Gnarls Barkley Try To Navigate A Post-“Crazy” World

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ARTIST: Gnarls BarkleyTITLE: The Odd CoupleWEB DEBUT: Mar. 4, 2008

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: About a month ahead of release date, the second Gnarls Barkley disc hit the Internet, albeit with mislabeled tracks (at least, the version I saw). Nonetheless, you have to feel for Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse a bit, living under the spectre of “Crazy,” one of the most memorable genre-busting singles in decades Sure, there were other singles from St. Elsewhere, but it’s difficult to listen to The Odd Couple without waiting for a perfect pop moment that never arrives. The disc is fine and throughly listenable, and Cee-Lo will likely always be one of pop music’s most interesting vocalists, but there’s not too much to hang your hat on. Danger Mouse’s production is more atmospheric than engaging at times, with lush keyboards floating in the distance and breakbeats that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Roni Size disc, and a number of tracks (like “Whatever”) seem to nod towards a skewed view of ’60s pop that never seems to catch on. But overall, there’s not much to rave or complain about; The Odd Couple is pretty good, but it will probably disappear somewhere into the back of my mind until its tracks start re-appearing in every commercial I see.

THE BEST TRACK: The temptation is there to say “Run,” but let’s go with “A Little Better,” which sounds a little like a lost “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”-era Temptations outtake, even in lyrical content. Mostly, it made me happy to hear Cee-Lo shout out “the friendly ghost,” and it’s nice to hear Casper get his props.