‘St. Elsewhere’ by Gnarles Barkley

Davide Agazzi
July 27, 2006

Well guys, what do we have here? hip pop music? Exactly, and it never sounded so good. Gnarls Barkley is the newest invention of production genius Dangermouse who, during the last three or four years, has become one of the world’s most sought after producers. On the other end of the record, we have Cee-lo Green who reinvented himself as a soul singer after the short-lived experience with Dirty South rappers Goodie Mob. The mix of the two is bliss. The record opens up with the song called Go-go gadget gospel (let’s not forget that Dangermouse is a huge comics fan as we can easily see from his previous effort The Mouse and the Mask, his 2005 collabo with MC Mf Doom) which is just a simple intro that leads to Crazy, the inescapable single that all of you probably heard played a hundred times a day. This record is all about the magic sampling trickery of Dangermouse and the soulful voice of Cee-lo who is now free to let his personality come out without all the limitations that he had when he was part of Goodie Mob (he was basically singing the hooks!). The stand-out tracks of the record are: Crazy, Gone Daddy Gone (which is likely to become the next single), the creepy The Boogie Monster and the poppy Who cares. All the record proceeds smoothly and when Cee-Lo runs out of ideas, Dangermouse comes in with some new produc-tion tricks. ‘St. Elsewhere’ runs around 45 minutes—and you know what? It’s just perfect, no fillers, just pure good music ready to be played on your stereo that’s eager to be put on ‘repeat’. This is the kind of record that, once in your stereo, it’s very hard to be replaced by another one. Seriously, the album is that good; the production of the platter is perfect and the two hip hop heads match perfectly. Checking the liner notes we find out that Dangermouse definitely has a love for Italian 60’s music, especially soundtracks, since he has sampled a lot of them in several songs throughout the album, ranging from Nino Nardini to master Armando Trovaioli (author of ‘Sessomatto’ a real classic in Italian soundtracks).I’d say that this record is one of the best things that happened to hip hop recently. Since hip hop music is now POP music (no matter what all the ‘gangstas’ have to say) this is a breath of fresh air that replaces all of the clichés of mainstream hip hop with soulful abstract lyrics and an independent-like production. Easily one of the best hip hop records of 2006. Very, very recommended. Go get it. Now. And remember.. save the vinyl!!!

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