Gnarls Barkley

The Odd Couple
Atlantic

We expect a lot from our crossover pop stars nowadays, even from a duo as inspired as Gnarls Barkley, aka DJ Danger Mouse, and Cee-Lo Green. We expect guilt-free-yet-radio-worthy earworms like "Crazy," not to mention genuine pathos, both of which the act somehow managed to deliver on its debut, St. Elsewhere. By these standards, The Odd Couple does not entirely succeed. Catchy songs such as "Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)" and "Going On" aren't especially introspective, while introspective tracks like "Whatever" and "She Knows" lack St. Elsewhere's improvised feel. Even so, The Odd Couple is a well-crafted, consistent album that should get better with age. Cee-Lo's manic-depressive shtick is strangely endearing, and Danger Mouse effortlessly mines '60s and '70s Top 40 and soul samples while throwing wildly inventive beats into the mix, as on "Blind Mary" and "Open Book." Overall, the album maintains an avant-garde sensibility that, yes, still works as pop.

 
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