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Dustin LindenSmith

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ulisten.net podcast #5: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

You can now keep up with the ulisten.net podcasts on LJ at ulisten.

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

ulisten.net podcast #5 (download MP3)

The most serious hip-hop heads out there may already know the backstory of this track, but I remember being pretty excited about it when I learned about it in this great NY Times interview by Chuck Klosterman with Brian Burton and Thomas Calloway (a.k.a Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo). In that interview, Danger Mouse said how surprised he was by what a hit his tune Crazy was, because it was almost a direct rip-off of an Ennio Morricone song. With considerable further research on my part, I discovered that the tune he referred to was called Nel Cimitero de Tucson, and it came from the soundtrack for the 1968 spaghetti western called Preparati La Bara!.

Now, this information in and of itself is not terribly significant -- until you hear the source track upon which Danger Mouse based his hit Crazy, that is. Move the pitch of the original track up by only 1 whole step and you're suddenly hearing almost exactly the same backing track to Crazy. To the note! It's all laid out for you on today's podcast.

Also of note on this track are the lyrics. They really struck me on my first listening of the tune, and now that I've thoroughly digested them after more than several dozen hearings, I think there's a lot of wisdom in there. Wisdom about not taking yourself too seriously, about the fallacy of our apparent control over the moment, and about seeing ourselves for who we really are.

(Credit to this post on stereogum.com for what was probably one of the first breaks of this news. I wish I'd found that post when I first started researching this piece, because I only found out the details through much more circuitous means. Additional trivia: someone built a MySpace page for Gianfranco Reverberi that's focused on this track. Reverberi appears to be the actual composer of the source track, and more info on his credits can be found on his IMDB page, along with that of his brother Gianpiero.)

Artist Name: Gnarls Barkley
Album Title: St. Elsewhere
Release Date: 2006
Producer: Danger Mouse (birth name Brian Burton)
Vocalist: Cee-Lo (birth name Thomas Calloway)
Websites: Crazy video on YouTube | Gnarls Barkley | Danger Mouse on Wikipedia | Cee-Lo on Wikipedia

Buy the recording at: cd universe | amazon.com | amazon.ca | itunes | froogle | google

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starskin April 2nd, 2007
I've just downloaded your past podcasts and am rocking out to Jaco Pastorius (mmm Jaco). Wow, it's so weird to hear your speaking voice after reading your words for so many years.

Good stuff, man. :)

iamom April 2nd, 2007
Heh -- thanks. Nearly everyone I know has had quite a few good laughs about these podcasts because of how I sound. Nobody appears to be used to hearing my voice! And for those who hadn't heard it before, I gather it's not what they expected it would sound like... :)

starskin April 2nd, 2007
No, it isn't how I thought it would sound. But then, I'm not sure what I was expecting, so anything probably would have surprised me! I don't think I could ever do a podcast because I can't stand the way my speaking voice sounds.

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