why I ended up calling my album in tribute to his albums.

Pressing[]

The album was originally pressed on vinyl on the 16th of April 2011 for Record Store DayW exclusively on the UK, with around 8000 copies being produced,[citation needed] each one individually numbered. It was later reissued on 13 April 2019 in a forest green translucent record, this time limited to 4500 copies, and then again a few months later on 17 July as a standard black vinyl record. The fourth pressing took place in early 2021, also in the form of a standard black record.

Track Listing[]

All songs written and composed by Damon Albarn

All Formats
No. TitleRecorded Length
1. 'Phoner To Arizona'  3 October, Montreal 4:14
2. 'Revolving Doors' (feat. Mick Jones)5 October, Boston 3:26
3. 'Hillbilly Man'  10 and 11 October, Camden and Fairfax 3:50
4. 'Detroit'  13 October, Detroit 2:03
5. 'Shy-Town'  15 October, Chicago 2:54
6. 'Little Pink Plastic Bags' (feat. Jesse Hackett)16 October, Chicago 3:09
7. 'The Joplin Spider'  18 October, Joplin 3:22
8. 'The Parish of Space Dust'  19 October, Houston 2:25
9. 'The Snake in Dallas'  20 October, Dallas 2:11
10. 'Amarillo'  23 October, Amarillo 3:24
11. 'The Speak It Mountains'  24 October, Denver 2:14
12. 'Aspen Forest' (feat. Paul Simonon and James R Grippo)25 October and 3 November, Santa Fe and Vancouver 2:50
13. 'Bobby in Phoenix' (feat. Bobby Womack)26 October, Phoenix 3:16
14. 'California and the Slipping of the Sun'  30 October, Oakland 3:24
15. 'Seattle Yodel' (feat. The Archie McPhee Yodelling Pickle)2 November, Seattle 0:38
Total length:
43:28

Personnel[]

Gorillaz[]

Musicians[]

  • Damon Albarn - vocals, synthesizers ("Revolving Doors", "Hillbilly Man", "Detroit", "Shy-Town", "Little Pink Plastic Bags", "The Joplin Spider", "The Parish of Space Dust", "The Snake in Dallas", "Amarillo", "The Speak It Mountains", "Bobby in Phoenix"), vocoder ("The Snake in Dallas", "Amarillo", "The Speak It Mountains"), piano, guitar, Omnichord, ukulele, melodica
  • Mick Jones - guitar ("Hillbilly Man", "Amarillo")
  • Jesse Hackett - keyboards ("Little Pink Plastic Bags")
  • Darren Evans - vocals ("The Joplin Spider")
  • Mike Smith - piano ("Aspen Forest")
  • Paul Simonon - bass ("Aspen Forest")
  • James R Grippo - qanun ("Aspen Forest")
  • Bobby Womack - vocals, guitar ("Bobby in Phoenix")

Technical[]

  • Damon Albarn - production, recording ("The Snake in Dallas", "Amarillo", "Bobby in Phoenix", "Seattle Yodel")
  • Stephen Sedgwick - production, recording, mixing
  • Geoff Pesche - mastering
  • Mike Smith - recording ("The Speak It Mountains")

Artwork[]

  • Jamie Hewlett - artwork, design, photography
  • Zombie Flesh Eaters - artwork, design
  • Mike Smith - photography
  • Seb Monk - photography
  • Oswald Lee Henderson - photography

Sample Credits[]

Gallery[]

TheFallDisc TheFallTextless TheFallBack
The full image gallery for The Fall may be viewed at The Fall/Gallery.

Trivia[]

  • The Fall is the only Gorillaz studio album not included in the G Collection.
    • It is also the only studio album to not have received its unique mix for the band's 20th anniversary.
  • The original Sub-Division release of the album included with it a Build-your-Copy PDF containing high quality digital images of the various contents of a CD for fans to print out and create their own "bootlegs" of the album, seeing as how it had not yet received a proper commercial physical release.
  • While not featuring any bonus tracks unlike previous releases, the Japanese version of the album includes 2 posters, a single-sided one with artwork and a double-sided one with a description of how the album was made on one side and a map of the American leg for the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour on the other.

References[]

  1. Sean Michaels. "Gorillaz to release new album free on Christmas Day", The Guardian, Guardian News and Media Limited 2010. London, 10 December 2010. Retrieved on 26 December 2010. 
  2. "NME News Damon Albarn enlists NERD's Pharrell Williams for new Gorillaz song". NME (25 November 2010). Retrieved on 27 February 2015.
  3. "Gorillaz : The Fall". News. gorillaz.com (20 December 2010). Retrieved on 25 December 2010.
  4. "Gorillaz – Phoner To Arizona". Gorillaz Youtube. YouTube (22 December 2010). Retrieved on 26 December 2010.

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