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Wednesday, Sep 6 2006
Although this new OutKast album emerges simultaneously with (and bears the same name as) the group's long-awaited cinematic debut, the Idlewild CD is less a soundtrack than it is a proper standalone record. Truth be told, many of the songs in the film actually come from OutKast's 10 million-plus selling, double full-length Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; the brooding "She Lives in My Lap" and funky chicken-evoking "Rooster" getting infused with fresh life on the silver screen.

Those specific tunes are also the starting points for OutKast's new material; Big Boi's contributions continue along a rousing groove (check the catchy singing from Sleepy Brown and Scar — backed by a marching band — in Big's "Morris Brown"). Meanwhile, Andre uses minor-key melodies and abstract digital and guitar rhythms to explore more introverted moods, and, in such Hurricane Katrina-referencing songs as "Hollywood Divorce," "Idlewild Blues," and "Mutron Angel," forlorn territory. There are no easy or obvious hits here, and while "Morris Brown" comes closest to a chart-grabber, nothing matches The Love Below's ubiquitous "Hey Ya!" Although OutKast continues to be one of music's more forward-thinking acts, its latest release shows no dramatic departures from the group's general electronic funk genre-bending.

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Tamara Palmer


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