Friday, April 4, 2008

New Gnarls Barkley

New album, The Odd Couple, which this song is from, just came out. About 2/3 through the video I love the way it gets totally psychedelic and almost a bit frightening, which (ironically?) is mostly in black and white.

This review at Salon takes them to task for not be clear about their intentions. Are they serious musicians or a gimmick? The review, unfortunately, gets bogged down in authenticity, especially of the black, hip-hop variety, and wonders why they're so inspired by indie rock lyrics and pop references. Admittedly, Gnarls Barkley probably does have a much wider white audience and the emcee in this video is a bit of a wigger. But does this make them less serious? I like them because they ARE so playful with identities (Cee-Lo's thing for sure) and popular culture.

I also think their trip-hop aesthetic (ala Tricky, but less serious) is a wonderful antidote to the whiny, three chord boredom of most contemporary indie acts. (I just saw the indie inspiration, REM, on The Colbert Show, and while they rocked out, it felt so tired.) Cee-Lo sounds so sweet singing his quasi-emo, existential lyrics, which always threaten (but not quite) to blow the playfulness up. It's pomo, baby, with heart.

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