The one thing no one can accuse Outkast of is playing it safe. Having just come off a Grammy-winning and critically acclaimed double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and endless rumors of a possible break-up, Outkast decided to pull out the big guns and fire off Idlewild. Not only that, but they decided to attach a movie, of the same name, to it as well.
If the album is any indication of what the movie will be like, it is going to be a dazzling, semi-satisfying trip.
Idlewild is a raucous, demanding album full of hip-hop, blues, swing and jazz. yes, it’s all here.
And so are the guest artists; familiar voices like Sleepy Brown and Killer Mike are back on track, while some new voices like Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, and Lil’ Wayne pack themselves into a couple songs. It’s certainly no wonder artists as big as Macy and Snoop want to get onboard the Outkast express. The group, comprised of Big Boi and Andre “3000,” is so big and glamorous right now that anyone not interested in hopping on would be a fool. Or maybe not.
The truth is, while Idlewild is certainly wild, it is not without problems, and there are some major ones. Like the fact that half of the album is sadly misguided and embarrassingly hit-or-miss.
Tracks like “Morris Brown,” “The Train,” “In Your Dreams,” “Call the Law” and “Hollywood Divorce” are on fire with the same energy that people have come to expect from Outkast. But the rest of the album, while still holding its own with some interesting twists and turns, is somewhat mediocre and sometimes, but rarely, awful. Songs “Makes No Sense at All,” “Buggface” and the painful “Greatest Show on Earth” feel like a slap in the face.
Idlewild feels like an elaborate party that you’re not invited to but attend anyways. Maybe you’ll get a couple good dances in and crack a smile every once in a while, but you’ll leave realizing that maybe the reason you weren’t invited was because the party really wasn’t meant for you to begin with.
But then it’ll leave you wondering, who was it meant for in the first place?
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.