The first solo album from Outkast’s Andre 3000 has been receiving a fair deal of flack in the mainstream media. The flamboyant MC from Atlanta, Georgia is known for pushing the boundaries of the status quo. His first release in 17 years, perhaps this time he’s cranked it so far beyond the norms that norms can’t dig, ya dig?
Regular 8CCC listeners would notice that our standard is to showcase NT and locally curated music for the feature album. Our mission is to deliver one third local, one third national and one third specialist/international music content on air. With that in mind, we here at 8CCC think this international album slaps, so here’s our album of the week.
In an interview with NPR, the rapper-turned-wind-instrumentalist delved into the concept of the album’s title;
“At some point that sun will die just like all stars. New Blue Sun, for me, was like, I guess in a sci-fi way, the next world or the next beings will be under a bluer, cooler burning sun. It’s kind of like this whole album and this whole direction is a new world for me. New Blue Sun is like a new direction”.
In the current world of predominantly digital music consumption, we interact with albums differently to the days of picking up wax or opening up a cassette. I’d listened to the album a couple of times online before viewing the song names. The first song title reads like an short story, it scrolled across the screen in a seemingly never-ending explanation to his new sonic direction. If you do find a physical copy in record stores, there is a warning on the back that states ‘Warning: No Bars”. What a larrikin.
Track one is titled, “I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time”. An apt pun that highlights the flutes he’s playing on the record as well as the direction his creativity has been swept.
When discussing the song titles, he was quoted by NPR as saying;
“I knew if this album has no lyrics that I would try to give as much thought or information in the titles”.
“I was trying to really inject some type of humanness because I’m a full-rounded person. I’m a Gemini. So you may think it’s one side, but I got this whole other, like, devilish kind of side, too. And I think every human has it in them. I was trying to show some balance in it. It’s not all incense burning, you know what I mean”?
In an interview he did with GQ magazine prior to the release, when asked about why he isn’t rapping on the record, he said;
“Even now people think, ‘oh, man, he’s just sitting on raps, or he’s just holding these raps hostage’. I ain’t got no raps like that. It actually feels…sometimes it feels inauthentic for me to rap because I don’t have anything to talk about in that way. I’m 48 years old. And not to say that age is a thing that dictates what you rap about, but in a way it does. And things that happen in my life, like, what are you talking about? ‘I got to go get a colonoscopy.’ What are you rapping about? ‘My eyesight is going bad.’ You can find cool ways to say it, but….”
New Blue Sun is entirely instrumental and let’s face it, the album doesn’t have one dance-floor banger, if you’re looking for the next ‘Hey Ya!’ or ‘B.O.B.’ then this probably isn’t you. However, if you’re into weird experimentation, a soundtrack to assist with breath-work or something non-distracting that you can leave easily playing in the background, you may well find yourself revisiting this album.