Gnarls Barkley
St. Elsewhere


4.5
superb

Review

by Miguel Walter USER (20 Reviews)
May 19th, 2006 | 20 replies | 2,989 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

When Danger Mouse became the oh-so-hip producer of the moment in 2004 after mashing up the Beatles and Jay-Z, he could have abandoned the loose, anything-goes beats that made Ghetto Pop Life with Jemini such a blast and cashed in by repeating the formula. (Weezer's self-titled "Blue Album" mixed with Metallica's self-titled "Black Album", anybody? You know you want to hear Rivers singing about how safe he feels in his garage over the "Nothing Else Matters"? string section!)

Instead, since (sort of) becoming a household name, Danger Mouse has given us the mostly excellent Mouse and the Mask with MF Doom, production on the better-than-expected Demon Days and a killer track on personal journalist Sage Francis' A Healthy Distrust.

But he ain't done yet, folks. Now we have St. Elsewhere, the first release from Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green, a.k.a. Gnarls Barkley, and it's another reason to thank the heavens that DM didn't get too caught up in his own hype.

St. Elsewhere is a fun-as-hell rollercoaster ride. As he always has, Danger Mouse delivers, but his beats are much more alive than they were on The Mouse and the Mask, which sounded more like just another MF Doom album than an actual collaboration. Here, Cee-Lo is the front man, and he's in full soul-singing mode, but Danger Mouse seems to be in complete control. After all, do you really think it was the soul machine's idea to cover the Violent Femmes? Of course not, but they do, and it somehow works.

Cee-Lo delivers don't get me wrong. This is far from a one-man show. On tracks such as "Go-Go Gadget Gospel" and "Transformer,"? Green screams and shrieks like only a man of that size really can. And his delivery on "Smiley Faces"? will remind listeners of the good ol' days of Motown, but it doesn't sound at all derivative.

Cee-Lo's lyrics also shine throughout St. Elsewhere. "The Boogie Monster,"? for instance, is predictable throughout, but ends on a comical note that saves the track from its own seriousness: "I've got a monster in my closet, someone's underneath my bed / Only thing that'll bring me back alive, woman, is some good, good head."

And "Necromancer,"? a tongue-in-cheek ode to necrophilia, features the great line, "She was cool when I met her / But I think I like her better dead."?

And then we have "Crazy,"? the single that was No. 1 in the UK from download sales alone. St. Elsewhere is to The Love Below what "Crazy"? is to "Hey Ya." Great groove? Check. Catchy hook? Check. So overplayed we'll get tired of it just weeks after worshipping it? Probably! But until then, I can't get enough. And, hell, anything that allows my girlfriend to tolerate hip-hop enough so that I can listen to it withohut her rolling her eyes is a plus.

Overall, St. Elsewhere is more fun than any album made by a rapper that doesn't rap and a producer that doesn't show off has any right to be. Hard to predict and even harder to put down, it may well go down as the pop album of 2006.

Of course, much like Gnarls Barkley's namesake will always be chastised for never winning an NBA Championship, Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse will likely catch their fair share of grief for not living up to everyone's expectations with St. Elsewhere. But haters that give it a fair chance will likely come around soon enough.

The Round Mound of Rebound himself would be proud.



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user ratings (571)
Chart.
3.7
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2006



15727 Comments


Crazy's hot, but as for the album, never heard it.

The review could've been a bit better.This Message Edited On 05.19.06

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Dimes Make Dollars
May 19th 2006



241 Comments


Not a bad review, except you don't really discuss what the album sounds like.

The Jungler
May 20th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty solid review, love the album. I had a review of this goin' for a while but dumped the idea when Iai put out his.
I was wonderin' if Gnarls was named after Charles Barkley, someone told me they weren't, but thanks for clearing that up.

STLMiguel
May 20th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I guess they could NOT be named after Charles Barkley, but it seems very unlikely.

Long live Sir Charles!

Sepstrup
June 9th 2006



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Charles Barkley has stated that he was very proud and honored that they named themselves after him.

Storm In A Teacup
June 9th 2006



12687 Comments


[quote=review]When Danger Mouse became the oh-so-hip producer of the moment in 2004 after mashing up the Beatles and Jay-Z[/quote]:eek:!?!?!

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What? The oh-so-overhyped Grey Album?

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
June 9th 2006



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What? The oh-so-overhyped Grey Album?

Overhyped, but not oh-so. :p

What I like most about it is the way DJ Danger Mouse was resilient in releasing the album, despite The Beatles Record label threatening him like hound dogs.

Oh yeah, and Gnarls Barkley is finally getting released this Monday over here in New Zealand. I'll be heading down as soon as possible on Monday.This Message Edited On 06.09.06

Storm In A Teacup
June 9th 2006



12687 Comments


I don't know about this. Is it any good?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's good, but it isn't as orgasm-worthy as people make it out to be. It's worth a listen.

Storm In A Teacup
June 9th 2006



12687 Comments


I doubt I can get in somewhere such as Best Buy. I'd be interesting to hear it so I should at least look.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think it was released for free online. So doing p2p would be fine and dandy I'd think, I'm pretty sure it was never commercially released, as that would assuredly mean royalty fee's out the

Storm In A Teacup
June 9th 2006



12687 Comments


I'll look for it.
to stay on topic =p
"Crazy" is awesome enough for me to soon buy this.

Syncratic
July 27th 2006



756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album....which track on "A Healthy Distrust" is Danger Mouse on?

Two-Headed Boy
July 27th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Paris Hilton is recording a cover of "Crazy" as we speak.

The Jungler
July 27th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh, that is awesome.

I'm sure Nelly Furtado's version is better.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 27th 2006



721 Comments


[quote=poopz]I doubt I can get in somewhere such as Best Buy. I'd be interesting to hear it so I should at least look.[/quote] I got it at FYE.

The Jungler
July 27th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's illegal though...

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 27th 2006



721 Comments


Oh snap nevermind.

Just realized we were talking about Danger Mouse.

Syncratic
July 27th 2006



756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I personally want to hear Ray LaMontange's version...that'd be cool.



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