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Music: Gnarls Barkley

The Odd Couple couldn

Gnarls BarkleyThe Odd Couple(Atlantic)

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The Odd Couple couldn’t be a more appropriate title for Gnarls Barkley’s second album, said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly. Even after their song “Crazy” domineered the airwaves in 2006 and their album St. Elsewhere earned a Grammy, the curious pairing of Cee-Lo Green and DJ Danger Mouse seemed like a lark. This odd couple, however, have “proven surprisingly well-matched.” Their new album doesn’t boast an infectious hit, but it’s “compulsively listenable.” Where St. Elsewhere sneakily planted ruminations about paranoia amid catchy pop music, this album “goes all-out apocalyptic.” The Odd Couple is somber, often haunting, and at times unsettling, said Brett Johnson in the Associated Press. On “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul,” Cee-lo’s quavering falsetto starts off sounding hopeless: “Got some bad news this morning / which in turn made my day.” Over “Surprise’s” tumbling beats and the ba-ba-bas of backup singers, he reflects on alienation: “When all you need is to be met halfway / but nobody tries / don’t be surprised.” Those lyrics may sound like a bummer, but the music never leaves you “emotionally sandbagged.” Gnarls Barkley delivers pop with poignancy, said Jim DeRogatis in the Chicago Sun-Times. It may take a few listens before you warm up to this album, but The Odd Couple offers a “guided tour through two of the more unique creative forces and cheerfully perverse psyches” in music today.

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