AOTY 2023
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Critic Score
Based on 40 reviews
2010 Ratings: #36 / 924
Year End Rank: #17
User Score
2010 Ratings: #7
Liked by 1,344 people
Sign In to rate and review


Slant Magazine

To handpick highlights from Plastic Beach should be considered lofty praise indeed; this is an album where the mind-boggling and the mind-blowing are wall to wall. Its brilliance adopts many guises throughout its 16 tracks.

The Fly
A seamless coming together of artists, cultures and themes on a record by a band that doesn’t even exist; on ‘Plastic Beach’, Damon Albarn’s Midas touch is bordering on genius.

Its real strength lies in the fact that it implores you to return for repeated visits to a world riddled with other people’s cast-offs. Ironically, it recycles nothing; everything here is box fresh.

The Telegraph

This action-packed concept album finds the cartoon band on an isolated island constructed entirely of consumer detritus and exploring the melancholy beauty of mankind’s interaction with the natural world. It’s a great metaphor for the playful way Damon Albarn has built up the Gorillaz’ danceably eclectic sound from offcuts of hip hop, funk, alternative rock, pop, world and electronica.

Q Magazine

There was nothing like Demon Days before and there's been nothing like it since. Until now... Plastic Beach picks up several steps on from where its predecessor left off.

Spectrum Culture

If the band never create another record, it will stand as their masterpiece and a new paradigm of collaboration.

No Ripcord
The album is schizophrenic in it's assemblage of hollow, scrub-cleaned elements into deceptively evergreen tapestries.
Gorillaz may have originated as a way for Damon Albarn to sidestep the limelight, but on the cartoon group’s third album, “Plastic Beach,” he very much takes center stage.
Consequence of Sound

SThe Gorillaz are hanging out on what looks like the coolest Play Mobile set of an island I have ever seen and have created a record that is just as amazing as the previous two.

Beats Per Minute

This anything-goes approach makes Plastic Beach equally enjoyable on the surface level and rewarding of closer attention.

The Needle Drop

Plastic Beach's music and concept have aged scarily well over the years.


Ex-Blur frontman Damon Albarn ditches the idea of writing pop songs a cartoon band might front and makes one of his most gorgeous pop records in years.


He never panders to them; instead, Plastic Beach‘s guest vocals are anchored by Albarn’s own melodic flair. His falsettoed ennui shines through, and the songs are loaded with Albarn’s pet sounds.

Coke Machine Glow

Gorillaz’ third record, some sort of masterpiece within the band’s canon, and undoubtedly the best chillwave record ever recorded.

A.V. Club

Where Gorillaz and Demon Days often got bogged down in idle experimentation, Plastic Beach feels more urgent and less fiddly.

NOW Magazine

One might think the project would crumble under its own weight, but after a few listens it melds into a consistent parcel of didactic, retro/futuristic synth-pop ... It shouldn’t work, but it really does.

The Guardian
The cartoon character shtick may be tired, but Damon Albarn's other talents never fail to impress.
It displays a sonic ambition, an openmindedness and a melodic gift that puts so much modern pop to shame.
Drowned in Sound
Because past the pop songs, past the soaring (and let’s not make any bones about it, this album soars in places) this is a supremely clever album. I mean, who better to deliver a lecture on throwaway living than a Technicolor cartoon band?
God Is in the TV
Track by track, this album works brilliantly, with most songs successfully employing guest stars. Most impressive, however, is how cohesively the album plays, rolling from song to song; each being identifiable as trademark Gorillaz.

There’s no overwhelming track to break the flow of the album, Plastic Beach rolls along at an almost soothing pace and all the tracks on offer serve only to compliment each other.

The Independent

The most successful track is "Stylo", a Kraftwerkian electro-twitch on which the efforts of Albarn, Mos Def and the Bobby Womack impress.


Plastic Beach is the first Gorillaz album to play like a soundtrack to a cartoon -- which isn’t entirely a bad thing, because as Albarn grows as a composer, he’s a master of subtly shifting moods and intricately threaded allusions, often creating richly detailed collages that are miniature marvels.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Albarn doesn’t give us a “Clint Eastwood” or a “Dare” this time around, but in spite of a messy and patently artificial conceptual framework, Plastic Beach feels clean, shiny, and new.

