Thursday, August 03, 2006

Smiley Faces Sometimes

The gent to the left is a Barkley. He isn't the Barkley in question. So yeah, "Gnarls" is a horrible name--Charles is classier--but what can ya do. To quote the Bard, "What's in a name? To quote Gnarls Barkley, "Who cares?"

Last week, I forwarded the following video to almost everyone I know. On the off-chance you haven't seen it yet, here 'tis. It's basically the history of pop music with Dennis Hopper, who appears on the Danger Mouse-produced Demon Days, and fellow former child actor Dean Stockwell as "hosts." In a nice bit of synchronicity, both starred together in Blue Velvet [above].

The Gnarled Ones, meanwhile, play a couple of Zelig-meets-Forrest Gump-type characters, always there whenever anything of note is going on in the world of pop. My favorite bits? The Gnarlston! And the Groovy Purple Dirigible! I could go on...

Granted, I haven't seen many videos this year, but "Smiley Faces" must surely be among the best. It's also one of my favorite tracks off my favorite record of 2006: St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley.

I thought everyone knew about this dynamic duo and their chart-busting debut--number five, last I checked--but my friend Mark recently set me straight. He's been busy doing the grad school thing and had no idea who these guys were or what they're about.

For anyone else out of the loop, Gnarls Barkley is Danger Mouse (The Grey Album, The Mouse and the Mask) and Cee-lo Green (Goodie Mob, Dungeon Family). St. Elsewhere is their first full-length. Since its release, they've been touring like crazy and have made several late night TV appearances (I caught two; both great).

The duo has different outfits for each gig--robes and shower caps, scrubs and stethoscopes, etc. They also dress as characters from The Wizard of Oz, A Clockwork Orange, and Napoleon Dynamite. It's too soon to say whether their funk-fueled vehicle is built to last. For now, they're having fun. And the fun is infectious.


I want to leap whenever I see you smiling
Because its easily one of the hardest things to do
Your worries and fears become your friends
And they end up smiling at you.
-- Gnarls Barkley, "Smiley Faces"

Endnote: Charles Barkley image from Yahoo!, Blue Velvet image from New Video Film, and video from YouTube. If it won't play, please give the official Gnarls Barkley website or their MySpace page a try. As usual, I had little luck adding images, so finally had to throw in the towel on including any photos of Danger Mouse and Cee-lo in all their finery. If this keeps up, I'm gonna start posting sans pics. Thanks to Bill for the tip about this fine video.

No comments: