Tag Archive: “Outkast”

This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. Below are songs that sound great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.

Outkast – “Humble Mumble” (Stankonia, Arista Records) 2000


“Humble as a mumble in the jungle of shouts and screams” serves as both the hook for Humble Mumble and a good descriptor of the songs place in Outkast’s output. Stankonia is one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time and contains “B.O.B,” “Ms. Jackson,” and “So Fresh, So Clean” so it’s easy to overlook “Humble Mumble” in relation to the album as a whole, even though it deserves to be in the same conversation as those seminal hits. The song has so many quotable lines it seems unfair, from the introduction of “The funky engine that could” and asking “what’s your locomotive” to Andre 3000 saying “don’t discrimihate til you done read a book or two” to a critic who “thinks hip hop is only about guns and alcohol.” Lyrically it’s just a really fun song and it follows suit musically as well. It’s a song done in three movements, which are distinctive but still very cohesive as they all eventually blend together. It’s absolutely a song only Outkast could’ve made and I haven’t even mentioned that it features Erykah Badu yet, which is a treat all in itself.


 

Fleetwood Mac – “Storms” (Tusk, Warner Brothers) 1979


Tucked into Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s most experimental album, “Storms” is a song that is easy to overlook. It’s a serene and heartbreaking song of lost love over a simple folky guitar sung wonderfully by Stevie Knicks. Yet, as is the case with Fleetwood Mac’s best songs, nothing is as simple as it seems. The chorus of “Storms” features some of their best harmonies, which is really saying a lot for this band. Slowly over time percussion and organ build ever so subtlety, resulting in an absolutely beautiful song. On the surface the lyrics seem to be your standard lost love song fare but Knicks’ emotive delivery packs more and more of a punch as the song goes on. Everything culminates together as Knicks sings: “But never ever been a blue calm sea / I have always been a storm” repeating “always been a storm” several times with each time more powerful than the last. Listening to this song is like sitting on a deck watching a slow storm roll in over an otherwise peaceful lake.


 

Matmos – “Tunnel” (The Marriage of True Minds, Thrill Jockey Records) 2013


Matmos has made a career out of gimmicks. This isn’t a negative thing by any means as their gimmicks have mostly paid off. They make experimental electronic music and normally operate within some put-upon-themselves framework for each album. They have an album built around sounds from surgical procedures, another inspired by old instruments and sounds that wouldn’t sound too out of place at a Renaissance festival and most recently an album made almost entirely out of sounds from a washing machine. The Marriage of True Minds, quite possibly their strongest album, took on a strong framework, yet is by far the most abstract they have worked within. They had people go into a sensory deprivation chamber while they transmitted the theme of the album to the subjects telepathically. They would then interview the subjects asking them what they heard or saw. Some would hum melodies, some would describe images and they took these recordings and based an album off of them. It’s a fascinating listen with some absolutely stunning songs. “Tunnel” is an obvious standout track even without the backstory of how it was conceived. Didgeridoo is set atop pulsating rhythms, bombastic funky guitar sounds and screeching synths in a truly fantastic way. Towards the middle of the song a male voice recording taken from the interview after one of the sensory deprivation sessions whispers “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel … But it isn’t daylight”, giving the song an absolutely chilling vibe as it continues.


 

Tyvek – “Wayne County Roads” (On Triple Beams, In the Red Records) 2012


People who have never had the pleasure of continuously having to drive in Wayne County Michigan really have no idea how cathartic it is to listen to a song that yells “Wayne County Roads” over and over as the chorus. They are quite terribly painful to deal with. Tyvek is a great five piece band who makes straight up rock music, which is refreshing in a time with so many genres and subgenres. The song is built around a couple of Television-esque catchy guitar riffs. Again, this is just great solid rock music from a totally Midwest band who has been making under known music for years. On the surface this is a pretty simple song about the roads that take you home but nothing in Wayne County is quite that easy.

 

This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. Below are songs that sound great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.

