No young chickens in the game, Goodie Mob's cleverly titled Age Against the Machine from 2013 plays on the fact that they hit the scene way back in the '90s. Hard to believe, but 14 years have passed since Cee Lo has recorded with the group. As expected with his return -- after becoming an A-list celebrity judging The Voice, scoring Rolling Stone's song of the decade "Crazy" with Gnarls Barkley, and two notable solo albums -- as executive producer, his huge personality takes the Southern rap act in a different direction. Age Against the Machine is entirely more exploratory (read: weirder) than any prior Goodie album. The most obvious reference point is OutKast's Stankonia, with its immense scope and futuristic mix of hyperactive beats and synthesized slow jams. If Cee Lo provides the André 3000 mindset to the equation, pushing the music to otherworldly boundaries, the other three members (Big Gipp, Khujo, and T-Mo) play the role of Big Boi as they ground the album in Southern swag with energetic, forceful rhymes. Guest singer Janelle Monáe adds her unique brand of sci-fi, and elsewhere, the album becomes cinematic in other ways, enriched by the horror film strings accenting "State of the Art (Radio Killa)" or the '70s action crime thriller vibe on "I'm Set," which lifts horns from David Shire's Taking of Pelham 123 soundtrack. By the end of the album, Cee Lo's presence dominates and songs start falling closer to material from The Odd Couple. Even when AATM feels like it is coming straight out of left field, it is highly entertaining.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover