Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Danger Mouse's Metacritic Handicap

By Evan Rytlewski
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Judging from Metacritic, critics have formed a predictable consensus on each new Danger Mouse project: Good but not great.

Here are the Metacritic scores for three recent Danger Mouse albums:
The Good, The Bad & The Queen – S/T: 76
Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
: 76
Beck – Modern Guilt: 76

One other 2008 Danger Mouse album, though, topped that critical 76—albeit not by much:
Black Keys - Attack and Release: 77

Another less publicized 2008 Danger Mouse collaboration, Martina Topley-Bird’s The Blue God hasn’t received enough coverage to make Metacritic, but judging from the published reviewed, would probably score about a 75 (it’s actually a worthwhile trip-hop album, sad and subdued in all the right ways).

These scores aren’t bad, and by and large, neither are the albums—in particular, the Gnarls Barkley and Beck discs are pretty wonderful, even if they aren’t the masterpieces some fans (and apparently critics) were hoping for. It’s hard to say, though, whether the only so-so reviews reflect a growing and ominous indifference to the prolific producer, or whether they’ll actually benefit him. Danger Mouse has long been a victim of unrealistic expectations, and by flooding the market now with strong but not revolutionary releases, he’s carefully lowering them, setting the stage for a prolonged career.

…Of course, that’s what it seemed like Dan the Automator was doing at the turn of the century, too.

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