Gnarls Barkley – [Album]

Friday, 25 April 2008

“Crazy” is still the best and worst thing to have happened to Gnarls Barkley. A smash hit two summers ago, the single made it possible for vast audiences to simply ignore any of the other songs on the Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse’s debut L.P., St. Elsewhere. At concerts, thousands would wait around for the whole set, just to hear the words, “I remember when, I remember when I lost my mind.”

I always thought this was a shame, as I thoroughly enjoyed the ingenuity and clever lyrics that went into St. Elsewhere. A lot of risks were taken on the album, and through a series of off-kilter beats and sharp lyrics, Gnarls Barkley had achieved a sound unlike any other. Therein lies the problem with The Odd Couple—a collection of skillfully crafted tracks that really seem more like an extension of the group’s first L.P., as opposed to a new record. And the silly thing is, if these albums had come out in reverse order, I’d probably feel the same about that record bearing the song “Crazy."

That’s not to say that The Odd Couple isn’t worth a few spins. Cee-Lo flexes his lyrical muscle once again, and Danger Mouse finds the time to craft some clever beats in between some noteworthy side projects (Beck, The Black Keys, etc.). I’ve listened to the album front to back quite a few times, and there’s nary a song I had to skip while trying not to hit things on the road.

Weaving an epic guitar riff between a couple of soliloquies in “Going On," DM puts together a food stomping beat that rivals that of the single that we shall no longer mention. Instead, the first actual single of the album, “Run," came complete with a video said to give kids seizures. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I did not experience a similar side effect.

The Odd Couple is not the groundbreaking album that preceded it, but is another well-crafted piece by two of the more experimental artists in the rap and r & b game. As a whole, this record is a more focused attempt, which is why it will probably suffer in music reviews as well as album sells. It’s a shame really. But, if you can look past what really amounts to a couple of popularity contests, then you might enjoy this new Gnarls Barkley effort.

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