This is the title track of virtual band Gorillaz's third studio album. The band is a creation of Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl.
Hewlett and Albarn created a brand new story for the record. Hewlett explained: "The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a Plastic Beach HQ, made up of the detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This Plastic Beach is the furthest point from any landmass on Earth; the most deserted spot on the planet."
Damon Albarn enlisted for this track Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash for their first recorded performance together in many years. Albarn and Simonon previously collaborated on The Good, the Bad and the Queen. Murdoc explained how the collaboration came about. "Well, I had commandeered Paul Simonon from the Good, The Bad And The Queen. And it made sense.
Gorillaz were always influenced by The Clash. They were always my favorite band, I loved how they took the heart and soul of punk and reggae smeared it in London graffiti and paint and then sailed it round the world. I don't think that's a million miles from what Gorillaz do now."
Jones recalled to Q magazine March 2010: "I ummed and ahh-ed mhen I was approached, as I always do, but it seemed interesting and contemporary and I was keen to work with Paul Simonon. I like the idea of a cartoon band. I liked the Beatles cartoons when they were on. The Jackson 5 had one, too. There was never an offer for a Clash cartoon, funnily enough.
Our song's the title track. What's it sound like? It's like an island continent, a plastic beach, maybe, with some submarine sounds. And I know that's not a recognized genre of music.
It's a few years since Paul and I last played together, and that was at a wedding. It was a nice experience to look over my shoulder and see him. We didn't argue as much as we used to. We were wrapped up on our track in a day, no nonsense, and then went down the pub for a pint."
During the recording of Plastic Beach, Albarn discussed the project with The Guardian. He said: "I'm making this album the most pop record I've ever made in many ways, but [using] all my experience [so] to present something with some depth to it. I've tried to connect pop sensibility with trying to make people understand the essential melancholy of buying a ready-made meal in loads of plastic packaging. People who watch X-Factor might have some emotional connection to these things, that detritus that accompanies what seems the most essential thing in people's lives these days, the celebrity, the voyeurism."
Damon Albarn revealed the inspiration for the title when he told Q magazine: "I'd been recording seagulls down on the beach next to my house in Devon. That's where I got the idea for 'Plastic Beach.' I was just looking for all the plastic within the sand."