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153 of 163 found the following review helpful:
Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse's album puts a smile on your face and keeps it there May 09, 2006
Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse's album is an album that I have been looking forward to for a while, and it was definitely worth the wait. While it is not the style that I expected, it is every bit as good in quality as I could have hoped for. I have been a fan of Cee-Lo's entire career, from his days as a street poet in the Goodie Mob to his soulful solo albums, and I have thoroughly enjoyed Danger Mouse's production on the Danger Doom collaboration with MF Doom and his other works with Gorillaz. In a collaboration between the two, I expected solid and original hip hop production and Cee-Lo's signature fusion of rap and soul. As soon as I popped "St. Elsewhere" into the player, I was blown away. No song is ever worth skipping, and the production fits the singing perfectly. It is hard to nail a genre to Gnarls Barkley. Cee-Lo's happy and silly singing is close to soul spanning over many generations, and Danger Mouse's intricate and many layered beats are reminiscent of soul, funk, jazz, rap, and rock at various times. He serves as an entire band for the singer. Cee-Lo fans expecting his street-conscious rap lyrics of the past will not find them here, but will instead be fulfilled with very funny, soulful, deep, and great lyrics sung in his high yet raspy voice. "St. Elsewhere" is an album that will appeal to many different types of listeners, and I'm sure both Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse will increase their audience here. Both of their huge efforts are evident. "St. Elsewhere" is also great because every song is the right length, averaging two and a half minutes, so that nothing is too much, yet every idea is explored sufficiently. It is the first album of its kind and really shines.
The album opens with the beautiful trumpet line on "Go Go Gadget Gospel", a spinning, joyful song that Cee-Lo puts everything he has into. "Crazy", the album's single, has flutes, violins, and drumkits in the instrumental, and Cee-Lo's heartfelt verses about love and relationships are worth your ear over and over again. "St. Elsewhere" has a wonderful slow trumpet line, sad and encouraging lyrics, and is great overall. My favorite track is "Gone Daddy Gone", a very catchy rock song. The electric guitar and drum instrumentals keep my head bobbing, and the bullhorned verses complement it well. "Smiley Faces" is a very reminiscent track with excellent background voices and music and lyrics that keep you listening. "Boogie Monster" is a completely fun and silly track, with creepy music but hilarious lyrics with a twist ending. "Feng Shui"'s silly and random lyrics fit Danger Mouse's blissful yet simple production. "Just A Thought" is the deepest track lyrically, where Cee-Lo admits "I've tried everything but suicide...but it's crossed my mind." The drum and guitar paint as gloomy a picture as the lyrics do. "Transformer" has organ and horns, and a chorus that you'll try to sing along to and find yourself unable. "Who Cares" sounds like a song by the Beatles, seriously. "On-Line" has whispery, seductive singing and a soulful back. "Necromancing" begins with the Marvin Gaye-styled introduction ("Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up") and turns into a story of sexual indulgence. The album ends strong with "Storm Coming", a cool bluesy track, and "The Last Time", with a beautiful chorus and beat.
"St. Elsewhere" bends the music landscape and creates something like we've never been exposed to before. It takes experimental to the next level (think Andre 3000's "The Love Below" to the tenth power), yet is not too indulgent either, leaving the listener completely satisfied at all times. Anyone would love this, you could play it for the kids in the car, and I'm planning on giving copies to my rock-loving father, jazz and blues-loving grandfather, and R&B-loving sister. Gnarls Barkley has created a masterpiece in "St. Elsewhere" that I highly recommend to any type of music listener.
88 of 107 found the following review helpful:
a CRAZY-good collaboration!! May 09, 2006
By Kevin J. Loria
The album's first single, "CRAZY", was THE FIRST SONG TO BECOME A UK NUMBER ONE SINGLE BASES SOLELY ON DOWNLOAD SALES (on April 2)!! It has an amazing cross-genre sound worth the time of any musicfan of hip-hop, rap, R&B, soul or funk. How did such a mix come to be? Read on...
