The Odd Couple

Studio Album by released in 2008

The Odd Couple review

Gnarls Barkley adherent to utterly different musical traditions

Gnarls Barkley, the duo that two years ago conquered the whole world with one song only that was Crazy and then a debut album St. Elsewhere returns with an amazing sophomore effort The Odd Couple. On the one hand the album title reflects the duo's line-up, rapper and vocalist Cee-Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse are really different from each other in their appearance and seem to be adherent to utterly different musical traditions. On the other hand the songs on The Odd Couple are connected in their content with relationships and often there is a dialogue sounding in them or just two protagonists present, and it has nothing to do with romances or flirting but rather an attempt to understand oneself by means of understanding the essence of the relations and the counterpart. Besides the songs deal with the life's contradictions and in this case the odd is the pair of antonyms describing this or that state. Yet the texts are far from the most complicated of the unique record The Odd Couple components for Gnarls Barkley's music is unpredictable and endlessly many faceted and to feel it one listening only is evidently not enough.

Something personal for everyone on The Odd Couple

As on the debut album the production from Danger Mouse amazes with the variety of beats, combinations of vocal samples and sophisticated instruments with an addition of seemingly out-of-place rude clanking and rumbling sounds of unknown origin. Against all this background Cee-Lo Green's vocals intone wonderfully beautiful and complicated melodies dwelling on most delicate questions due to which the whole album is able to make even the listeners with solid nerves feel moved or worried. There are tracks on The Odd Couple that at first must be got used to before they open all their nuances for they may offer a mixture of a little of everything from dance beats to rustling and choir samples, a bright example is a very complex and tense single Run (I'm A Natural Disaster). Tracks Open Book, built simultaneously on a dance beat with disco elements, tubes, with a splendid chorus and Going On starting with a surprisingly beautiful ethnic singing and abruptly turning into an energetic rebuff, then once again conquering with an inspired retreat filled with the spirit of African motifs are remarkable for being melodious and optimistic. On the contrary several songs are united by vulnerability and despair, for instance a beautiful frank composition Who's Gonna Save My Soul and the final track A Little Better yet not devoid of hope. Relations with the others and oneself is the main topic of such songs as Charity Case about helping oneself by helping others, Whatever about independence, the exploring of psychics on Would Be Killer, She Knows about the delicacies of relations and philosophic compositions Blind Mary and Neighbors. Yet certainly on each track the listeners will find something personal for them for it is never worth while expecting definiteness from Gnarls Barkley.

Music that is really second to none

Amazingly deep thoughts and knowing of life in the lyrics on The Odd Couple amaze and inspire. The 13 short tracks manage to produce the strongest impression music is able to produce at all. It goes without saying all these factors are not left without attention, and the duo has already won a lot of awards for its first album including MTV's European Music Awards in 2006 for song Crazy and two Gammy awards for the song and the album. On its new creation tandem Gnarls Barkley has once again allowed oneself to widen the frames of a usual idea of music canceling the usual classifications and creates music that is really second to none. It is hard to say for sure what on The Odd Couple awakes stronger emotions. Perhaps it is Cee-Lo Green's vocals able to make desperate shouts and lulling purring and tough raged statements. Probably it is Danger Mouse's talent that plays the leading part letting him to turn each track into a masterpiece. One thing is clear – the more one listens to the record the closer all the thoughts and feelings expressed in it become and it makes Gnarls Barkley's sophomore effort a faultless one.