Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi: Rome

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi

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Rome is an interesting album for two reasons. One reason is the music itself. Apparently Danger Mouse had a spaghetti western itch to scratch so he called in Italian film composer Daniele Luppi to see what they could come up with. The result is pretty authentic sounding, which is no surprise considering they got a lot of veteran musicians to perform on the album. Danger Mouses’ signature is all over Rome though. That means kickin’ drums, a strong dose of psychedelic rock, and lots of electric piano. The album’s many instrumentals sound like if Ennio Morricone got a little funky. It could be the soundtrack to The Good,The Bad, and The Groovy or Once Upon a Time in da Club. As cool as they are though, all they sound like is film score music. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I find myself mostly waiting for the tracks with vocals to come on.

Those vocals are provided by a couple of the biggest names in modern music, Jack White and Norah Jones. Jones handles the melodramatic ballads, my favorite of which is “Problem Queen.” White takes the big, grand tracks including the sweeping closer, “The World.” White is no stranger to large-scale western music. Anyone remember “The Switch and The Spur?” How about “Conquest?” He and Danger Mouse are a match made in heaven. It’s surprising it took this long for the two men with more projects then anyone else in the world (except maybe Mike Patton) to hook up. I sincerely hope it’s not the last time. No one could deny that Danger Mouse producing the next Raconteurs album would be awesome. Their aesthetics match up so well. Make it happen guys!

The other reason this album is so interesting has more to do with the nature of the music business. Times are notoriously tough for exciting new music to get noticed. Labels are only supporting sure things, which in most cases are mega-popstars. That’s why it’s amazing to me that Rome is causing such a fuss. It’s receiving coverage from almost every music publication. Sure it’s good, but it’s not great. I never would have thought people would be going nuts over what is basically the score to a film that doesn’t exist. The soundtrack to Kill Bill didn’t get this much attention and, musically, it’s pretty comparable.

I have no doubt that all the attention is only attributed to the high-profile people involved. If Danger Mouse hadn’t already proven himself time and time again I’m sure this album would have flown completely under the radar. It’s frustrating that emerging artists can’t get the same attention for really great music, which is often far more commercial than Rome is. I shouldn’t be too cynical though. As long as eccentric musicians can have their passion projects and I can hear them, I should be happy.

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