First some back story....Brian Burton was born in New York & lived in Georgia for a long time where his electronica work under the name Pelican City was released. He re-mixed work by local artists. From 1998 to 2003 Burton also created a series of remix CDs under the stagename D.J.Danger Mouse (inspired by the British cartoon series Dangermouse, see my review) including the album Ghetto Pop Life (`03), he created The Grey Album, mixing an a cappella version of Jay Z's The Black Album over beats crafted from samples of The Beatles' White Album. The remix album, originally created just for his friends, spread over the internet and Entertainment Weekly ranking it the best record of the year, also earning him a Grammy nom. (best producer). Danger Mouse was also named among the Men of the Year by GQ mag in 2004 and won the 2005 "WIRED Rave Award." Damon Albarn, who tracked him down to produce the Gorillaz' "DEMON DAYS". Followed by "The Mouse and the Mask" and "MF DOOM" for Cartoon Network's ADULT SWIM.
Now here Danger Mouse releases ST. ELSEWHERE, another TV reference and collaboration with CEE-LO as GNARLS BARKLEY, the debut album of Gnarls Barkley, released on April 24, 2006 in the United Kingdom, where it debuted at number one on the ALBUM CHART and is set to be released on May 9 in the States, although it can be purchased this week as a digital download in the U.S. iTunes music store.
CEE-LO, born in Thomas Calloway, is an American hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B singer, songwriter / producer (Goodie Mob). CEE-LO's solo hits are the singles "Closet Freak" and "I'll Be Around." Born in Georgia, he is one of a number of artists to successfully record as both a rapper and singer. He has appeared as a featured singing vocalist on songs by artists such as Santana, Twista, OutKast and Black Eyed Peas (Like That), and sings background vocals on TLC's hit single "Waterfalls". His songwriter / producer his include the 2005 hit singles recorded by The Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes..Cee-Lo received a Grammy nom for his song "Getting' Grown"
Given the background of the two artists involved and the hip soulfulness of CEE-LO's voice in the single "CRAzy" charged with the style that keeps a hit in for the long haul the album, ST. ELSEWHERE should be a hit in the States as well.
16 of 17 found the following review helpful:
I'm not a hip-hop person, but I really like this CD!! Feb 10, 2007
By G. Stewart
"Debussy & Sibelius Freak"
I heard "Crazy" on the radio and I thought that someone had remixed a Marvin Gaye song that I had never heard. The song sounds like old-school mo-town with a new-spin backtrack.
I immediately went online and found out what I could about this song and the CD. Amazingly, I loved it. I say amazing because I do not like pop music; as a matter of fact, I don't like most current music.
This CD has a few songs that are a bit too much for me, but over all I love the CD.
Here is how I would break down the album.
Fantastic Songs; those which make the album great - Crazy, St. Elsewhere, Smiley Faces, Just A Thought, Who Cares?
Good Songs; those which fill out the album without destroying it - Go-Go Gadget Gospel, Gone Daddy Gone (a remake of a Violent Femmes song which I didn't care for, but this version is OK), Feng Shui, Transformer, Necromancing, Storm Coming, The Last Time
OK Songs; the 2 that I don't care for - The Boogie Monster, On-line
All-in-all, this is a great CD in a sea of releases by clones and copycats who are unimaginative and/or untalented. Most music today sounds like every other song from it's genre. Music has not felt inspired in a long time but this CD has broken the mold for me, an old-school music lover. The music, even sampled which I usually hate, takes on a life of it's own. Listen to the lyrics too because they are pretty deep. These guys have proven that music can still be original, lyrics can be something other than contrived and ambiguous.
My wife says I am closed-minded when it comes to music. She is right. With very few exceptions, I only like music from before 1980; classic rock, mo-town, jazz, blues, swing, classical; to me, everything else seems like regurgitated, processed crap. I have found very few albums that were released after 1980 that I liked. Thankfully, this duo has proven that creativity is still alive in an industry that capitalizes on the popular without any desire for original art.
