Search This Blog

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture!

Hello, everybody, and happy Super Bowl Sunday to all of you reading this!

I know that the big game is today, and I am sure that you are absolutely anxious to find out whether the Seahawks or the Broncos will take home the coveted Super Bowl trophy.

(Or, if you're like me, you're more interested in the halftime show and television commercials - which thanks to Canadian simulcasting we always seem to get gypped out of the latter.)

However, I just want you to take the time to read this Sunday Jukebox entry for today.  It will only take you a few minutes.  After that, you can go ahead and gorge on all the buffalo wings, pepperoni pizza, and pork rinds you desire.

Now, if you've kept up with the Sunday Jukebox entries for this year, you'll know that I am doing things a little bit differently.  This year, every song that is featured will be one that has hit the top of the Billboard charts for at least one week.  Now, this might not seem like much of a challenge.  After all, since the Billboard charts were first implemented in 1940, it's estimated that hundreds, if not thousands of songs have hit #1.

But I'm also going to issue a bit of a challenge to myself when doing this week's blog entry. 

Now, if you were a regular reader of the blog in February 2013, you'll know that I made every entry that month linked to an event known as
BLACK HISTORY MONTH.  It was certainly one of the toughest challenges that I have ever given myself, but very rewarding at the same time.  I ended up learning a lot of information and history with each post - some of which I did not know prior to writing the articles. 

I so wanted to do something similar for this February as well, but I ended up coming to the realization that I used up all of my good topics last year, so I won't be able to devote the whole month to celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of black artists, singers, actors, and trailblazers. 

But, I will be doing a selection of special themed blog topics that will celebrate Black History Month.  Mostly you can find them in the Sunday Jukebox, Friday Night TV Guide, and possibly even the Tuesday Timeline entries.  But again, I could change things up a little bit too, if I so decide.

So, here's my added challenge for today.  Can I choose a #1 song and have it be performed by artists of colour?

Well, the answer of course is yes.  And what better year to visit than ten years ago?

You see, the year 2004 was an unprecedented year in music history.  A total of twelve songs topped the charts in the year 2004, and every single song that hit the top of the Billboard charts that year were recorded by an African-American group or artist!  I can't even remember any other year where this has taken place.  Although, 2003 came really close to being similar (the only artists to have a hit that year who were not African-American were Jennifer Lopez, Eminem, and Clay Aiken).

The point is that 2004 is a perfect year to try and find a #1 song by an artist of African-American descent.  But which one should I choose?  Should I feature Usher (who had a #1 hit for twenty-eight of the year's fifty-two weeks)?  Should I choose Alicia Keys?  Ciara?  Fantasia Barrino?

Nah.  I think I'll choose this song, which actually is one of the rare songs to hit the top of the charts in two calendar years.  It first hit the #1 position on December 13, 2003 and stayed there until February 14, 2004 - an outstanding nine weeks on the charts.

And even more interesting...the song that replaced this song was recorded by the same group!

Get ready to shake it like a Polaroid picture!  Here's this week's Sunday Jukebox!

ARTIST:  OutKast
SONG:  Hey Ya!
ALBUM:  Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
DATE RELEASED:  September 9, 2003

And, just on a personal note.  I have ALWAYS loved this song!

I mean, is it not the perfect song to get moving to?  You can dance to it.  Work out to it.  Walk a steady pace with it.  Heck, you could even listen to it at a wedding!  Or a bar mitzvah!  Or on National Pickle Day!

(Well, to some people, National Pickle Day is a huge celebration...)

So, what is there to say about this song?  I'm going to get to that in a little bit.  But first, there's a very interesting story behind this particular album, as well as what went into recording this particular song.

The album that this song appears on is actually the fifth album that was released by the duo known as OutKast.  That duo, by the way, is made up of Andre "Andre 3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton.

Well, after four albums of collaborating and scoring some decent hits like "Bombs Over Baghdad" and "Ms. Jackson", OutKast decided to go a different route with their latest collaboration.

It was decided that the duo would do a double album.  Which I suppose isn't all that unusual.  After all, lots of greatest hits packages come in double albums, and last year Justin Timberlake's 20/20 Experience album was released in two parts.  

What was unusual was the fact that the album was released as what seemed to be two separate albums by two solo artists.  The first album, "Speakerboxxx" was released by Big Boi, and "The Love Below" was Andre 3000's project.

And, there were certainly hits on both albums.  On "Speakerboxxx", "The Way You Move" hit the #1 spot in February 2004 (immediately following "Hey Ya!"), and "Ghetto Musick" was also released, while "Prototype", "Roses", and "Hey Ya!" appeared on "The Love Below" album. 

Now, the reason why the duo decided to make separate albums and release them in the same compilation had nothing to do with band troubles, nor did it signify a band break-up by any means (though the group's final album release was in 2006).  Rather, it was a way for both members of the group to try their hand at their own creative projects while keeping their commitment to the OutKast name.  Initially, critics were unsure that this was the right way for the group to go, as they believed that the two solo albums would diminish the value of the OutKast brand, but in all honesty, the different sounds of the two discs flowed together very well, and offered up several different styles and flavours of music that actually made the group more versatile. 

Who knew that the figurative split up of a group would end up making some sweeter music?  Or, at the very least, music that you could dance to!

Now, it was decided early on that the lead singles for both albums would be "The Way You Move" by Big Boi, and "Hey Ya" by Andre 3000.  But ultimately, "Hey Ya" was the much larger hit.  And, part of the reason was because of the music video.

Now, do you remember earlier in the year, I did that feature on Phil Collins' "Two Hearts", where the video showed four different Phils playing in the same band on some sort of variety show?  Well, the video for "Hey Ya" borrows that idea.  In fact, the video is designed to simulate the appearance that The Beatles made on The Ed Sullivan Show nearly fifty years ago on February 9, 1964 (that's next week, everybody).  The only major differences were that the video was supposed to be set in London and not New York (therefore making it kind of like the British television series "Top of the Pops"), and that instead of just four "Beatles", there were no less than eight different interpretations of Andre 3000!

It truly was a spectacle to be seen.

Now what's "Hey Ya" all about?  Well, contrary to what the song says, it's not about shaking it like a Polaroid picture.  Truth be told, the technique of shaking Polaroid pictures only existed on the earliest rolls of the film, which made the film dry faster if the photos were shaken.

No, if you can decipher the lyrics of the song, you might find that it is all about a person who seems to be having doubts about the relationship that he is in.  As much as he would like to have a traditional, loving relationship with his love, he questions whether or not she wants the same thing, or if they are just staying together for the sake of being together.

Because as anyone who has ever been in a loveless relationship knows, staying together for the sake of staying together is not the healthiest way to maintain a relationship. 

And by the time we get to the second verse, the narrator is thinking that maybe they should just call it a day and end the relationship for good.

And, then that is followed by Andre 3000 singing the word "Alright" about fourteen or fifteen times in a row!

(NOTE:  That lyric with the 'alrights' is probably one of the best karaoke lines to sing...or so I would like to think, considering that I haven't sang karaoke in about fifteen years or so.)

Whatever the case, this song was praised by music critics, and it lasted a total of nine weeks at the #1 position! 

And, that's not all.

Billboard magazine named it the twentieth most successul song of the decade between 2000 and 2009, and at the 46th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, the song was awarded the Best Urban/Alternative Performance award.

And, many people still consider this song to be one of OutKast's best singles.  I tend to agree.

No comments:

Post a Comment