I was wary of buying Idlewild after hearing negative reviews about it and not being the biggest fan of Speakerboxx/The Love Below. But after hearing Idlewild Blue and Morris Brown, I HAD to get this CD. This album has a much more fluid and consistent sound than S/TLB, which caught me totally off guard.
Yes, Andre still sings more than he raps, and yes, Big Boi and Andre are only together on a couple of songs on this record, and they both recorded their material seperately. It's apparent neither artist likes the other very much, but because the name Outkast sells, I don't see them breaking up anytime soon. We may never see Outkast touring together again, which is a shame, but that's the reality of the situation.
But I went off on a tangent. Forget this being a great hip hop record, 'cause it's not. What it is is great all-around music. If your tastes do not extend beyond hip hop, you're best sticking with Southernplaylisticadillacmusik through Stankonia. But as a general music fan, this may be the best CD to be released this year! The eclectic mix of sounds include blues, R&B, pop, rock, swing, funk, and great use of percussion. But regardless of the sound, the feel of the 1930s is ever-present throughout Idlewild. You can almost picture yourself in that era while listening to this CD, which is a testament to the strong production here.
I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of 'Dre's new style of music. And it's still true here, Big Boi's songs are better. But it's not entirely because of him. Scar, Sleepy Brown, Khujo Goodie, and Killer Mike practically steal the show. N2U, Peaches and Buggface are all good tracks, but In Your Dreams, Morris Brown and The Train are classics, among my favorite Kast tracks ever.
As for Andre, Idlewild Blue is a stroke of genious, and it's disappointing that none of the other songs match up to it except When I Look In Your Eyes, a great swing tune. I love Mutron Angel, but it's because of Whild Peach, not Andre. Chronomentrophobia, Life is Like a Musical, and Dyin to Live are all good, but not great songs. Makes No Sense At All may still grow on me, but Greatest Show on Earth is a very skippable track. Macy Gray is good, but this song just seems off on so many levels.
The tracks in which 'Dre and Big Boi are together are, as you'd expect, awesome. Mighty O will have you singing "Odie odie odie OOOOO!" for days. And 'Dre drops a verse here, and it's as good as his Aquemini days. Hollywood Divorce features Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg and is pretty good. I wish more tracks were like this were 'Dre sings and Big Boi drops dope rhymes. Maybe on the next album will see more of songs like this.
Finally, there are two outstanding songs which sound like they could be in the movie (I haven't seen it yet, but I will this week). Janelle Monae appears with Big Boi on Call the Law and is amazing. Both 'Dre and Big Boi appear on PJ and Rooster, the best track on the CD. This song is so infectious and shows that 'Dre CAN be a good singer when he does songs like this. You and your lover will probably dance to this all night long. It's that fun, it's that good.
I'm not saying I especially enjoy the fact that the old days of Outkast are probably gone for good. But with an open mind, this album proves to be a great example of great music, transcending genres for everyone to love.