Pop Will Eat Itself: Gorillaz’ “Plastic Beach” as a Commentary on the Disposable Nature of Pop Music

“I’ve tried to get into the mainstream consciousness, which is not an easy thing to do these days because it is primarily a very disposable medium… pop will eat itself.” -Damon Albarn, Spinner interview “A Casio on a plastic beach” -Gorillaz, from “Plastic Beach” The imagery that is presented in the title track off of Gorillaz’ third studio album, Plastic Beach, is pretty blunt: there’s a disturbingly massive pile of crap that’s gathering in an ocean somewhere, and we’re to blame.  The lyrics may not explicitly make this connection, but how else can you account for a Styrofoam deep-sea landfill?  It’s a cynical, if not delightfully cheeky, reminder that our actions as humans have a profound impact on our environment. This, however, is not the only reading of either this track or this album taken as a whole.  As Damon Albarn (Gorillaz’ co-creator and musical mastermind, and former Blur frontman) imparted in an interview with Wired about Plastic Beach, “it has environmental thoughts scattered and peppered around every bit of this record.  But at the end of the day, it’s not just that.  It’s way more colourful than that.”  For Albarn, “plastic” isn’t simply symbolic of our wasteful tendencies as more »