“The Odd Couple” by Gnarls Barkley

Album: The Odd Couple
Artist: Gnarls Barkley

Back in 2005, a little ditty known as “Crazy” hit the airwaves, sweeping the world off it’s feet with it’s catchy beat, addictive chorus, and soulful sound. The duo behind this was the tag team of Vocalist Cee-Lo Green and Multi-Instrumentalist/Producer Danger Mouse. Their debut album, St. Elsewhere, was filled with many feel-good tunes such as “Smiley Faces”, “Go-Go Gadget Gospel”, and “Transformer”. But it also had a dark side, with songs such as “The Boogie Monster”, “St. Elsewhere”, and “Necromancer”. While the album was well received, some people seem to have thought that Gnarls Barkley was done after the phenomenal first album.

Well those people were wrong.

“The Odd Couple” starts off the same way as it’s predecessor does, with the warming up of a projection machine. From there, the blast from the past begins again. The album is full of Soul and Motown influences, Cee-Lo’s voice carrying the listener into a sort of healing process while Danger Mouse’s instrumentation cleanses the soul and refreshes the body. The songs also jump around, not focusing on one thing just as St. Elsewhere had done. But Odd Couple does not try to copy the debut album, rather it attempts to hold it’s own identity.

The first song, “Charity Case” warms up and then enters with a bumpin bass line, with Cee-Lo singing to a robotic female counterpart. “Who’s gonna save my soul?” takes things down with a slower pace and a more blues-y approach. “Going On” lifts the listener high up into the clouds with a powerful ambiance caused by the church organ and the message of a man who is saying goodbye to everything he knows and loves as he leaves this world. “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)” fades in with frantic energy that bounces up and down and gets the body moving, A perfect song for the first single off of the album. “Would be Killer” starts off with cheesy video game gun reload sounds, and maintains a molasses slow beat while taunting the listener with the promise of harm. The song stops abruptly and gives way to the jungle sound and strangely timed beat of “Open Book”.

“Whatever” tells the tale of someone who’s life is not exactly a piece of cake to a catchy beat. “Surprise” busts out the choir to open up as it morphs into a Spanish inspired piece where Cee-Lo tries to remind you of things you cannot stop and asks that you not be surprised when they come. “No Time Soon” sings a sorrowful goodbye to a lost love. “She Knows” seems to suggest a love gone sour, perhaps due to his unfaithfulness. “Blind Mary” starts off with a warble-y retro keyboard that sounds aged and straight out of a 70’s era recording and has a feeling of an early Beatles song as the song progresses. “Neighbors” tells the tale of a crazy neighbor who covets Cee-Lo’s belongings and tries to become Cee-Lo. The album closer, “A little Better” winds the energy down with what feels like an acknowledgment from the group that they have gone through the healing that you have as you progressed through the album, and the projector then slowly clicks to a halt.

What it all boils down to: Clocking in at around 44 minutes long, the journey is a short and sweet one that is full of energy even in it’s slowest, lowest moments. This is a different beast than St. Elsewhere, which is a relief to hear as they didn’t attempt to do another one. While the songs may not be as instantly catchy as the debut, they grow on you and soon you will find yourself howling along with Cee-Lo expelling the demons inside of you. It is hard to say if fans of the debut will enjoy this album as much but there is no doubt that the quality of that album is upheld here, just used in a different way. An excellent album to welcome the spring in with, as the cold half of March melts away just as the darkness in your soul will melt away with the help of Cee-Lo, Danger Mouse, and “The Odd Couple.”

The album is available now on iTunes and Amazon.com’s mp3 store, with the CD being released on March 25th.

Gnarls Barkley’s Official Website.

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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