Gorillaz may have begun as a cartoon band, but their method of genre mixology (shaken, not stirred) has created some very real – yet very animated – musical moments. We’re taking a journey through the virtual group’s discography and ranking Gorillaz albums in order of awesomeness.

For the past 15-plus years, the only constant in Gorillaz’ musical universe has been Damon Albarn (who co-created the band with visual artist Jamie Hewlett). The Blur frontman serves as the ringmaster for Gorillaz’ records and tours, using the project as a playground for which to collaborate with his musical pals and idols. Although the characters still have their devotees, Gorillaz’ cartoon lineup of 2D, Murdoc, Russell and Noodle have become less important with every release.

Each of the band’s phases (to use Gorillaz parlance) shifts as a result of whom Albarn wants to play with. Dan the Automator, Del the Funk Homosapien and Kid Koala brought alt-rap enthusiasm to the debut. Danger Mouse, Simon Tong and guest spots by De La Soul, Ike Turner and Shaun Ryder broadened the project’s sound into Demon Days’ sinister widescreen tragedy. The Gorillaz universe expanded further with the richly textured Plastic Beach, as Albarn led the wild bunch of former Clash members, Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, Lou Reed and Mos Def.

Every time Gorillaz has a made a “major” album, they’ve followed it up with a supplemental release, including collections of b-sides and an entire record made on the road via an iPad. Although G Sides, D-Sides and The Fall each can be perceived as lesser, tossed-off records, all three have discovered new territory for Gorillaz to monkey around with, making them valuable additions (well, some more than others) to the group’s legacy. For that reason, we’ve included all three in this album ranking.

So before the ink fades, let’s jump into the Gorillaz dune buggy for a loop-de-loop joyride through the cartoon band’s incredible array of sounds. Don’t stop – get it, get it – and watch the way we navigate… through the Gorillaz catalog.