So the double album is out now and I got to tell ya - I really would have preferred Andre and Big Boi working together on one record.
Right now I'm hating on Andre's "The Love Below." It gives me unwanted flashbacks to A Tribe Called Quest's final (and worst) album "The Love Movement." From what I've heard, it's a concept album about finding love, what love means, etc etc etc. There's a definite story arc going on. I'm positive the guy has interesting things to say and I'm pretty sure the album will grow on me over time, but right now it's just not for me.
Big Boi's "Speakerboxxx" is what the new Outkast album should have sounded like. It uses the newer sounds from tracks like "The Whole World" and "Land of 1000 Drums" as well as their odd timing. It balances them out with the righteous grooves and bass lines from "ATLiens" (though not on the same tracks.) Then you also have the progression of their soulful sound. Parts of this album have great classic soul vibes along the lines of Curtis Mayfield. Most of the drums are the sort of jungle / club beats heard on "Stankonia."
Speakerboxxx also has it's own version of Stankonia's "mmmmmmm... BREAK!" mini-interludes. This is a great example of albumry. It brings everything back to the album as an experience of its own. It brands the songs, if you wheel. Something like this works a lot better than the tired "fake radio station" gimmick heard fucking everywhere else. It also has a nice intro track that harkens back to old Public Enemy and Ice-T. It's not skit or anything, more like the opening credits of a movie. Just a beat and "scratches" of the "Speakerboxxx" vocal that pops up in the mini-interludes. It's just great fucking albumry.
Right now I'm only giving Speakerboxxx a 75% (in terms of good tracks to bad.) Some of the beats are going to take getting used to (and a couple I know I will never like - namely "standard rap tracks" featuring Jay-Z and Killer Mike, as well as the stupid interlude about egotistical drug dealers who think they're bigger than they are.) I expect that ratio to go up though as the more out there stuff grows on me.
Outkast's progression as artists and a group is one of the most appealing things about them for me. They are the U2 of hip hop. At one point in time they were fairly indistinguishable from other rap acts (like U2 once sounded jst like their contemporaries The Cure and Echo and The Bunnymen) but they took things in a unique direction and are committed to exploring that sound. You can hear their progression from album to album. With this album they are far enough out there that they could get lost floating in space but they stay on it. They've transcended hip hop like U2 transcended rock. Musically, I don't think another rap act has pulled this off except for the Beastie Boys. Plus, Big Boi manages to get introspective and maudlin without crying his eyes out like some of the fucking Wu-Tang.
I would have preferred one real Outkast album but it's interesting to have the new one split. It's uncharted territory, for one. Wu-Tang had too many solo albums and not all of the emcees deserved it. Outkast is a smaller outfit though so the idea is a better fit from the get-go. After hearing this double album you can go back and figure out which parts of the whole Outkast sound comes from Andre and which come from Big Boi.
Over all, it's spotty but a great buy if you can find it for $11 like I did. Two CDs from a major label and it was only $11!
Cut of the album - so far, it's Big Boi's "War." Try to find it through whatever channel you prefer. He manages to point out the 2000 election fiasco, the war in Iraq and mentions Operation Anaconda and Daniel Pearl by name. Musically it hits as hard as "The Art of Storytellin' Part 2" without the distorted sound.
See, I'm torn on this one. I haven't even listened to it yet, because I found out that the pre-release copy I bought was edited. But I gave it to my gf. So do I go buy an unedited version of it, thereby irking D, or accept an unacceptable edited copy?
I haven't heard anything on Big Boi's disc that would be ruined by an edit. Listen to the one you've got and see if you like it enough to buy another copy, then see if anything bothers you enough to get the explicit version.
The copy of GZA's "Legend of the Liquid Sword" that I have is editted and it doesn't take away from the songs I listen to (maybe 65-70%.)
I picked it up tonight, and have really only had time to listen to the Love Below... Part of it I REALLY like, part of it is so so, and part of it strikes me as really fucking strange, but I think I want to listen to it more to get a better feel on it.
