Gnarls Barkley are a soul duo from Atlanta, Georgia who are comprised of singer and songwriter Cee lo Green and producer Danger Mouse. They released their first album St Elsewhere in 2006 which contained the single “Crazy” which was one of the biggest hits of that year. As well as topping the UK charts and reaching number two in the US, it was nominated for Record of the Year at the 2007 Grammy Awards.
They released their second album The Odd Couple was released in 2008 and was put out earlier than scheduled after being leaked on the internet. The album was received well critically but not so much commercially compared to the first record. This is so far their last album as they have been on hiatus since 2010. Although there has been talk of a third album over the past few years nothing has materialised so far. So in the meantime we will look at ten of their best songs from both of their albums.
# 10 – The Last Time
Kicking off our top ten Gnarls Barkley songs list, we have the closing track from St Elsewhere. As far as album closers go, it is very impressive. It is exactly the kind of thing that dancefloor fillers are made of, particularly as the last song of the night. Cee lo Green in particular puts in a very soulful vocal performance.
# 9 – Just A Thought
Up next we have another song from the first album that is rather different in tone from the rest of the record in the sense that it is a sombre tune whereas the rest is more upbeat. The lyrics are particularly hard hitting at one point where Green mentions considering suicide. Danger Mouse delivers a particularly downbeat sounding riff that provides a very suitable companion to Green’s lyrics.
# 8 – St Elsewhere
Next up we have the title track of the debut album. The track is very beautifully put together, with a haunting beat that is wonderful accompanied by a vocal performance that see’s Green at his very best. The lyrics are also very riveting on this song as he talks about someone being his only reason for caring about anything. Truly a great title track.
# 7 – Charity Case
Here we have the first song on this list from second album The Odd Couple which is its opening track. It is a very strong opening number to what is unfortunately a very overlooked and underrated album. It has a more experimental feel to it than the first album which probably explains why it did not perform as well commercially.
# 6 – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
Up next we have the third and final single from the second album. The song has an animated video that was directed by Chris Milk. It was only released as a physical single in the US, only being released digitally across the rest of the world. It had a positive reception with the video being nominated for a Grammy and the song itself getting positive reviews. It also found its way in popular culture when it was featured on the closing scene of the final episode of the first season of a certain tv show called “Breaking Bad” that debuted that year.
# 5- Going On
Kicking off the second half of this list we have the second single from The Odd Couple. It has a more upbeat style and is more in the vein of the first album. It was nominated for best Pop performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards. It uses a sample of the track “Folder Man” by Please. It also had a music video set in Jamaica which depicted a group of people finding the doorway to another dimension.
# 4 – Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)
This song which is more commonly known as “Run” is the debut single from The Odd Couple. The song is the biggest hit and most well-known song from the album, having been featured in several tv and movie productions. It peaked at number thirty-two in the UK and its highest chart position in the US was at number fourteen on US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
# 3 – Who Cares?
At the number three spot we go back to St Elsewhere. It is the third single to be released from the album which was a double A side along with a cover of the Violent Femmes song “Gone Daddy Gone.” It debuted in the Uk at number sixty. In the US, it peaked at twenty-six on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart.
# 2 – Smiley Faces
Just off the top spot we have the second single to be taken from St Elsewhere. Like its predecessor “Crazy” it had two different promo videos. In the UK , it was featured on the British talent show “Strictly Come Dancing” in which the British actress Louisa Lytton danced to it with her professional partner. It also peaked in the UK at twenty-three.
# 1 – Crazy
At number one on our Gnarls Barkley songs list we have Gnarls Barkley’s debut single taken from St Elsewhere. It got to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the chart in several other countries. It was first leaked in 2005 months before its actual release and received heavy radio airplay in the UK most notably from Zane Lowe. It made chart history in Britain by being the first single to top the charts purely from download purchases. It was also the longest standing number one for ten years, spending a total of nine weeks at the top of the chart. Gnarls Barkley actually removed it from stores so that people would not get fed up of the song. Despite this it was still the best selling single of the year. By 2011, with it still continuing to sell via download, it sold over a million copies. It was also nominated for record of the year which it did not win.
In 2007 it won a Grammy Award for best Urban/ Alternative Performance. It was also nominated for record of the year at that ceremony but also did not win. It also won many more accolades and was a massive hit and cultural phenomenon upon the year of its release.
It is without a doubt the duo’s best known song and their only real massive hit. In this sense it is often considered to be a one hit wonder. As previously stated, it has two different music videos made for it. There have been several covers of it since its release, most notably by Violent Femmes.
Top 10 Gnarls Barkley Songs Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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