Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums
By Britt Chester
Shortly after being expelled from my first high school, I found myself with an abundant amount of time on my hands, not to mention a car, a part-time job that supported a growing marijuana habit, and, perhaps most importantly, time to drive around in Banner Elk, North Carolina, listening to whatever I wanted.
I was sixteen years old at the time, but I listened to music like I was much more mature. I got Outkast's third album, Aquemini, from a friend I used to skateboard with, and from the moment I laid my virgin eyes on that sexual glowing profile of a goddess on the cover, naturally, I was hooked.
The album opens with a melodic chanting over a harpsichord and subtle guitar strings before dropping straight into "Return of the G," which, regardless of all the lyrics in the song, made me feel like a boss as I was matriculating back to my old stomping grounds of my previous high school. I didn't wear gators, nor did have any kids, and I had never driven my vogues near a sidewalk. Regardless, I was returning to my previous high school, and for that, I felt like a gangster.
I'll save you my thoughts on "Rosa Parks" because that song received such critical acclaim that I don't really have anything new to add. "Skew it on the Bar-B," however, was a great song to light up to at any moment, and the rain stick noises on the title track immediately piqued my interest until the 3:23 mark, when the song really kicks in with Big Boi going off, only to be trumped by Andre's walking lyricism.
The core of the album -- basically "Synthesizer," "Slump," "West Savannah," "Da Art of Storytellin Pt. 1," "Da Art of Storytellin Pt. 2" and "Mamacita" -- made for easy listening between the bangers. Once I hit "SpottieOttiedopaliscious," I understood the full range of talent that Outkast possesses. That track marked the first time that I felt anything sexual during a song, and for some reason, the trumpets still remind me of pure sex. It's just a sultry song, despite the story being told. "Chonkfire," meanwhile, is still the song that I hum when no one is around. In fact, if anyone ever says the words "rats," "mice," "snakes," or "pied piper," I instantly sing the chorus.
For me, this album marked a hopeful comeback from an otherwise dark era in my life -- an era that, granted, continued on for two more years, in which time I was expelled from yet another high school and then sent to rehab out of the state. None of this, however, changes my thoughts on Outkast, and it certainly doesn't change the way I view Aquemini. This album will always be one of my favorites, and no matter what, this album will always have a home on my playlist.