Today, we start with Cee-Lo Green.
Before there was Gnarls Barkley, there was simply Cee-Lo. With a great, high-pitched rasp that somehow comes out unbelievably smooth (or smoove), and a talented batch of guest stars, "... Is the Soul Machine" is a truly great, relaxing, but very innovative album.
Gnarls Barkley is talented, to be sure, but to me it seems like a combination of the lesser works of two great talents. Cee-Lo is better, more sophisticated on his solo stuff (or with Goodie Mob), and Producer/DJ Danger Mouse has to rein himself in a bit on St. Elsewhere. He's far more talented a DJ than this album displays (and it displays a lot of talent, don't get me wrong). But if you want to really glimpse Danger Mouse's abilities, check out either Danger Doom, with MF Doom, or download The Gray Album from somewhere, the remix of The White Album and The Black Album. Another personal favorite is his work with Jemini The Gifted One (although Jemini, that dumb bastard, is currently locked up).
Anyway, here's "Gettin' Grown", from Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. Not his best song (though still good), but all I could find on youtube.
Completely changing gears, another favorite group of mine is The Drive-By Truckers.
There are a billion labels out there - alt-country, cowpunk, psychobilly, etc. All I know is this: These guys are seriously good. Great country twang, innovative use of guitars, some beautiful, stirring songs (listen to "Late for Church"), revolutionary in their social commentary, and brutally honest in their depictions of southern living, they continue to impress me with each successive album. Similar to (but smarter and better than) Reverend Horton Heat, and less wildly rambunctious (but more authentic) than Southern Culture on the Skids, this proves that there is such a thing as great country music, as long as it's not that yee-ha Brooks-and-Big-and-Dumb crap the CMT Awards likes to swallow up.
Here's "Never Gonna Change", from "The Dirty South". Listen closely, the lyrics are both brilliant and tragic.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this moment of self-indulgence. It took far longer to do than I expected. Let me know your thoughts.