Entertainment Weekly

Like its name, Plastic Beach has a sharp tang of cognitive dissonance — its songs sound like dispatches from a crew of hip-kid astronauts, unmoored in some space-dust ether ... In the end, Beach offers a vision of the future as digitized kitsch: groovy, yes, but lonely too.

Rolling Stone

Plastic Beach, Gorillaz's third excellent album in a row, is all Albarn — he writes the tunes, produces, sings, plays most of the music and gets people on the phone for left-field cameos.

An intoxicating cocktail of musical styles and pioneers, ‘Plastic Beach’ is instantly recognisable as a Gorillaz album despite, or perhaps because of, its scatter shot styles, contributors and voices.

Of the sixteen tracks at least seven are filler and with repeat performances, ‘Plastic Beach’ does feel a tad recycled towards the end; more Blackpool than Hawaii, it’s still an album full of brilliance from a bona fide British genius.


Complaints regarding Plastic Beach are minor, particularly considering its astounding ambitions. While not flawless in execution like Demon Days, Gorillaz’ third effort is, nonetheless, brilliant much more often than not.

Under the Radar
It’s a lot to take in, and the mind is not sure where to start.

We might not be sure who or what they are any more but we're sure about the tunes.


Fortunately, Plastic Beach‘s weaknesses are few and far between. Overall, while the album isn’t an artistic triumph or grand satirical gesture, it is an enjoyable ride and is the best place to start if you just want a taste of Albarn’s post-Blur musical prowess and Hewlett’s animation wizardry.


The music that wraps around the concept is never boring and much of it is excellent ... What's lacking is the nailed-on megatune--a "Clint Eastwood" or "Feel Good Inc"--that we've come to expect from a Gorillaz album.

The Skinny

Gorillaz' third album Plastic Beach is reminiscent because its impressive and wide-ranging cast list ... has gathered to grumble about consumption and pollution issues, and because the variety of guests has forced Damon Albarn into some dizzyingly eclectic styles.

FACT Magazine
There are treasures to be found here, but as an album, ‘Plastic Beach’ has too much filler to sustain your attention across its length.
The Sydney Morning Herald

Albarn just about pulls all of his ideas off on Plastic Beach, which is more than clever; it's impressive.

Record Collector

while very nice and, indeed, wonderful in places, Plastic Beach doesn’t quite keep us full either.

Evening Standard

The results are as weird, wonderful and frustrating as Gorillaz have ever been. There's some kind of vague eco-concept going on but it's so woolly as to be meaningless and while its running time is just 59 minutes, there's still too much filler padding out the final third.


While a few tracks on here don’t land nearly as well as they should, as a collective project, “Plastic Beach” is one of those albums that I grew up experiencing. I have a lot of nostalgia from many of the hits off of this album. Waves of that nostalgia really come back through songs like Melancholy Hill, Superfast Jellyfish, Stylo, Broken, and Rhinestone Eyes.

Amazingly though, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for this album, as many ... read more


A modern classic.



So, I don't know a lot of people personally who listen to Gorillaz and the few who do consider Demon Days their best album. I've always thought that that was weird. Are we listening to the same projects? Maybe it's personal bias, because this was the first LP I've heard from them, but this is their best in pretty much every aspect. It's their most sonically consistent project with the most interesting lyrics, features and production. It's danceable, but also ... read more


Every song is so different and unique, yet they are so similar you know immediately they’re from this record.


A fantastic album and my favourite Gorillaz album. There is so much to like about this record, the wide range of synths, the meaning (which only gains more relevance as time goes on) . I can play this record on loop, and it just gets better everytime

Favourite Track: Plastic Beach

Least favourite: Sweepstakes


A real journey, first time I heard this album I though people were just to delusional thinking that this was on the same level as demon days. but just one simple summer night, changed it all for me. Its just the matter of vibe.

Purchasing Plastic Beach from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.

Please stay on topic. To go off topic, head to the General Chat.

Sign in to comment