Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere

Gnarls BarklyI know it’s probably stating the obvious but I think the age of downloading has changed the way people buy music, specifically the difference between singles and albums. For most of the 90’s, albums were the key to success (Blur vs Oasis excluded), it’s where artists got their chance to stamp their mark on a generation. I’ve pretty much always bought albums, mainly because I was so ignorant during the early 90’s, that I thought there was only the one thing to buy; albums. I only bought singles when I was low on cash or wanted B-sides of my favourite artists. Now with downloading, people can go back to just simply buying the song they’ve seen on TV or heard on the radio. One track was really at the forefront of this; “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. To me it had the same magic quality that songs like “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand and “Hey Ya” by Outkast have; you can listen to them a thousand times and they still sound great.

But “Crazy” does it bear the curse of overshadowing the album? Not a bit of it; as great as “Crazy” is, it fits neatly into the whole flow of the album. Considering the themes of self-doubt and mental confusion are littered throughout St. Elsewhere, it’s a fairly upbeat album. It flows pretty quickly too, (the longest track doesn’t breach the 4 minute mark) and some of the shorter tracks have the most charm, from the lounge-centric “Feng Shui” to disco-esque “Online”. “Smiley Faces” has a swinging beat and great drumming and “Gone Daddy Gone”

My favourite right now is the witty but downbeat “Who Cares?”, the lyrics get me every time (“it’s deep how you can be so shallow”). It’s all really well put together and it’d be a real shame if people were dismissing this as just “Crazy” with some filler tracks.This is a top quality album. Maybe if I’m being pedantic the last two tracks could’ve been trimmed to make the album run to 12 tracks in half an hour, but that’s a minor point. It’s also a minor point that Anna’s two year old niece Kira loves this album.

Gnarls Barkley – Who Cares?:

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy (live at the Grammys):

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