I remember when.
I remember, I remember when I lost my mind…
It was the Summer of 2006 and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley owned the world. It was a joyous piece of pop that seemed to spring out of nowhere. You know the original, but here’s one of my favourite cover versions by The Kooks for you to play while you’re reading.
I had been following one half of Gnarls Barkley even before the single broke out. A couple of years before “Crazy”, Danger Mouse released The Grey Album.
The Grey Album was the first great mash-up I discovered taking vocals from Jay-Z’s The Black Album and merging them with familiar musical moments from The Beatles by The Beatles, the album that has long been known as The White Album.
If you’re a fan of The Beatles and a fan of The Beatles, The Grey Album is a revelation where tunes like “Helter Skelter” are fused with “99 Problems” to produce something even angrier but more grounded than either track managed before.
But this isn’t about Danger Mouse. This is about the other half of Gnarls. The voice. Cee Lo Green. Despite the huge global success of “Crazy”, Cee Lo never managed to look too cool. Throughout the period he was promoting the single he was happy to play the goof. Because of that voice.
A couple of years on and “Crazy” is still fondly remembered, but Cee Lo is back with a new album and a new killer single. It’s been buzzing around for a while with a makeshift typographic video on YouTube that’s been a viral smash, but now he’s gone and made a big budget video for the song and it’s bloody marvelous.
You may not want to sing along too loudly as the lyrics get a little saucy, but if this isn’t the song you start humming the next time someone cuts in line or slows down before the traffic lights, I’ll eat a large sombrero.