“Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley (2006)

“Crazy” is a high-water mark that neither Ceelo Green nor Danger Mouse was able to reach again, despite numerous and ongoing attempts to do so. I played it at a recent party and someone mentioned that they could relax and enjoy it because it came “before Ceelo got creepy”. I mean, I get it*. But…listen to those lyrics. If they don’t disturb you at least a little, you’re a better person than I. There’s a lot to unpack in those lyrics about hero worship, instability for laughs (wasn’t this out around the same time the press had a field day with Britney Spears’ meltdown?) and independent thought. Topics that are still very relevant twelve years later.

Gnarls Barkley was designed to be offbeat. Two people who positioned themselves to be left of center combined forces to create music clearly designed to represent their misfit personae. The fact that “Crazy” resonated as strongly as it did (smash single on both sides of the Atlantic, Grammy Awards, remakes by everyone and their momma, a commercial breakthrough for both artists) speaks strongly to the misfit streak many of us still feel. Hell, I’d say “Crazy” is as much of a “sign of the times” type of song for the so-called lunatic fringe as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a decade and a half before.

*-get it doesn’t mean I agree with it. Is Ceelo a creep? I don’t know, I’m not friends with him. I think he did something stupid and has certainly paid for it. If that makes him a creep, then there’s no hope for us because we’re all fucking creeps.

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