So why is OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
By the early 2000s, I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, working in the startup scene, and dating the woman I would marry in 2003*. Which is to say, this was a period that I wasn’t as deeply tuned into current, popular music as I was through much of the 1990s.
* Our twenty-year anniversary is this summer, wild!
I was kind of familiar with OutKast by the time “Hey Ya!” seemingly could be heard from every car, restaurant, department store, and dental office waiting room. I had gotten really into a remix of the song, “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad),” which is off of the Stankonia album from 2000. I found it through Napster or one of the early peer-to-peer file sharing sites, and that particular remix (which I tried to dig up but couldn’t!) is one of a ton of amazing remixes and rare songs that I no longer have access to. This vexes me more than you can know from time to time.
Anyway, the “deluxe” edition Stankonia includes the “Zach de la Rocha” remix of “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad),” which is good, but not nearly as good as the version I hear in my mind’s ear.
Onward to Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a huge, sprawling “double album” that’s split into two parts to separately showcase the talents of OutKast’s duo of Big Boi and Andre 3000.
We better start with the “Hey Ya!” of it all, if only because it’s arguably one of the most popular songs of this entire century to date. I will freely admit that I fell in hate with “Hey Ya!” simply from oversaturation. But I’ve come back around, so I’m happy to report that it’s pretty great, showcasing OutKast and Andre 3000’s unique energy, exuberance, and offbeat spirit, bringing the emerging Dirty South vibe and a deep funk and hip-hop sound.
In looking at the album’s large number of tracks and two and a quarter hours(!) of running time, I’m most impressed by how eclectic and consistently good it is all told.
For example, I’m pretty dazzled by this instrumental, hip hop take on John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” (one of my favorite jazz songs by perhaps my favorite jazz artist, as aside).
And then I’m just impressed with the deep-fried weirdo ambition of “Dracula’s Wedding,” featuring Kelis, who adds a really nice dynamic with her vocal performance.
Over on the Big Boi half of the double album, it’s again out of left field tracks like “War” – more than hit song, “The Way You Move” – that get and hold my attention most.
Some stats & info about OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, Alternative Rap, Dirty South
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #290
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Speakerboxxx/The Love Below released? 2003
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #466 out of 1,000
OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Shake it like a Polaroid picture.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.