Gnarls Barkley stays true to form with The Odd Couple

There weren’t a lot of platinum plaques being held up by black artists in 2006. One of them was held by Cee-Lo Green, one half of the almost impossible to categorize duo of Gnarls Barkley. The other half, Dangermouse became a part of hip-hop’s consciousness when he released the critically acclaimed Jay-Z / Beatles mash up The Grey Album. After Green’s success as a member of Goodie Mob, Green has established himself as a multi-faceted solo artist in his own right. After their 2006 platinum debut, St. Elsewhere, the world waited with great anticipation for their next project. After an almost two year wait, Green and Producer Dangermouse once again combine their talents for The Odd Couple.

This album has a decidedly retro sound, maybe more than St. Elsewhere. Cee-Lo’s unique vocal talents shine over Dangermouse’s expertly crafted soundscapes throughout the entire project. The Dungeon Family alum sings through nearly the entire album this time around, seeming to almost back away from his rap roots.

The only issue I have with this album is its overall calmness. The frenetic pace of St. Elsewhere is greatly diminished in The Odd Couple. Not to say that there is anything wrong with it, because The Odd Couple is a great album. It just possesses a very melancholy mood. Even a song with the frenetic pace of Run had a slightly depressed undertone.

It’s depressing that this album may be shied away from by mainstream listeners. Gnarls Barkley has established a strong following after only one album. Gnarls Barkley’s second project speaks to the many tired masses that aren’t represented within the current trends in the music industry. There is no overt sexuality or hyper-masculine posturing found in The Odd Couple.

There is an air of strange sense of serenity amid the anguish in Gnarls Barkley’s music. While this album is again a little short (just under 40 minutes), It is a project will play through without skipping any of the album’s 13 tracks. After sitting through a listening of The Odd Couple it is quite apparent that the pairing has the staying power to be around for a long time.