In 1998, Blur singer Damon Albarn and comics artist Jamie Hewlett, dissatisfied with the so-called MTV generation, decided to form a new kind of band.
There was too much emphasis on image over music, they felt, and, worse yet, young kids were being conditioned to focus on just a few genres at the expense of all others.
Albarn and Hewlett’s ambitious solution was to create a “virtual band” called Gorillaz, consisting of four cartoon characters representing various archetypes. Instead of traditional music videos, Gorillaz appeared in lovingly animated short films.
The band’s music encompassed a variety of genres, often bouncing from one style to another within the same track. Somehow this all caught on with the public and garnered critical acclaim and industry recognition as well—one of the little miracles of pop history.