Danger Mouse has an amazing track record making experimental pop music. He arguably brought mash-ups to the masses with The Grey Album (which landed in at number six on my list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 00’s). Went on to produce music ranging from Gorillaz to The Black Keys. Then teamed up with Cee Lo Green to create the Greatest Song of the 00’s and most recently released an album with James Mercer of the Shins.
His latest work may be his most ambitious. Rome is a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, with vocals contributed by Jack White and Norah Jones which is inspired by music from spaghetti westerns. If sounding like the soundtrack to a spaghetti western was their goal, the certainly achieved it with haunting strings and choral arrangements seen through the spectrum of Danger Mouse’s weird pop sensibilities. But therein lies the problem with Rome: it sounds like a movie score and movie scores really only work with the accompanying visuals of the movie. The instrumentals by themselves are a bit of a bore.
The album is salvaged by the vocals with Jack White and Norah Jones getting three songs each and bother were an inspired choice. There is no other voice you can imagine than White’s on Two Against One where Jack brings a much needed bravado to the song. You can just picture him in a cowboy hat singing the song to an old-time mirror in an actual western.
But Jones is the standout as she goes into full cabaret mode for Season’s Tree and Black getting sultrier than of the songs off her albums to the point you will hope that she makes a full record featuring this persona she created for Rome. Yet mostly after listening to Rome, you will wish that Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi had released an accompanying short film because most of the album is just missing something that will make you listen to it multiple times.
Songs to Download – Black
Rome gets a on my Terror Alert Score.