Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Songs #251 & 252 - It's TWOsday!

Song #251 of 9999                                                  Song #252 of 9999

Title: Love Hater                                                      Title: Bowtie
Artist: Outkast                                                          Artist: Outkast
Year: 2003                                                               Year: 2003
Album: The Love Below                                           Album: Speakerboxxx


About 200 blog posts ago, I talked about the big hits from Outkast's brilliant double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below so I thought I would feature a couple of deep tracks on this TWOsday. While both records are dripping with myriad influences, I chose these two tracks because they both really swing but in completely different ways. 

With "Love Hater," André 3000 gives us a guitar intro that would fit right in on any Prince album before unveiling some traditional up-tempo swing. While Dré is not the greatest singer, he does a respectable job delivering the song in his light head voice and falsetto. More important, he wisely surrounds himself with incredible players who really know what they're doing and play the track without an ounce of irony. Later in the record, these same players (presumably) pay homage to John Coltrane by delivering a rousing version of "My Favorite Things" over a frenetic beat box.

Big Boi's "Bowtie" is informed less by Miles Davis than it is by George Clinton. Taking a cue from some of the best P-funk—the backbeat handclaps so reminiscent of "Atomic Dog"—Boi keeps the beat simple and lets the horns swing on top. I love the horn stabs that punctuate this track and the casual rhythmic interplay between the chorus and brass. If you weren't sure just how hard this track is swinging, listen to what happens at 1:58 when the unison vocals straighten out the eighth notes for a minute. When the rhythmic restraints are lifted at 2:27, the song just gushes out, immediately finding its funk swing footing.

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