Single Review: Oukast “Hey Ya”

Hey Ya!
Year: 2003
Album: Speakerboxx/The Love Below

In the music video for “Hey Ya,” Andre 3000 is re-enacting the Ed Sullivan’s Beatles appearance. However, instead of the British coming to America, it’s the other way around. It would also prove true. “Hey Ya” went on to become an international hit, peaking at #3 in the UK. Outkast, like Jay-Z and Enimen, were among the top mainstream rappers.

However, Andre 3000’s success is not without its flaws. “Hey Ya” is the group’s weakest effort. Vanilla and substance-free, the single seems like it’s three songs wrapped into one. It begins well, with the tightly written verses 1 and 2. Andre’s in an uncertain relationship (“But does she really wanna/But can’t stand to see me walk out the do'”) and knows it’s going to end soon (“Oh, we get together/but seperate’s always better/when there’s feelings involved.”) Next, it’s onto song #2 – “I want your sex.” In the bridge, he admits he rather sleep with her than have a relationship. Then, after the bridge, it becomes song #3 – the irritating party chant. He asks people “what’s cooler than being cool?” and both guys and girls each get a chance to respond with “ice cold.” Other than a few witty one-liners (“Lend me some sugar/I am your neighbor!” & “shake it like a polariod picture”), the chant is mediocre and tacked on. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the song.

Unusually corny, the music is similar to the A*Teens brand of pop. However, with some naughtiness and extra drums. Although the chorus is pensive, the brisk pace voids the serious lyrics completely. Andre is trying to be both casual and earnest, causing the single to be whatever people what it to be. No need for them to actually listen to the lyrics. “Hey Ya” is simply background noise, hindering Outkast’s reputation as the only hip hop worth hearing.

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