Irrelevant Troubadour


OutKast, Stankonia
March 3, 2011, 8:27 pm
Filed under: music

Howdy folks.  You know what time it is?  It’s TV Tropes Album Exchange Club time!  This is a review of OutKast’s Stankonia.

So this album is amazing. Let’s just put that out on the table where we all can see it.

It’s strange: my usual wall-of-text tendencies have deserted me for this album. Partly it’s because I don’t have a lot of experience in the criticism of hip-hop; partly it’s because I can’t really find many major flaws in this album to nitpick. Instead, I think I’ll just go though it and point out the moments on this album that most struck me.

  • I quite like “Gasoline Dreams”. The psychedelic guitar backing makes the whole thing sounds amazingly vicious.
  • Some great wordplay in the super-cool “So Fresh So Clean”. “A leopard-print teddy…Pendergrass” indeed. Though I don’t know why Andre 3000 felt the need to namecheck Anne Frank; that only works for Jeff Mangum.
  • I know it may be a bit overplayed, but I don’t think I can gush enough about “Ms. Jackson”. Seriously, this song has everything I like: backwards drums, slap bass, a hooky chorus, and lyrics that manage to tell an impossibly complex story, a conflicted internal monologue.
  • “Snappin’ and Trappin'” is another great song, but I can’t help but notice how much Big Boi manages to overshadow guest rapper Killer Mike.
  • “Kim & Cookie” is hilarious.
  • Oh man, “I’ll Call Before I Come”. I actually did a double take when this song came on. Why? Because the kind of vintage synth-funk backing they’re rapping over sounds exactly like Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On, one of my favorite albums. Seriously: compare “I’ll Call Before I Come” to this:
  • “B.O.B.” is, according to Pitchfork, the best song of the decade. For once, Pitchfork isn’t all that off.
  • The only song I really didn’t like all that much was “We Luv Deez Hoez”, though that may be a result of my hatred of fake laughter.
  • “Humble Mumble” seems to be a favorite here, and I offer my complete agreement.
  • “?” could’ve been a good deal longer. It could’ve been a great song on its own; instead it serves as an intro to the great dark soulful number “Red Velvet”, but it could’ve stood on its own.
  • Then again, I also thought “Cruisin in the ATL” could’ve been its own song, so what do I know.
  • “Toilet Tisha” is way better than any song with the word “toilet” in the title has a right to be. It also manages to be scarier than any “horrorcore” rap I’ve ever heard; it perfectly captures the nightmarishness of the story it tells in the music.
  • Hey, is that Cee-Lo Green on “Slum Beautiful”? I knew him mostly as a singer, but he’s a rather taleneted rapper too. Cool.
  • Not sure I would ever listen to “Stankonia (Stanklove)” on its own, but it makes a great album closer.

So in summing up: yeah, I really liked this album.

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