How do you follow something like, "Speakerboxx/The Love Below," after it utterly demolishes the sales charts, award shows, and finds its songs filling the airwaves? If you're OutKast you put out your final album, a companion of sorts to a film. Just like the film, it is enjoyable but flawed. It is, Idlewild."
"Idlewild," is not exactly a movie soundtrack or a standalone album. As I said, it serves as a companion to the decent flick, "Idlewild," which features the acting talents of Big Boi and Andre (they both do a solid job) as well as other skilled thespians like Terrence Howard, Cicely Tyson, Ving Rhames, and more. The album has some interludes with scenes from the film and the film itself has some songs from, "Idlewild," and other OutKast albums so the LP or flick are both fun if you're an OutKast fan. The album itself is still one of the best things to come out when it was released in 2006 because even a so-so OutKast album is better than 99% of other stuff.
The opening song after the intro, "The Mighty O," features Andre talking more about being tired of rap (a running theme by this point), Big Boi skillfully dropping bars too, and is a great start. A bit like, "Speakerboxx/The Love Below," a good deal of time has the duo doing songs separate from one another--again, it was clear OutKast was fracturing at this point. For example, another early-album song, "Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)," is all Andre, doing some bluesy singing and it's great fun, just more of a solo work than an OutKast track, per se. Some tracks later is the stellar, "Morris Brown," with Big Boi, Scar, and Sleepy Brown as well as some fantastic horns blaring aloud. Andre returns after that with, '"Chronomentrophobia," discussing a fear of how time keeps passing and it has him looking back on life.
We get, "Hollywood Divorce," mid-album and it is a real treat. We get both of OutKast, Lil' Wayne, and Snoop Dogg discussing how success is like a toxic relationship as Hollywood and the entertainment industry uses you up and then tosses you aside. It's probably my favorite track on the LP. Unfortunately, after that nothing much really grabs me for the remaining 13 tracks of songs and skits (this is a 25 track album, it is stuffed). "Makes no Sense at All," is okay, as is, "In Your Dreams," but the rest of the album just fails to really grab me, and then it ends on a weird super-slow song that is the worst on the whole album, "A Bad Note." Then that was kind of it for OutKast in terms of full albums. Big Boi has done some great solo LPs, Andre has acted in a variety of films and programs, and they sometimes have teamed up for a great track--"International Players Anthem (I Choose You)," is lovely. After, "Idlewild," OutKast was basically done, however.
OutKast made seven albums (six if you don't count the kinda-sorta compilation LP). Some were utter masterpieces, some weren't that but still damn good. OutKast is my favorite music group of all time and as Ron Funches said--to some controversy--even better than the Beatles. I hope you all have enjoyed this segment as much as I did revisiting some great music.