This album is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale and stagnant musical landscape.
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Welcome To St. Elsewhere Sep 13, 2006
"Reformed Music Addict"
Gnarls Barkley is producer Danger Mouse and Southern rapper Cee-Lo. The album is a broad and varied mix between everything from Hip Hop, to Funk, Soul, Pop and Electro with samples that also vary from a broad range of sources (which itself is the whole point with sampling) you find unique samples fom odd or forgotten sources and you recycle them in a smart way. Not just copy and paste hits from the 70's or 80's like many hip hop artists do these days. Gnarls Barkley samples from 60's pop: progressive/psychedelic and Italian Sountrack music, in particular Daniele Luppi. The result is that it sound exciting, entertaining and fresh. If You like Gorillaz, you'll probably like Gnarls aswell, Danger Mouse created the beats for Damon Albarn and co. for their second album "Demon Days" and the genre is simular. But apart from Gorillaz, Gnarls are even more exciting in the sense of lyrics and originality. The lyrics differ from schizophrenic, to Paranoid and plain crazy and while listening to this record I can proudly say that I've never heard something simular. Danger mouse is an excellent and very creative producer that has arranged all the diffrent sources he had into one great concept full of exciting beats, melodies and crazy lyrics, while Cee-lo can both rap and sing and hence is a very useful member.
First song is called "Go-Go Gadget Gospel" and is actually a gospel song but all those crazy hypnotic horns makes the song very diffrent. Although only 2 minutes it's the perfect intoduction to what is coming in the world of "St Elsewhere". "Crazy" the title track that spent countless of weeks peaking at #1 on the Uk charts and now also climbing on the Billboard is the perfect example of Gnarls magic. On first thought The song is about a man with mental problems and the lyrics are just as crazy and paranoid, but apparently the song is about "the thought that people have to believe you're crazy to think you're an artist". The title track is slower and much more soulish. I suppose it's more of an intro to the album concept, the lyrics simply deal with a man leaving for "St Elsewhere" but for once it's lyrics aren't crazy. "Gone Daddy Gone" is a repetitive feel good dance song with funky beats. "Smily Face" is funny with sarcastic lyrics, and a somehwt rocky sound. "The Boogie Monster" is a crazy midtempo about paranoia, lyrics like "I used to wonder why he looked, familiar, Then I realised it was a mirror" proves why. On "Feng Shui" we'll find Cee-lo rapping again, but this song is only 1:30. The suicidal melancholy semi-ballad "Just a Thought" sounds like a Spaghetti Western by the music, and not too surpring it's one of Danger Mouse's main sources. Schizophrenic "Transformer" sounds like the opener and is full of fast-paced samples, Voice loops and crazy lyrics. "Who Cares" is once again about Schizophrenia, but this song is slower, remind me a little of the new Outkast. "On Line" is another slower song, crazy and strange lyrics. "Necromancer" is what you think it is about, one of the oddest songs I've heard this year. "Storm Coming" is a funky uptempo with agressive singing and fast percussion. Sounds very old-skool. "The Last Time" is another soulish song with funky rhythm, good closer. With 14 songs the album only clocks at 34 minutes, but it's entertaining all the way.
Overall, If You want something diffrent, here you go. "St Elsewhere" is defenitely one of the funkies, most creative and diverse Hip Hop albums of 2006. Producer Danger Mouse and Singer/Rapper Cee-Lo's masterminds put together results in an excellent concept album like this. If you like Gorillaz, try this aswell. You haven't heard anything like it before. Recommended.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Awesome! Feb 07, 2007
By Bruce Oksol
I'm a 56 y/o white conservative male -- and I love the album. I'll be highly disappointed if it doesn't take home some awards next week. I highly recommend getting the Deluxe edition with the DVD. Can't wait to share it with my two daughters.
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