Midlake – Some of Them Were Superstitious  (Bamnan and Silvercork) 2004


Midlake is a magical indie-rock band from Texas, founded in 1999 by a group of friends and jazz students. This band seems to be less known than they should be, their second album The Trials of Van Occupanther, is an indie-rock masterpiece, relating life in the colonial times to our modern world. Midlake uses  the same instruments as any rock band, but their music feels like it’s from another time. This song comes from their debut album and it embodies this concept, with lyrics like, “parading round the town square,” and “praising monocled men,” paints this picture of an almost medieval setting. The almost cartoonish synths bounce along in the verse and a swirling organ provides the base for the epic chorus. The songs shifts to a sauntering piano and flute as the lyrics, “So soon, so soon, so long, and when you’re gone, you’re gone, and life it hurts for someone, you’re someone.” Midlake is masterful at tapping into ageless emotions while transporting the listener to another time and place.


The Beatles – Rocky Racoon (The Beatles [The White Album]) 1968


There’s this band from Liverpool they’re super underrated, they’re called The Beatles. Let’s face it folks there’s not too much more to be said about the biggest band in the history of music and the most highly regarded album of their career, but this song is so goofy and fun it deserves to be revisited. Just like Midlake transported us to olden times, this song takes us to the old west, describing and love triangle that leads to a shootout. Paul McCartney wrote this song while in India with John Lennon and folk legend Donovan. It was intended as a pastiche “spoofing the folk singer” with some fondness. This a dark comedy of a folk song, when that ragtime piano kicks in you can’t help but sing along, “D’do d’do d’do do do do, come on, Rocky boy.”


Outkast feat. Killer Mike – The Whole World (Big Boi and Dre Present…) 2001 


Before the Bernie rallies, before Run The Jewels, before R.A.P. Music, the world was introduced to Killer Mike with this song. When I was 11 years old this was my jam (though I had to listen to the clean version). Ragtime-type piano appears on this song, spun into a jazzy hip hop beat, kind of foreshadowing the style Outkast would explore in Idlewild a few years later. (sidenote: this song also has one of the best “to each their own” type phrases, “whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote”). In tandem with a goofy video, this song exists in a creepy circus setting, making a statement on the nature of entertainment, “and the whole world loves it when you’re in the news // and the whole world loves it when you sing the blues.”  It’s odd and fun, business as usual for Outkast, while being very insightful, it seems to be even more relevant now than it was 15 years ago.


Blind Pilot – One Red Thread (3 Rounds and a Sound) 2009


In celebration of Blind Pilot’s third album, And Then Like Lions out today on Expunged Records, I thought I would go back to the song that made me fall in love with the Portland folk rock septet. This song exemplifies Blind Pilot’s entire style, heart-wrenchingly honest and insightful folk songs with melodies that are absurdly catchy and beautiful. The subtle strumme of the acoustic guitar and gentle tap of a snare drive this song, until the slow soft chorus, which eventually regains momentum and ends in a restrained crescendo. This is a lovely song about finding your way in life. Much like OutKast’s song the chorus here captures a simple but powerful truth, “man, oh man, you can do what you want.”


Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Maid of Orleans (


Going along with our theme of songs that transport us to other times and places, this song talks about Joan of Arc and is accompanied by a medieval video. It starts off with ominous, ambient sounds before bursting into an simple yet grand, building love song. Both electronic and physical drums guide this song with and driving thunder of toms and the occasional snare roll. This song does something really interesting with the strange 80’s keyboard and drum sounds we’re used to, all finally building to a glorious synth crescendo. I personally am turned off to a lot of 80’s music, but it’s always fun to find a gem like this one.


Fang Island – Life Coach (Fang Island) 2010


Let’s end this list right with a bright, rambunctious rock song from the Rhode Island-based band Fang Island’s debut album. Fang Island makes major key progressive indie-rock called by Pitchfork, “‘celebration rock’ before Celebration Rock” referring to the album by Japandroids, and that is the only term to describe this song, it is a juggernaut of positive energy. This song gets the listener hyped, it punches you in the face with fuzzy guitars and gorgeous choral harmonies from the groups three members. Much like Blind Pilot this is a song about finding your way through life, it is energy and fun from start to finish, and a modern indie-rock classic.