And if Love Below was edited, you'd only hear about half of it :)
(edited by kazhayashi81 on 26.9.03 0106)
It is the soldier not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press
It is the soldier not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech
It is the soldier not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate
It is the soldier not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial
It is the soldier, who saluted the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag -Anonymous
Originally posted by Notorious F.A.B.They are the U2 of hip hop.
That wasn't very nice
I'm really digging the album, both sides. Getting a strict contrast between the two by having both disks come together works so well. Now if only Big Boi relied just a HAIR less on guest rappers...I was hoping to hear two "solo" albums in the more pure sense of the word. I guess that's the nature of the beast, although Andre seemed to be able to work around it.
Guest shots are the nature of the beast, but you'll notice those guests aren't listed on a sticker on the outside of the packaging. Cappadonna is by far the worst with guests. That stupid Yin Yang album I never bought had a guest on every track.
I'm starting to dig The Love Below. I like the realism of it.
While the idea of them splitting discs annoyed me as well, but I'm with FAB on how they have successfully chosen to explore their own sound in an age of sameness. I was a college student in Atlanta when they were first arriving on the music scene and have been closely following them since. From "Player's Ball" to "I Like the Way You Move"--That's growth.
I guess I accept this separate work as a clever way to have solo albums without tearing the group apart (which would be dreadful).
What's also very intriguing--here in MD--Dre's cut is getting heavy play on all the rock stations while BigBoi's cut is all over the hip/hop R&B waves.
Plus--they sold 500,000 copies in week one (their personal best). And a huge number in this time of waning CD sales.
P.S.--I think Outkast's personal best guest track was "Skew in on the Bar-B" featuring Raekwon.
I've been listening to Speakerboxxx all week and just started getting into The Love Below today. I have to say, i'm digging Dre's stuff more at the moment. His take on "My Favorite Things" is awesome. And "Hey Ya!" is just a song you can't get out of your head.
Both albums are pretty good. At the moment, The Love Below seems like something I could listen to straight without skipping a track. But I'm fickle with my music and by next week, i'm sure i'll be listening to Speakerboxxx over and over.
It definitely seems worth buying. At the moment i'm just "trying the album out" and do plan on picking up the double cd. I don't buy too many cd's either.
I forgot to mention "Take Off Your Cool" with Norah Jones. I'm not even a Norah Jones fan but this is definitely another favorite of mine of Dre's disc. Great collaboration.
(edited by GrubbyLongJohns on 28.9.03 1824) I *heart* Flower.
It's been a long, long time since I spent money on a new CD and twice as long since I rushed to buy something on opening day. I was as excited for Speakerboxxx/Love Below as I used to get for Christmas when I was a little kid.
Looks like I set my sights a little too high. The idea of a split CD appealed to me. I love Outkast because they're always growing, trying new things. And when I heard "Hey Ya" and saw the video, I nearly wept with unbridled joy. It is, without a doubt the best song of the year to me, and Andre 3000 was my cultural hero. Now I just can't understand, how after 5 or 6 listens, Love Below sounds like such a one-song CD. After this CD, I never want to hear a skit or an interlude on disc again. Half the CD sounds like fooling around, being cute and funny in the studio. I never thought I'd say this about anything Outkast does, but I don't care! Most of the more realized songs on the disc sound half-baked, like they had to rush to release the CD. When Hey Ya comes on, it's as if the whole CD comes to life for the first time. Then it's back to noodling around. I think it's great that Andre is learning to play sax and clarinet and turning away from hip hop. I have no problem with that. But with a few exceptions, it sounds like he doesn't know what he wants to do yet, or how to do it well, and that's a shame.
I was so busy looking forward to the Andre 3000 CD that I barely gave thought to Speakerboxxx. It turns out I was pinning all my hopes on the wrong half of Outkast. I think Big Boi's CD is relly strong, fun, and funky. It doesn't have some of the great singles that Stankonia had, but I've listened to Big Boi'sdisc about 3 times as much as Love Below. The only thing it's missing, I think is Andre.
The split sounded good on paper, as did Andre's non-hip hop exploration. But when it came down to it, this is the first Outkast CD that was weaker than it's predecessor.
