Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Song of the Day #236 - UGK - International Players Anthem (I Choose You) (ft. Outkast)

Hey, keep your heart, Three Stacks, keep your heart!

Hey hey if you had forgotten I wrote a novel and I'm feeling some complex type of way about it but the most visceral and powerful feeling is one of "hey!! I did it!!! I actually did it!!!", an extremely good feeling, so to celebrate here's one of the greatest songs of all time. Reading that claim you say either "of course" or "I don't know what this song is", I refuse to believe there are any other possible responses.

There's a lot of ways to think about this song. Like you can start from the perspective that this is a UGK song, and thus will have solid verses from Bun B and Pimp C (R.I.P.) (there's a lot of letters in this sentence) about pimping. And then you can add to that this godly beat, pushing the art of soul-sampling perhaps even further than Kanye could have imagined, making something that sounds both classic, timeless, and modern (transcending time Joanna Newsom style?! sure.) On top of that, we get a rare post-Outkast team up of features from Andre 3000 and Big Boi, bestowing unto us legendary flows that we will never deserve. That seems like it adds up to a pretty good song.

Or you can approach it from the direction of the subject matter, which, although mostly about the profits and perils of pimping, takes on a radical new sentimentality from the perspective of Andre's first verse, written about his wedding day. His friends make a last ditch effort to stop him from tying the knot, but finally give in and give their blessing and support. It's honestly just a beautiful sentiment, especially in the context of the wonderful "home movie" style of the music video: it's a conversation you know has happened, in varying forms, with probably literally billions of people in the history of the world, but each time it is a moment charged with intimacy and revelation that would be unforgettable in the lives of every individual.

And although UGK and Big Boi's verses don't seem too unorthodox, after this opening proclamation, they take a tinge of... I don't know how to put it... forecasted sentimentality? Like... you know that maybe someday they'll settle down too, and end the lifestyles they currently espouse, but that at those times, they won't look back with regret or shame, but with a content nostalgia, having transformed through the sort of joy Andre has experienced. It gives the typical subject matter a wider scope, one that is rich and joyous and maybe even sweet? It seems weird to call Pimp C and Bun B "sweet", but here we are.

So that's all good, sure, and you can probably understand "on paper" that this is a very good song, but there's something else when you listen to it that I could never put onto words. Something like a triumph, a great accomplishment... Honestly, the closest thing I can think of would be a wedding, appropriately enough. A great effort, requiring months of planning, probably no small amount of stress, all accumulating in a single event that only exists to bring people together and make them happy. And beyond the happiness from the success of the event is the beautiful idea behind it.

No comments: