Release Date: May 9, 2006
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Indie, Rap, R&B
Who is Gnarls Barkley, and how did he ascend to the top of the British charts with a song that brings an eerie clarity to the cloud of mental illness? (Hint: It wasn't just the fact that Britain began factoring download data into its chart equations.) If St. Elsewhere sounds like one of the best rap-based pop productions since the second Gorillaz album, then look no further than the common link, producer Danger Mouse. And if the vocal performances are twisted with the type of unbalanced wisdom not seen in pop music since Sly Stone (or at least OutKast), credit Cee-Lo Green, the former Goodie Mob seer/sage/freak.
For someone who doesn't actually exist, Gnarls Barkley has been remarkably omnipresent in the British media over the past few weeks. He is responsible for Crazy, the first single ever to make it to number one in Britain on the strength of download sales alone. That story has overshadowed his heroically outlandish biography, which claims that Barkley is the penpal not merely of Lester Bangs, the long-deceased rock critic responsible for appropriating the phrase punk rock, but also soul man Isaac Hayes and Gordon Gano, vocalist with ramshackle acoustic trio the Violent Femmes.
Gnarls Barkley :: St. ElsewhereAtlantic RecordsAuthor: Pedro 'DJ Complejo' HernandezGnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere" is the first CD I've come across that is equipped with a unique watermarking system that allows the tracing of any individual MP3 ripped from a given copy to the individual the promo copy was sent to. While I wasn't going to mention the watermarking system initially, things happened that made me change my mind.
“If you’re wonderin’ what it look like, look at me…” And with that warning, we’re off and running through the streets of St. Elsewhere, the first full-length collaboration between Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo, collectively known as Gnarls Barkley. Gnarls waste no time getting right down to it, as “Go-Go Gadget Gospel” starts out their long player with a resounding splash of color.