The Albums: Gorillaz (2001), Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010)
Spurred by a quirky, animated video and a single that sounded like little else in the marketplace, Damon Albarn's brainchild the Gorillaz turned genre-bending, fringe-loving music into major pop success at the start of the new millennium. On the “group's” self-titled debut, Albarn enlisted the help of production mastermind Dan the Automator and a wide array of collaborating artists to help bring cinematic scope and hip-hop backbone to the Blur singer's left-of-center pop sensibilities. Sophomore effort Demon Days continued the single-producer approach, calling on then-emerging maestro Danger Mouse and a roster of intriguing feature performers to help create an even more eclectic set of sounds, delving into a uniquely organic blend of electronic influences. Third album Plastic Beach showcased Albarn's most sprawling vision yet, with Albarn primarily handling production duties and enlisting a dizzying array of different guests including Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, Mick Jones, Little Dragon, and the late Lou Reed; in typical Gorillaz fashion, it all comes together.