Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” Lyrics Meaning

As the title (“Crazy”) suggests, this song is based on the mental instability of the singer. More specifically, it reads somewhat as a narrative on how he perceives ‘craziness’ in himself and others.

In the first verse he recounts when he ‘lost his mind’. And he ultimately came to the realization that the reason he “was out of touch” wasn’t due to some type of mental deficiency per se but rather as a result of ‘knowing too much’.  And in being so, he insinuates that his level of thinking is actually on a higher level than that of the next man. Finally, in the chorus he asks if possessing such a mindframe indeed makes him “crazy”.

The second verse is based on the idea that even some people who may think they are sane and “in control” are indeed “crazy”, at least in the eyes of the singer.

The final verse is actually the most-poetic of the track. The general interpretation of this section is that CeeLo Green is once again questioning his own sanity, but this time he throws his “heroes” into the fray. This passage comes off as if his “heroes” are the likes of entertainers who preceded him who “had the heart to lose their lives out on the limb” in order to succeed. So basically they were willing to put it all on the line in the pursuit of success. And based on the theme of the song, it would point back to the idea of they too being a tad “crazy”. And CeeLo has adopted this selfsame attitude, thus potentially making him “crazy” also.

Lyrics of "Crazy"


Ultimately, even though this was based on a somewhat of a joke between CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse, its narrative is meant to point back the self-determination of the artists and their ilk. That is to say that sometimes when a person is obsessed with achieving a goal, he or she may be perceived as having mental issues, as in being overly-zealous and crazy. But at the same time, CeeLo is coming off like he views complacent people who don’t go all-out as rather the ones with issues. Moreover, he acknowledges the aforementioned mentality as one he must more or less possess in order to be successful in achieving his lofty aspirations.

Writing Credits for “Crazy”

Gnarls Barkley is a musical duo. It consists of Danger Mouse, a producer from Downstate New York and CeeLo Green, a vocalist from Atlanta.

As such, Danger Mouse produced this track, and “Crazy” was written by both he and CeeLo Green. They penned the song with Piero Reverberi and his brother, Franco Reverberi.

Release Date of “Crazy”

Downtown Records and the Warner Music Group officially released “Crazy” on 4 April 2006. It was the lead single from Gnarls Barkley’s debut album entitled “St. Elsewhere”.

The song actually leaked in late 2005. This turned out to be a fortunate event for Gnarls Barkley, especially in the United Kingdom. For due to the song blowing up beforehand, being played heavily by the likes of influential DJ Zane Lowe, when it was officially dropped, it went on to set the record for the most-downloaded song ever in the UK.

More Accolades

And another record it will hold onto forever is being the first song to top the UK Singles Chart solely from the sale of downloads.

Moreover when it did reach the apex of the list, it remained there for nine weeks. This was a feat which no other song had done in over a decade prior.

Accordingly “Crazy” was nominated for “Record of the Year” in the United Kingdom.

Other countries in which “Crazy” went to number one are:

  •  Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland 

Moreover the tune has been certified multi-Platinum in Canada, the United Kingdom and United States.

In fact it also replicated the feat of being nominated for “Record of the Year” at the US-based Grammys in 2007. It didn’t win that award, but it did take home a Grammy for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance”.

Conclusively, the track was nominated for a number of awards from different organizations and featured on a bevy of ‘best song’ lists. For instance, reputable music publication Rolling Stone named it as the ‘Best Song of the Year’ in 2006.

Additionally they also placed it on their 2011 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, placing it at an admirable position of number 100.

All in one take!

CeeLo Green has stated that he recorded this classic song “in one take”. He also insinuated that he didn’t really expect it to be a hit.

Live at MTV

Gnarls Barkley famously performed “Crazy” at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards, with themselves and their bandmates dressed as characters from the popular “Star Wars” film franchise.

Covers of “Crazy”

This track has been covered by a number of artists, most notably the likes of Violent Femmes, Paris Hilton and Maroon 5.

“Crazy” has also been featured on quite a few pop-media franchises. Some of them include: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

1 Response

  1. DS says:

    I love that song! I’ve downloaded it and play it as much as I can!!
    Mental health issues in this world is at a all time high and this song should be playing to show people dealing with mental issues that they are like everyone else…

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