28 April 2008

Music in me: Gnarls Barkley

As you can tell form my last.fm profile, I'm a big fan of Gnarls Barkley. I am not crazy about the sound, which is neo-soul and reminds me mostly of the 60's. But I am a lyric freak and I'm obsessed about the lyrics. What I like about the music is that it is not overdone and you don't get bored, so you can enjoy the lyrics over and over. But by "not overdone" I don't mean boring or anything: this duo has its own, distinctive style, and the song "Storm Coming" has one of my favourite beats ever.

They started two years ago with an album called "St. Elswhere", which had pretty much everything to make a lyric freak like me happy: something I can relate to on the bad days (Just A Thought, Who Cares), something really original (Feng Shui, Necromancing), some excellent writing (Storm Coming, Feng Shui, and basically the whole album) and some positivity (Smiley Faces).

The bad stuff is not emo, not deoressing, not "feel sorry for me", it says what it's supposed to say without getting too emotional or whiny:

And I've tried
Everything but suicide
But it's crossed my mind (just a thought)
The good stuff is not too sweet, realistic and really motivating:
And I can tell you know how hard this life can be
But you keep on smiling for me.
Until yesterday, I listened their album "St Elsewhere" obsessively. Then the new one came out and soon came in my mail:
I'm not disappointed. The sound is a bit more old-school and the lyrics a bit differently written: instead of many words that sound alike brought together, you'll more likely find AABCCB rhymes. Still, it's the same old good Gnarls Barkley. Going On is a really motivating song (I suppose it will be released as a single, so you'll see what I mean), and Neighbor shows jealousy in such a way that you automatically apreciate what you have instead of envying others:
Now my neighbor likes my clothes
But hadn't seen me with my scars exposed
Trivia: A reverse edition of the album, retitled eplouC ddO ehT, (the entire album fused into one 38 min track played completely in reverse, starting with the album's last song) is legally available for download free of charge at fronttobackbacktofront.com. Now I gotta reverse it back and see what it really features (reportedly no vocals, so I'll have a karaoke version).

In short, whatever Gnarls Barkley does is really original and reflects the members' signature style. The lyrics tell about life's good and bad times, but both are dealt with in a positive and constructive way. When I have time, I definitely will check the members' other projects.

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