"Dark Night of the Soul" by Danger Mouse

Danger Mouse
Dark Night of the Soul

Parlophone
2010

Review

In spite of the title, the controversy, and the guest appearances, this album feels very much like the spiritual successor to "The Good The Bad and The Queen".

Danger Mouse is like the auditory Banksy and at this point should really need no introduction at all. His consistency as a producer has managed to span many projects and genres. His work includes forays into Hip-Hop, Blues, and Rock. On this collaboration with Sparklehorse (Linkous) he continues to branch out into stranger more atmospheric experiments - which makes perfect sense considering he's got David Lynch on board to provide photography and "album" art. To me, this album seems to be a kindred spirit in terms of instrumentation and tone to his work with Damon Albarn on "The Good The Bad and The Queen" project - just with more of a variety of guests.

Much has been made about the controversy surrounding the release of the music itself. I will avoid discussion of the controversy and instead let the LA Times explain the situation better than I could have and instead focus on the music. I listened to the record quite a few times on the NPR homepage and let me just say that it is unfortunate that the album may never see the full retail release that it was intended for. You can, however, purchase the packaging along with a blank CD-R directly from the artists themselves.

Considering the title of the album and the involvement of David Lynch, I expected something a lot more discordant and dark. Interestingly enough the few moments on the album that gave me what I was expecting before listening to it I did not much care for. I count "Angel's Harp", "Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It)", "Grim Augury", and the titular "Dark Night Of The Soul" as my least favorite songs on the album. I think that the David Lynch contributions to the music could have benefited from having an actual singer on the tracks. In particular, I think that Dan Auerbach would have killed it on "Dark Night Of The Soul".

The rest of the album however, is brilliant. Starting things off on the right foot is "Revenge" featuring The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne spins tales of the dish best served cold over a haunting, atmospheric track. This opener would make great theme music for a tragedy with lines like:

The more I try to hurt you the more it backfires

"Just War" is an excellently constructed song that would have been right at home on "The Good The Bad And The Queen" while the Julian Casablancas collaboration "Little Girl" is ridiculous and is for me by the best track on the album. After hearing the song a few times, I started to pine for a press release stating that Danger Mouse would be producing the next Strokes record (it hasn't happened - yet. Let's start a campaign to make it so).

The other standout track for me is "Everytime I'm With You". I've never heard a song that was such a great example of a love letter to your enabler:

Everytime I'm with you I am drunk and you are too, what the hell else are we supposed to do.

The rest of the album is great too...but you should go listen to it before it gets taken down.

I suppose if you think about the themes brought forth on the album, you do start to see the outlines of the emotions that darken our souls. But there are so many hopeful melodies and lullabys on the album that even when the themes get dark, the music keeps things upbeat. Danger Mouse continues his streak of fantastic collaborations and I am hoping that I get a chance to catch the art exhibition in LA before it closes.

Here's to hoping that either the artists find a way to get this album to retail or that all of you interested listeners find a way to fill up those blank CD-R's with what was originally intended to be put on them.

4.077 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Revenge (04:56) 5
2. Just War (03:45) 5
3. Jaykub (03:54) 4
4. Little Girl (04:31) 5
5. Angel's Harp (02:58) 3
6. Pain (02:50) 4
7. Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It) (03:08) 3
8. Everytime I'm With You (03:11) 5
9. Insane Lullaby (03:11) 5
10. Daddy's Gone (03:10) 4
11. Man Who Played God (03:09) 5
12. Grim Augury (02:31) 2
13. Dark Night of the Soul (04:40) 3