My turntables might wobble but they don't fall down.
I listened to Love Below on a road trip today and damn if that disc isn't a flopped experiment. He gets much credit for stretching out, but is it really Outkast? he should have just hooked up with Prince and called it a day. And WTF is with Dre's fascination with that God damn English accent? I've said it before and I'll say it again: FUCK A SKIT.
Only two of the tracks hit me off the bat. I don't know the title, but the one with the chorus about roses smelling like poo poo is a good song. The other was the fucking masterful rendition of "A Few Of My Favorite Things." I've long been a fan of Coltrane's version. (To the other wiener who posted about that track - try to hunt down The Juggaknots' "Troubleman." It uses the piano introduction of Coltrane's track as the main loop for the song. Underground NYC stuff, 1996.)
The 1950s-sounding rock track with the hand claps and accoustic guitar is "nice" but it's the same way Wesley Willis is "nice."
(Edit: Best Outkast track - The Art Of Storytellin' Pts 1 & 2. Runner up: Wheels of Steel.)
(edited by Notorious F.A.B. on 29.9.03 0226) I hope HHH gets you fired.
Say what you will about "The Love Below", it does have the best line in the history of superfluous between-song sketches in hip-hop history: "She doesn't even need to have a big ass - just something well proportioned to her body".
Personally, I'm LOVING the "Love" album, because it *wasn't* what I was expecting from him. I'd like to see 50 Cent or Chingy show the type of experimentation that 'Dre shows in this album. And I'd LOVE to see a Prince/Andre collaboration. (Not crappy Jazz Fusion-era Prince, mind you, but Lovesexy, pre-Purple Rain-era Prince.)
Speakerboxxx is great, if only because it avoides the bass-by-numbers approach to hip-hop that most other Southern MC's use.
I am with you though, on the evils of the skit interludes. Listening to Andre stumble his way through a British accent is just PAINFUL. Although "Where are my Panties" did give me a chuckle.
I'd easily pay 15 bucks for EACH CD, so to find them both for $11 was like Christmas and my birthday all at once. Value-wise, it's easily my best album purchase of the year, just beating out the Dane Cook DVD/CD combo I picked up for 16 bucks a few weeks ago.
And damn all of you for bringing up the shit that was "The Love Movement". Hopefully the new Tribe album due out next year will be MUCH better.
Million Dollar Man, if you have anything else to say to me, send it in a PM.
I was thinking about the double album and why they packaged it the way they did. If they released the two of them separately as flat out solo albums, one of them would have sold more copies. I know I would have stuck with Speakerboxxx. Love is probably only going to be played for kitsche value and the Coltrane number.
And I have no hope for Tribe anymore. Q-tip fell off in a way that you just can't come back from. Vibrant thing my ass. Making it Blend, feh. Unless Phife is suddenly dictator of the group, that album's going to be poop.
Originally posted by Notorious F.A.B.Million Dollar Man, if you have anything else to say to me, send it in a PM.
And lose his audience? YEAH RIGHT.
Meanwhile, I just read the Outkast interview in XXL. Of course they each get their own cover (I bought Andre's) and seperate interviews to boot.
Both swear up and down that they're not breaking up.
When the possibility of eventually going solo is brought up, Big Boi says "No way, never happen". Andre says "Never can tell".
Apparently, Andre was already working on this "solo" album for a movie that fell through (?? They didnt get into much detail on that), so he was like "Big Boi, why dont you do your own album and we'll release them as a double album!" and Big Boi was all, "Sweet". Then Big Boi finished his album waay first and had to sit on his hands and wait months and months for Andre to finish his.
I'm listening to "Hey Ya" for the dozenth time tonight right now as I type this.
Their first album went platinum, #2 went 1.5 x platinum, #3 went 2(?) x platinum, #4 went 4 x platinum. Not too shabby.
They each make each others "Top 5 MC's out right now" list.
All of the preceeding is what I remember off the top of my head after reading the interview(s) like 10 hours ago.
I'm purchasing this mamma-jamma tomorrow WITHOUT FAIL.