Release Date: Mar 18, 2008
Record label: Atlantic
It may be presumptuous to assume who plays slovenly Oscar to fastidious Felix in Gnarls Barkley. Still, this Odd Couple has proven surprisingly well-matched. After all, their pairing yielded a Grammy-winning debut, 2006’s St. Elsewhere, and the interplay between avant producer Danger Mouse and rapper/singer/Curtis Mayfield disciple Cee-Lo Green remains a gratifying alchemical achievement.
In a world where it's the norm to have a one-off collaboration between a producer and a rapper, something special has to happen to prompt a sequel. Of course, "Crazy" was all the prompting needed for Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse to rejuvenate Gnarls Barkley, their collaboration by mail that sparked the brightest and catchiest single since OutKast's "Hey Ya." But fans and critics have to understand that these two were exactly the types to walk away from a follow-up simply for the purpose of a cash-in, which makes that follow-up, The Odd Couple, such a strange proposition -- it's exactly like St. Elsewhere, and fails to reveal a single new thing.
Review Summary: Surprisingly mediocre despite more cohesive.Gnarls Barkley have become notorious for their costumes during live shows, photo shoots, and interviews. Among their acts are gladiators, airline crew members, tennis players, and famous characters from classic movies such as The Wizard of Oz and A Clockwork Orange. Often, they open with cover songs and change their name to fit their theme of the day.
The Summer of Love chorus ringing in "Surprise" has no bearing on the truth at hand: This Odd Couple is from the future, even if Gnarls Barkley's second LP comes littered with shades of the past. Evoking Nina Simone's "Four Women" tremble, Cee-Lo Green haunts the reverb-twinge of "Who's Gonna Save My Soul," confessing, "I got some bad news this morning, which in turn made my day." The Goodie Mob veteran keeps pace with his ganglier counterpart, "Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)," getting his freak on as a "Would Be Killer" over the loaded-up muscle lifted in Danger Mouse's gym, the site of some innovative work. "She Knows" dances Haight-Ashbury atop modern drum machines.
In the wake of their debut album, St. Elsewhere, the odds seemed good that Gnarls Barkley would end up a one-album phenomenon. This wasn’t for any evident lack of commitment to the project on the parts of deejay/producer Danger Mouse and emcee Cee-Lo, or because it sounded too insubstantial to carry on. Even before a single beat reached the street, the collaboration seemed to feed on the energy of two artists who would naturally be eager to tear on to the next experiment.
If you’re hoping Gnarls Barkley come up with another massive pop smash on their highly anticipated sophomore release, The Odd Couple, you must be crazy. If Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green could do Crazy more than once, they would’ve filled up their first disc, St. Elsewhere, with other equally memorable tunes rather than resorting to Violent Femmes covers.