People who complain Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is scattershot miss the point. Andre and Big Boi are guys with iPod brains who had the vision and balls to cut'n'paste their entire hard drives into their record, even the stuff that was beyond their chops.
Saugerties, New York
There should be a bumper sticker on the back of the OutKast company dune buggy that reads, "Money Talks But Bullshit Walks All The Way To The Bank To Count The Loot That Tales Of Rollerskates And Lollipops Showered Upon Us In Our Attempts To Create A Hybrid That While Never Devoid Of Funk And Certainly In Keeping With A Long Tradition Of Trickster Mischief Makers Nonetheless Adds A 21st-Century Diamond-Studded Wristwatch Hard Gleam To The Eye Of The Tiger That We Most Assuredly Have By The Tail! We Deserve Every Penny Because We Work Harder Than Anybody To Perfect Our Imperfections And Somehow We Still Manage To Rock The Bells Occasionally Beep Beep Ya Ass!"
OutKast don't hate the game, they just change the fucking rules. All you critics (I mean, all you funky fresh colleagues) who hated on this one just because, you know, you knew your voice would be that much louder to hate on a record this butters: Get a striped shirt and a whistle and blow.
Brooklyn, New York
The gospel according to OutKast: God is a woman. You can tell 'cuz she uses her powers to make your girl lose her panties.
Best Marriage-on-the-Rocks: OutKast. Big Boi is all, "Don't listen to all those rumors! Me and my man are gonna last forever!" And we're all, "Damn, girl! He's cheatin' on you!"
Los Angeles, California
Imagine what a drag Aquarius/Gemini would have been.
St. Paul, Minnesota
For the first time since Public Enemy hit, popular taste and that of the modern Afrocentric bohemian are in bizarre sync. It's an opera and there's supposed to be a movie coming. Yay.
The White Stripes album is just like the old story of the blind man and the elephant. It feels at various times like Iggy Pop, Queen, Jimmy Page, the Mamas and the Papas, John Lennon, John Lee Hooker, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis Costello, Peggy Lee, Johnny Rivers, Urge Overkill, and M. Scott Peck, all an ear, a trunk, or a testicle at a time.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Detroit is the shit. Detroit is where the hardest whiteboys in America are from. Real punks. The Stooges set off the thug-core shit long ago, but our man Jack White is keeping it gangsta right about now. Seen his mug?
Brooklyn, New York
Dragging my dead, flat ass into an office five days a week, I would never expect to want to hear rock songs about it. Welcome Interstate Managers pulls off the neat trick of being about the working world yet with all these juvenile fantasies popping uplike a day at the cubicle, complete with daydreams.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Coup of the year: Fountains of Wayne seduce the cool boys of VH1 with a sexy video about MILFs. Safely inside the palace walls, the band then blindsides 'em with an entire album full of sad songs about downsized America with such sunny harmonies that even Mo Rocca has to sing along.
Los Angeles, California
Hail to the Thief predicted the entire baseball postseason: "Scatterbrain" is the Grady Little theme song, "A Punchup at a Wedding" captures the moment Zim married the turf after Pedro's throwdown, "We Suck Young Blood" is a tribute to the aged Yanks' pitching staff, and the title honors the Marlins, who've never finished first in their division yet won their second World Series.
Santa Barbara, California
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' party was where I fell in love. To be honest I was kind of drunk and the stuff we said to each other seems kind of incoherent and embarrassing when I tell friends. I remember us jumping around the room to this GREAT music that was chaotic yet had snap, making funny faces at each other and knocking over everything, wrestling and laughing. I don't think I ever felt so impulsive, so alive, so intoxicated by another person. I don't think it's always going to be like this (first time I saw this girl I thought she was obnoxious and uninterestingmaybe she'll seem like that again once she stops wanting to be around me) but damn if that night isn't gonna be one of those amazing experiences that I look back on whenever I need to remember that I haven't always felt alone.
State College, Pennsylvania
Chutes Too Narrow is the sound of a few guys in a room, intimate that way, but it's limit-less too. The Shins' music is expansive, unironic, touched by British rock of the '60s and '80s reaching for something new. There is nothing obvious about it, not even the hooks, best described by a stray lyric as a "book you read in reverse."
It's been years since I've seen a band take the stage with such evident delight in making music, putting on a show, being part of the same group, communicating the same humor and fervor to the audience and to each other. That this is exactly what you hear on the New Pornographers' records seems both a miracle and a natural fact.