Monday, January 05, 2004

I'm finally spending some good, long time with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, OutKast's sprawling, critically acclaimed, worldbeating, commercial blockbuster. It slid into the #10 spot on my Pazz & Jop ballot very last-minute, because even for the filler present (and it's definitely there), the highs are just so blindingly high that there was no way to keep it off my ballot, or out of my top 10. And really, is there a bigger band in America right now? They own the top two singles on Billboard's Hot 100, and rang in '04 with S/TLB returning to the top of the Billboard album chart for a second time. Big Boi and, especially, Andre 3000, have proven themselves amongst the most creative minds working in music today, improving upon and pushing way past the promise of Stankonia (and especially "B.O.B."). What's scariest is that I don't think we've seen the best of them yet, even. For pete's sake, we haven't even seen the best singles from the album yet.

One of the next pair of singles on deck is Andre 3000's "Prototype," which is like whoa. This makes "Hey Ya!" sound like child's play, y'all. It's a tender, guitar-driven ballad, one of the most romantic songs I've heard in years. I mean, just its opening line alone:

"I hope that you're the one/If not, you are the prototype."


And for the record, The Diary of Alicia Keys is a lot more smoking than I'd originally posited from the handful of tracks I'd heard. More of a full review to come.

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