Idlewild and Hootie
Outkast are one of the few rap acts I genuinely enjoy, and their new album (a soundtrack for their film Idlewild) is, unsurprisingly, genuinely fun. It's not quite what I expected, since given the film is a period piece set in the Depression, I kind of expected more of a 1930's feel to the music. Sort of like hip-hop, but with more of a classic jazzy feel to it. A few tracks are tinged with a ragtime feel, but overall it's basically a hip-hop album that is taken in a lot of weird musical places. So, basically, it's an Outkast album.
I submit that Big Boi is the more talented of the Outkast duo. Here's my take on it, and since Outkast are from Atlanta, I'll stick to Atlanta sports metaphors. Andre 3000 is like Michael Vick. Immensely talented and capable of bursts of genius (Hey Ya = leading his team to the first ever playoff win by a road team at Lambeau Field), but seemingly unable to fully bring everything together for a complete season/album. Big Boi, on the other hand, is Tom Glavine. Nobody will ever get too excited about Tom Glavine, and attention is often drawn to his more unique teammates like John Smoltz or Greg Maddux. But when push comes to shove, he's consistent day in and day out, and in his own way, is just as creative and 'out there' as his counterpart. I found the Big Boi songs to be generally more interesting than Andre's on Idlewild, though this disc doesn't have the direct split between the duo that Speakerboxx/Love Below did. Frankly, there are so many co-authors and co-producers on songs that you could argue that Idlewild is more akin to 'Outkast & Friends.'
Favorite song after one listen: Call The Law
I also recently got Panic! At The Disco's album (meh) and a Hootie greatest hits album, which I enjoyed immensely. Goddamn, Hootie were a good band. Why did everyone suddenly decide they sucked about halfway through 1996? They were even responsible for the most dated episode of Friends ever, when the gang are all excited about tickets to a Hootie concert. Seeing that episode now is like seeing an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show where Dick refers uses outdated racial terms. (If any such episodes existed. I don't think the DVD Show often dealt with the burgeoning racial issues of the day.)