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Gnarls Barkley: Smiley Faces

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Wednesday, Feb 7, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

It was PopMatters#1 album of 2006, remember?


Gnarls Barkley
St. Elsewhere

(Downtown)


It begins with the click of a film reel. Then, it explodes into a manic gospel-circus fronted by a multi-octave ringmaster. Two minutes later, this year’s most infectious single cuts through the cacophony. In case you slept through 2006, that album is St. Elsewhere and that song is “Crazy” by Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo, a.k.a Gnarls Barkley. Who knew that existentialism with a go-go beat could be so catchy?  Like the album cover’s voltaic mushroom cloud, the songs on St. Elswehere captured small slices of life, death, love, fear, and joy.  Gnarls Barkley penetrated the collective psyche of its listeners and uncovered the angst underneath all the “bling” and bravado permeating popular culture. Remarkably, the album crossed over to an unlikely mix of hipsters, rappers, glitterati, boomers, yuppies, indie kids, and suburban dwellers to prove that St. Elsewhere is, in actuality, everywhere. Christian John Wikane

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