Danger Mouse's Metacritic Handicap

Jul. 14, 2008
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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 Ė S/T: 76
Gnarls Barkley Ė The Odd Couple
: 76
Beck Ė Modern Guilt: 76

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

Another less publicized 2008 Danger Mouse collaboration, Martina Topley-Birdís The Blue God hasnít received enough coverage to make Metacritic, but judging from the published reviewed, would probably score about a 75 (itís actually a worthwhile trip-hop album, sad and subdued in all the right ways).

These scores arenít bad, and by and large, neither are the albumsóin particular, the Gnarls Barkley and Beck discs are pretty wonderful, even if they arenít the masterpieces some fans (and apparently critics) were hoping for. Itís hard to say, though, whether the only so-so reviews reflect a growing and ominous indifference to the prolific producer, or whether theyíll 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, heís carefully lowering them, setting the stage for a prolonged career.

ÖOf course, thatís what it seemed like Dan the Automator was doing at the turn of the century, too.

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