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Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple - Atlantic

The bad news first: the second Gnarls Barkley album The Odd Couple does not contain any song with the hit single potential of "Crazy" from their St. Elsewhere album. The good news is – as far as consistency, soul, and overall performance is concerned,The Odd Couple is maybe even better than the debut. This mid-fi delight combines pop touchstones of the past with hip-hop beats and electronica attitude, and the result is warm and decidedly real...

DJ Dangermouse and Cee-Lo Green may indeed be an "odd couple," but you wouldn't be able to tell it from their work together. Cee-Lo has an amazing, gospel-esque quality to everything he sings, and – quite often on the new album – the subject matter is far from rejoicing. That being said,The Odd Couple's first single, "Run," certainly sounds upbeat, but the dark lyrics make the subject matter more paranoid than jubilant. Elsewhere, there's the brilliantly cynical "Whatever," and "Surprise" sounds like a 60's radio hit from some kind of parallel universe.

There's a lot to like aboutThe Odd Couple. We're witnessing a couple of very creative forces trying to come to grips with a tremendous amount of talent, tons of very cool influences, and a seemingly increasingly gloomy world view. In those conflicts lie the magic.

Written by Dan Reed