But we get back up And put up a fight! I think the official description of this song says it all. My chance to feel alive! Because hey, if those crazy Australian teens can survive a dance academy? You can make it through anything.
He's a poster boy for poor judgment much of the time, and yet those other two aspects of his personality don't disappear as his behavior gets worse. CeeLo started out, in the nineties, in the Dirty South hip-hop group Goodie Mob, and he had one of the most gleefully profane singles in recent memory with "Fuck You" or, if you'd prefer, "Forget You" , in But he's probably most famous or most justifiably famous for "Crazy," a collaboration with Danger Mouse that was released under the name Gnarls Barkley and became a massive global hit back in CeeLo had been exploring the seam of hip-hop and soul before then, but that song marked the birth of a new style in which he used his powerful, gospel-tinged vocals to perfect a kind of extroverted introversion—it's a song about mental disarrangement and self-doubt sung proudly and loudly for maximum entertainment value.
The album, which runs only twenty-six minutes, starts with an excerpt of a conversation between Dick Cavett and Sly Stone that seems to suggest the benefits of personal fortitude: "In order to get to it, you gotta go through it," Sly says, and Cavett parries with "Who said that?
Was it Emerson? The vocal melody is memorable, and the words seem meaningful and possibly even spiritual.
And yet—there's that "Taxi" bed, not only in the backing music, but in the extended dialogue section that closes the song: it's taken from a flashback scene in which Jim Christopher Lloyd , as a straight-laced college student, gives in to the prodding of his girlfriend, tries a pot brownie, and immediately becomes a slack-jawed stoner.
Take a second to absorb that: CeeLo wrote a song about personal strength, which he sang over the theme music of "Taxi," and followed it by sampling an scene about one person drugging another. The second song, "Rhythm of Life," is a lean bit of Eurodisco sung over the theme music to "Knight Rider.
As an act of psychological and pop-cultural provocation, the album is both extreme and effective.
In addition, many of Cee-Lo's fans are too young to remember these theme songs, and almost all of the songs have some musicological intrigue. The man who composed the "Soap" theme, George Tipton, had a long history in the pop arena, largely in collaboration with Harry Nilsson; the man who composed the "Knight Rider" theme, Stu Phillips, wrote "Johnny Angel" for Shelley Fabares.
Guitar riffs, gongs, and crescendoes make up the intro theme to X-Men, the cult animated series that ran on Fox Kids from to co-produced by Marvel and Saban of the Power Rangers empire. We ended up with 80 or 90 tracks for that thing.
The choices of backing music are random, to say the least. The "Family Ties" theme is wedded to a song of devotion with the subtitle "Wonder Woman.
All of this is strange, but the strangest part it all is that it works, more often than not. Few of the performances feel like throwaways, and sometimes they feel like fully formed if short compositions. There are more than passing similarities to that album in that that the songs manage to sound improvised without falling apart on the spot.
But there's also an undercurrent of fatalism here. They're not always clear in their motives.
But what they also aren't, for the most part, is generic. Is it possible that CeeLo has cobbled together his most personal album from stream-of-consciousness lyrics and old sitcom themes?
Crazier things have happened.