The pop song is difficult to describe. Seemingly, the connotations associate with feelings of joy and a bright sound. However, that isn’t necessarily what makes a song successful on popular radio. Really, it’s the idea of hooks that creates a proper pop song. There need to be small, attractive parts of a song that enter the mind. They need to grasp the ears and not leave the head for several minutes.
I would now like to present what may be the greatest pop song to ever exist: “Hey Ya” by Outkast. Nothing can prepare you for the joy that your ears will experience throughout the song, so I encourage a quick listen. Really, it’s not that hard to get to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvIw5ZqC1ms
Now that you’ve given it a whirl (as if you hadn’t before – it was everywhere on the radio), there are some immediate memories. The “Polaroid picture” section is immediately brought to mind. Here, we not only see a hilarious simile, we get an absolutely amazing hook. You can’t help but move your body as you listen.
Then other memories return. The chorus itself is a great hook, with an electric keyboard plugging along to the group singing of the phrase “Hey ya.” The rhythm, guided by drums, guitars and clapping, is absolutely infectious, furthering movement that you had while you “shook it like a Polaroid picture.”
And then, as if the song had given away all its hooks, the singing itself impresses throughout the entire four minutes. Not only are tones well-executed, the style is brilliantly matched by the content. The pause to speak to the “fellas” and the “ladies” is ingenious. It is merely instinctive to grin as Andre 3000 yells “Led me some sugar… I am your neighbor!”
By offering the best of addictive pop and legitimate music, Outkast has created a truly brilliant song. Despite its overuse on the radio in the first half of the decade, “Hey Ya” is a song that deserves all the attention. I doubt that it is humanly possible to dislike this single. This is what a great pop hit should sound like.