Gorillaz is the hottest, most popular virtual band, and the group that popularised the concept. Their latest album, Plastic Beach, is a great selection of tunes which also encourages critical thinking about social problems.
Most of the songs feature multi-layered instrumentation, which at times can seem a little noisy, but the melodies and rhythms are almost always clear and easy to follow. There is a range of musical genres here, too, making it appealing to listeners of all tastes. The only conditions seem to be passion for life and aversion to government.
The best song on the album is Superfast Jellyfish, which opens with what sounds like a 1950s advert for a brunch restaurant. The funky beats are accompanied by lyrics about urban people with no spare time who rely on fast food in their fast lives.
White Flag is performed entirely in rap, which is a shame because the backing melody is really excellent. The lyrics promote peace, with the idea of no guns and no war. These ideas, of course, are more easily expressed in rap than song, so it was a good decision overall.
The album really makes you think about your place in the world. It's inspirational, and has some very important messages behind the virtual musicians.