13 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The odd couple here isn’t the pairing of producer Danger Mouse and his soul singing sidekick Cee-Lo; they work together in perfect concert. No, it’s the yin-yang of retro-futuristic grooves keeping things in flux and in question that’s the odd coupling maintaining Gnarls Barkley as an intriguing enterprise. The duo can never recreate the element of surprise that ignited their debut 2006’s St. Elsewhere, but they do apply an accomplished level of craft and knowing musical cues to their eclectic mixes. “Who’s Going to Save My Soul” evokes the early-‘70s Philly soul that comes with such a title. But “Going On” and “A Little Better” traverse the galaxies, tapping into space with kinetic beats that slow as they ground to earth. The album’s first single, “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster),” steps up the beats per minute to elicit an extra burst of excitement but the sedately-paced “Would-Be Killer” and “Open Book” are every bit as alluring and satisfying. Throw in the ‘60s pop undertow of “Whatever,” “Surprise” and “Blind Mary” and it’s clear Gnarls Barkley are interested in spanning history as much as writing a new chapter.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The odd couple here isn’t the pairing of producer Danger Mouse and his soul singing sidekick Cee-Lo; they work together in perfect concert. No, it’s the yin-yang of retro-futuristic grooves keeping things in flux and in question that’s the odd coupling maintaining Gnarls Barkley as an intriguing enterprise. The duo can never recreate the element of surprise that ignited their debut 2006’s St. Elsewhere, but they do apply an accomplished level of craft and knowing musical cues to their eclectic mixes. “Who’s Going to Save My Soul” evokes the early-‘70s Philly soul that comes with such a title. But “Going On” and “A Little Better” traverse the galaxies, tapping into space with kinetic beats that slow as they ground to earth. The album’s first single, “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster),” steps up the beats per minute to elicit an extra burst of excitement but the sedately-paced “Would-Be Killer” and “Open Book” are every bit as alluring and satisfying. Throw in the ‘60s pop undertow of “Whatever,” “Surprise” and “Blind Mary” and it’s clear Gnarls Barkley are interested in spanning history as much as writing a new chapter.

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About Gnarls Barkley

The Gnarls Barkley collaboration didn't bring producer Danger Mouse to the top of the British charts for the first time, but it did mark his debut as the pilot of a hit record. Mouse, born Brian Burton, first gained the ears of discriminating listeners when he concocted The Grey Album, a bootleg that mashed the vocals from The Black Album by Jay-Z with music samples courtesy of The White Album by EMI flagship the Beatles. Although the label posted a cease-and-desist order, one of their employees, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, was one of the impressed, and he hired Burton to create the beats for the second Gorillaz album, Demon Days.

Just one year later, Danger Mouse was back in the charts with another collaboration project, Gnarls Barkley, with singer Cee-Lo Green (a solo artist and former member of Atlanta's Goodie Mob). The pair had met in Atlanta in the late '90s, and began recording together around the time of a 2003 DM record titled Ghetto Pop Life. A few recordings were passed around and played by many associated with the pair, and eventually one of the leaked tracks, "Crazy," became a hot property for the download market. It became the first single vaulted to the top of the British charts by digital distribution, and the resulting album, St. Elsewhere, peaked at number one on the album charts. A follow-up was not long in coming; The Odd Couple dropped in early 2008. ~ John Bush

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