Spun: Gnarls Barkley

Finally a hip hop album upper-middle class white girls and skinny boys can listen to without being ashamed. 50 Cent with all his anger against the authorities was hopeless from the beginning, we had hope for Kanye West and his sherbet-coloured suits, but it wasn’t until the release of St. Elsewhere we could blast music from windows or headphones without feeling like prats.

Gnarls Barkley, which combines the magical sonic powers of DJ Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo, also combines the kind of moody, introspective lyrics you’d expect of indie kids with the best parts of blues, soul and funk, creating a perfectly balanced album more than listenable to any set of ears.

From the first, the album gets going with “Go-Go Gadget Gospel,” which is as vibrant and motivating as you’d imagine and, despite some moments of repose, the duo is able to keep up the pace even through their more reflective songs like “Just a Thought” and “Storm Coming.” Throughout this album of melancholic ruminations there are not uncommon instances of humour like on “Necromancer,” the wooing of a dead girl. However, at its heart St. Elsewhere is an exciting album by virtue of songs like “Crazy,” the first single off the album, and Violent Femmes cover “Gone Daddy Gone,” songs which combine quick and witty lyrics with deceptively complex music. The orchestration on the recording has a buoyancy to it in large part due to the light instrumentation, but thanks to Danger Mouse’s wizardry at the panel St. Elsewhere is a wholly rich offering, with many layers of sound that combine perfectly.

It’s the combination of accessible lyrics questioning bourgeois malaise rather than the fidelity of certain hos and intricate music instead of blunt monotonous beats that make this album not just a saviour for the white kids, but one of the best albums to grace the streets this summer.

..Rachel Betts-Wilmott

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.