For two decades, two men created and continued a project that would become a worldwide phenomenon. Though the idea to have animation mixed with music was already done, the two individuals I'm about to mention were able to take that idea, and successfully create the true virtual band. These two men are musician Damon Albarn (of Blur) and artist Jamie Hewlett (co-creator of Tank Girl), and this project was none other than the band Gorillaz.
In the late 90s, Albarn and Hewlett had the idea to create a virtual band that consisted of four cartoon characters designed by Hewlett that would perform the music created by Albarn. On November 27, 2000, Gorillaz would have the release of their first EP Tomorrow Comes Today, which contained some of the first songs of their self-titled debut album that would be released in March of the following year. Out of their first album, four of the songs became animated music videos, and the video that would make them big was their track "Clint Eastwood." After trying to attempt to make an animated film, the band would release their second album, Demon Days. This particular album would feature "Feel Good Inc.," which would be one of their most recognized songs from the last decade. Soon after, the band would release Plastic Beach, The Fall, Humanz, The Now Now, and (just recently) Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.
Since the first time I've seen the band's first three videos during a music video special on Cartoon Network (entitled Toonami: Special Edition) back in 2001, I became hooked on the band, and when Demon Days (my favorite out of the seven albums they released) came out in 2005, I could not stop listening to their mixture of different genres. The band ranged from rock and pop to hip-hop and electronica throughout the years, but the big thing I loved about the band was the music videos. When I saw the music video for "Clint Eastwood" for the first time, I fell in love with both the music and the visuals. Plus, the fact that the fictional cartoon band members have their own lore was pretty cool. I am so much of a fan that I own all seven of their major albums on vinyl, the DVDs filled with their music videos and other media (along with the Demon Days Live performance), and their book Rise of the Orge (which expands on the lore of the character up to the release of their "El Manana" single).
This year, Gorillaz started their audiovisual project entitled Song Machine, where they would release a new music video a month (along with the single on the digital market) before releasing it as an album like the aforementioned Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez album. It was already announced that they would be working on a Season Two for Song Machine, and they are also working on an animated film for Netflix.
As a fan of their work, I'm still glad that Gorillaz is still going on strong after 20 years, and I look forward to more of their music and projects in the future.