The virtual band Gorillaz came into existence in 1998 at a time when English creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlitt grew increasingly tired and frustrated about the quality of music played on MTV. Fourteen years later, the four animated members — 2D, Noodle, Russell and Murdoc — now make up one of the most creative, ambitious and popular musical projects ever created.
Over the years, Albarn has successfully combined elements from different genres to create a distinctive style that straddles rock, hip hop, dub and pop music — the band’s current instrumental lineup (used for live performances) features two original members from punk legends The Clash. The Singles Collection 2001–2011 testifies to this unique style.
Devoted fans of the band might be disappointed by the fact that this album contains nothing new, but it is still a great compilation of the band’s most significant work. Given the wide range of music found in any Gorillaz album, selecting a handful of hit songs out of four albums is an arduous task, and some fans will be let down by the exclusion of certain tracks. The absence of any tracks from 2010’s The Fall is also a major disappointment. Ultimately, though, The Singles Collection 2001–2011 is an introductory compilation worth owning for diehard fan and novice alike.