The new Gnarls Barkley album The Odd Couple could not be more aptly titled: this duo is odd. You’ve probably seen them playing recently in MTV commercials as they are the “Artist of The Week,” seemingly unaware of the people in animal suits wrestling each other behind them. Maybe you caught their performance on the 2006 “MTV Music Awards” when they were decked out in Star Wars costumes, complete with Chewbacca on drums.
One thing is for sure, we can expect the unexpected from these two. They’ve created a style and sound that is all their own, proving to be impossible to define in the best way possible. According to their MySpace page, they describe their music as “alternative / soul / experimental” but after listening to The Odd Couple, genre labels can’t even compare to what comes out of the speakers. It’s a unique combination of whole-hearted sincerity and emotion mixed with technological brilliance that captures you through the entire album. They are definitely one of the most unique and original groups out right now – and incredibly talented in every aspect.
The first track, “Charity Case,” jumps right into the album without warning and I’m immediately hooked. Then “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” comes on. As you can guess from the title, this track is soulful – old school blues but still very modern, something I didn’t expect to follow such an upbeat first song. This becomes a pattern of the album: you never know what’s next.
“Going On” gets back into that fast-paced sound and there’s definitely a lot going on in this song. The music changes constantly when you least expect it and the flow into every different sound fits perfectly together. The ability to experiment with various sounds and make each one enjoyable is one of their biggest strengths throughout the entire album.
Their single “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)” is like the speed metal of their style. The video has been banned from MTV for causing seizures, but the song itself could probably do the same. Cee-lo gives fast talkers everywhere a run for their money. The following song “Would Be Killer” is considerably different. Despite the haunting lyrics, it’s very chill and downright sexy. The most attitude is in the shortest track, “Whatever.” There’s this snotty, “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” outlook, but way more badass: “I don’t know what else to do / Said ‘fuck me,’ well fuck you, too!” The last song “A Little Better” is a little more optimistic. It really hits your heart when Cee-lo wails out his painful past into better times over more instrumental music rather than electronic-made beats. It was a perfect way to end such a great album.
Regardless of what kind of music you generally prefer to listen to, you will love this record, in stores now.