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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Gnarls Barkley
The Odd Couple

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

April 22, 2008
Gnarls Barkley's hit "Crazy" is one of those songs that anyone with an FM radio has likely heard; it's also one of those songs that most people cop to liking, whether they're generally into dance music or not. "Crazy" was the powerhouse selling point for the duo's debut album St. Elsewhere (a record that turned out to be devoid of any additional hits) and it's also the cut that the whole of The Odd Couple, the bands sophomore effort, will be up against.

Although St. Elsewhere wasn't strong throughout, producer and sound-bender Danger Mouse, who rose to fame with his Jay Z vs. The Beatles remix The Grey Album, and vocalist Cee-Lo have garnered a reputation for creating dance music that carries more weight than just a good beat and catchy hooks. They also infuse their songs with a raw emotion not often found in club music, and Cee-Lo's voice is the vessel for bringing out that emotion. Infectious beats and palpable feeling helped drive "Crazy" to the top of the charts, and on many of the songs on The Odd Couple Gnarls Barkley employ the same formula to repeat that feat.

In many ways this album feels like a more mature and better planned whole than St. Elsewhere. The pair's freshman effort relied so heavily on "Crazy" that the rest of the album didn't get the production it deserved and needed. But this time rather than lumping all of their eggs in one basket, on The Odd Couple Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo go in the opposite direction; it doesn't have any individual hits of the "Crazy" caliber, but it does have an overall production value that outshines St. Elsewhere and provides for a stronger collection.

While the production values on the album are stronger, so is The Odd Couple's focus on Cee-Lo's voice. Without Cee-Lo, Gnarls Barkley would not be the pivotal dance music act they have come to be, and this time out his vocals are given a much deeper treatment. As tight as Danger Mouse's tracks are, the album's purest pleasure is hearing Cee-Lo's prominent vocals on tracks like "Who's Gonna Save My Soul," "Blind Mary," and the first single "Run."

That said, it bears repeating that although the album's 13 songs are of very high quality, there is no "Crazy" on The Odd Couple. In a music market increasingly driven by singles, this fact could possibly result in lower record sales and less immediate radio play for the band, but for future releases it might serve as motivation to combine the hit quality of "Crazy" with the broader production quality and focus on Cee-Lo's vocals that make The Odd Couple what it is. If Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo manage to combine these two elements on a future release, they might just go down in history as the greatest dance act ever.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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