In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in celebration of the new Black Keys record, our favorite songs by duos.
Super-duo Gnarls Barkley hit it huge in 2006 with “Crazy,” but CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse never found another hit that size. It wasn’t for lack of trying: 2008’s The Odd Couple is painfully underrated, mostly because it doesn’t have anything nearly as grabby as “Crazy” on it. But the single “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” is absolutely gorgeous, a slow-burning trip-hop number that owes a bit to the king of that genre, Portishead’s “Sour Times.” It’s a desperately lonely torch song about the end of a relationship, one that Green doesn’t want to let go. The music hangs back, almost unchanging, letting him work soulfully through self-pity and into his big realization: “Was it possible you were hurting worse than me?” And then there’s the matter of the video, directed by Chris Milk, which is both kind of brilliant and incredibly distracting. In it, Lonely Island member Jorma Taccone sits in a diner booth being dumped by his girlfriend, eventually reaching for a knife and cutting out his own heart, which proceeds to dance around and sing the song into a piece of broccoli. If it weren’t for all the dialogue, it’d be even better. As it stands, you’ll have to treat the video and the song as almost separate entities—watch first, then listen to a version without all the chitchat. Both are worth it.