Plastic Beach is the third studio album by English virtual band Gorillaz, released 3 March 2010 on Parlophone and Virgin Records. Conceived from an unfinished Gorillaz project called Carousel, the album was recorded during June 2008 to November 2009 and produced primarily by group co-creator Damon Albarn. It features guest appearances by several artists, including Snoop Dogg, Gruff Rhys, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Primarily a pop album, Plastic Beach contains lyrics concerning consumerism and ecology-related themes.
Creators of Gorillaz, musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, began working on a new Gorillaz project in November 2007 called Carousel, which evolved into Plastic Beach, the group's third studio album. In the November 2007 issue of Q, when asked what his top priority for 2008 was, Damon Albarn replied "Well, I'm doing the next Gorillaz thing, but it won't be called Gorillaz." In the February 2008 Gorillaz-Unofficial interview, Jamie Hewlett elaborated on this, saying "I think the idea behind it is that it's like how The Who presented their movies – Tommy and Quadrophenia and so on. Those were presented as by 'The Who' even though none of the members of the band were in the movies. I don't think anyone from The Who was in Quadrophenia. But it's the same people working on it, that's the principle." In a July 2008 interview with The Observer he also said, "Gorillaz now to us is not like four animated characters any more — it's more like an organisation of people doing new projects. That's my ideal model — Gorillaz is a group of people who gave you this, and now want to give you new stuff."
In the Observer interview, Hewlett said that there is "a new project which Damon and I are working on now, called Carousel, which is even bigger and more difficult than Monkey, and it isn't going to fit anywhere and no one's going to like it, ha ha ha! We've started work — I've done a lot of visuals and Damon's done a lot of music but we haven't figured out how they're going to fit together. I can't say much about it yet but it's sort of like a film, but not with one narrative story. There's many stories, told around a bigger story, set to music, and done in live action, animation, all different styles, well… originally it was a film but now we think it's a film and it's a stage thing as well and… look, it's basically us doing what the fuck we want without worrying about whether it's for a record company or a film company or whatever. So I'm not sure how it'll pan out, or even if it will happen. But Damon's written around 70 songs for it, and I've got great plans for the visuals, but right now, at this moment, it's still just a really good idea." Carousel was to be about the mystical aspects of Britain.
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