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St. Elsewhere [Deluxe Edition]
     

St. Elsewhere [Deluxe Edition]

by Gnarls Barkley
 

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Who is Gnarls Barkley, and how did he ascend to the top of the British charts with a song that brings an eerie clarity to the cloud of mental illness? (Hint: It wasn't just the fact that Britain began factoring download data into its chart equations.) If St. Elsewhere sounds like one of the best rap-based pop productions since

Overview

Who is Gnarls Barkley, and how did he ascend to the top of the British charts with a song that brings an eerie clarity to the cloud of mental illness? (Hint: It wasn't just the fact that Britain began factoring download data into its chart equations.) If St. Elsewhere sounds like one of the best rap-based pop productions since the second Gorillaz album, then look no further than the common link, producer Danger Mouse. And if the vocal performances are twisted with the type of unbalanced wisdom not seen in pop music since Sly Stone (or at least OutKast), credit Cee-Lo Green, the former Goodie Mob seer/sage/freak. A pop album straight through, St. Elsewhere is as good as Danger Mouse's two earlier landmarks (Gorillaz's Demon Days and Danger Doom's The Mouse and the Mask), but not because of any inherent similarities in the three records. The reasons for greatness here include DM's uncommon facility for writing (or sampling) simple hooks that stick, his creation of productions that entertain but don't detract from the main action, and his ability to coax a parade of enticing vocal performances from Green. The hit "Crazy" and the title track are perfect examples. Over detached backings, Green croons, growls, scats, and generally delivers fine neo-soul vocals while Danger Mouse blankets the tracks with choruses of disembodied harmonies and a well-placed string section or crackling organ to conjure an appropriately minor chord atmosphere. The focus on instability doesn't end there -- paranoia, suicidal tendencies, and multiple personalities are all in the cards, and there's also "Necromancer": "She was cool when I met her, but I think I like her better dead." Then, just to make sure listeners understand this is a concept album and not a message from a mind playing tricks on itself, they drop "The Boogie Monster" (although even the lyrics here can give pause: "I used to wonder why he looked familiar, and then I realized it was a mirror"). With the help of Danger Mouse's platinum ear and intricate vocal productions, Green is revealed as a top-notch post-millennial soul singer. Even when he's floating another mass of wise, serene gibberish, DM simply drops another production trick to keep things tight. Much like DJ Shadow's The Private Press, Danger Mouse relies on samples from the downcast end of obscure '60s pop -- prog, psych, and Italian soundtrack music (his most valuable lieutenant here, Daniele Luppi, has the requisite Italian connection). Although Gnarls Barkley topping the charts was a slight fluke, the excellence of St. Elsewhere could have been seen coming a mile away.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/07/2006
Label:
Downtown
UPC:
0075679456526
catalogNumber:
94565

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gnarls Barkley   Primary Artist
Eric Bobo   Drums
Dave Pilch   Bass
Daniele Luppi   Organ,Synthesizer Bass,Mini Moog
Menta Malone   Background Vocals
Tomika Walden   Background Vocals
Chris Tedesco   Trumpet
Eddie Reyes   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
Kevin Peek   Composer
Barry Clarke   Arranger,Composer
David Costa   Arranger,Composer
Gordon Gano   Composer
Celia Humphris   Arranger,Composer
Gian Piero Reverberi   Composer
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino   Composer
Armando Trovaioli   Composer
Keith Mansfield   Composer
Cee Lo Green   Lyricist
Nino Nardini   Composer
Tom Hingston   Art Direction
Kam Tang   Cover Illustration
Danger Mouse   Audio Production
Ellen To   Art Direction
Daniele Luppi   Arranger,Orchestration,Organ Arrangement,Trumpet Arrangement,Bass Arrangement
Thomas Callaway   Composer
Gianfranco Reverberi   Composer
Brian Burton   Composer
Stephen Brown   Arranger
Ian Langley   Composer
Nicholas Flagello   Composer

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