St. Elsewhere

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
St. Elsewhere Music Poster Image
Quirky creativity with an edge on this hip-pop CD.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

A song about necrophilia is a bit disturbing.

Violence

In-your-face lyrics about suicide, depression, and necrophilia.

Sex

Some innuendo: "Don't deny me any further/let me have my way."

Language

"S--t" is mentioned once.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"Cosmopolitans, and cocaine, and an occasional pill in her," but not much else.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's one wincingly explicit song (apparently about necrophilia) nestled into this collection of very interesting and well-performed material. Depression, suicide, and cocaine are also mentioned. "S--t" comes up once.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byAmmorose April 9, 2008

Its pretty good

I only like the song "Crazy". n "gine daddy gone" is ok.but i agree this albums for teens.but not jus 15+,all.
Teen, 14 years old Written bybroadwaykat April 9, 2008

This cd is not 4 anyone under 14

although I'm a pretty mature 13 year old I must admit that althogh this cd had wonderful beat to it some of the songs have a very dark underlying message.... Continue reading

What's the story?

The first thing you'll notice on ST. ELSEWHERE is the voice –- rich and expressive, suited to 1960s- and 70s-era soul crooning. Then there are the instrumental arrangements, blending strong musical hooks with the unconventional in delicious layers of sound that reveal influences as diverse as psychedelia, hip-hop, pop, rock, and soul. All of these elements combine to make this long-anticipated collaboration between producer Danger Mouse and singer-songwriter Cee-Lo a truly exciting musical adventure. The fact that every track is expertly performed doesn't hurt; neither do the song titles such as "Go-Go Gadget Gospel" or "Feng Shui." Even the background vocals and hand claps are perfectly executed. Lyrically, most of the songs are simple yet expressive, with an underlying assumption of audience intelligence.

Is it any good?

The brilliance of this CD lies in the way the artists mold a wide variety of influences into a new sound that's familiar enough to be comfortably accessible while stretching limits and redefining genre. However, most parents will have some trouble with a few of the messages. "Monster in My Closet" is a delightful exploration of that universally scary fantasy, but depression, suicide, and cocaine are mentioned here and there; "Necromancer" appears to be about necrophilia, in pretty graphic terms. Uncomfortable as these themes may be, this is one instance where the music is good enough to make listening and engaging in difficult conversations (separating reality from fantasy, dealing with self-destructive impulses) worth the trouble.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between fantasy and reality, and the healing power of creative expression. They can also discuss the variety of musical influences here, and the creative way in which they're combined.

Music details

  • Artist: Gnarls Barkley
  • Release date: May 9, 2006
  • Label: Downtown
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No

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