Why Outkast’s Idlewild is their most underrated album

Most of us are quite familiar with the albums Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens, Aquemini, and Stankonia.  In my opinion every Outkast album is a masterpiece and I really believe their album/soundtrack for the movie Idlewild is underrated. The soundtrack for the film released in 2006 starring Andre 3000 and Big Boi, was the follow-up for The Love Below, and I think they did an excellent job. (Which says a lot because I think The Love Below is their best album).

Idlewild spent only minimal time on the music charts, I might guess many fans had forgotten about this album.  I think the reason for this is because it’s a different sound from what they normally do. They always switch it up, and I admire that consistency for change and experimentation with sound.

You have the juxtapositions of nostalgic forms of music in there like blues, ragtime and jazz all being modernized with hip-hop. The sound is eclectic and the topics vary from infidelity, divorce, death, and passion for music. By listening to the track you can easily tell Rooster (Big Boi) is unfaithful to his wife and eventually changes his ways. Andre 3000 (Percival) undergoes multiple tragedies including his boss’ death, and even attempts to hang himself at one point. Percival (3000) somehow manages to overlook these tragedies and realize what is most important: his music.

This twenty-five track album is a southern jazzy masterpiece, and although Andre and Big Boi are on very few songs together, their separate work still does not go unnoticed.

I have heard the “best songs” on the album are only songs with the duo, which I would say is half true. I agree “Mighty O,” which samples legend Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” “Morris Brown” are excellent tracks, and yes I love how they incorporated Scar and Sleepy Brown–but that does not mean they are the only good songs. The instrumentation on Big Boi’s solo “Peaches” is a tune I really love, the chorus especially. Some critics have claimed the tracks with Andre 3000 singing “lonesome“ are the worst; and I beg to differ with this. Outkast kills it as a duo and as a solo. I personally think Andre 3000 has one of the most beautiful voices in this world, so to say his solo songs are “okay” are somewhat insulting.

“Idlewild Blue (Don’tchu Worry Bout Me)” is an example of this. I don’t care what anyone says, it is not the “least” liked in my opinion. I was 9 when I first saw this music video and I became so transfixed with Andre playing the guitar as the house floods, this man could do no wrong musically.

I also really loved the upbeat piano and trumpets in Andre’s solo “When I Look in Your Eyes.” “Hollywood Divorce” which featured Lil Wayne, conveyed Rooster’s troubles with his marriage very well in a somber way. “Chronomentrophobia” was powerful as Andre addressed how shocked he was to see that he made it so far in his life and how racism still continues, he speaks as if he has already died and is telling you what he said as a young man turned out to be the truth.

In my opinion I think the production and range of the album are not recognized enough. Outkast always stays unique and is unafraid to take chances by experimenting with different genres of music.

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