Throwback Thursday: "Hey Ya!" by Outkast

It’s been almost 14 years since Outkast released the hit song “Hey Ya!” in September, 2003. You read that right. We are that old. However, “Hey Ya!” itself is timeless to myself and the masses, so it has to go down as one of the most beloved songs of our generation.

“Hey Ya!” arrived in my life as an upbeat anthem that always seemed to play on the radio when I got out of school. It quickly became one of my (and probably most of our) favorite songs and was easily the most played song on my family’s iTunes account in 2007.

The magic of “Hey Ya!” starts with the lyrics. While the lyrics may not be so deep, everyone seems to know that “My baby don’t mess around because she loves me so and this I know for sure,” and who could forget how to “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.” The repetition throughout the tune makes it especially catchy, which is why just one listen can keep “Hey Ya!” stuck in your head for days. Moreover, Outkast utilizes a perfect blend of elements of rock, funk, and rap to make this song an all-time classic.

The “Hey Ya!” music video is amazing in its own right. André 3000 plays all members of a band in the video with Outkast partner Big Boi as the band’s manager. The video spoofs The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, complete with an enthusiastic audience of screaming female fans reminiscent of the fab four’s debut in America.

As if the Outkast version was not enough, little known musician Mat Weddle (better known by the stage name of Obadiah Parker) created an incredible acoustic cover of “Hey Ya!” in 2006. Weddle performed the song at an open mic night, but rose to great fame as the video of his performance (see below) went viral and he later recorded his cover as a single. Some people now prefer this slow, soothing rendition to the original Outkast version from 2003.

Outkast may officially be old, but “Hey Ya!” will always remain a favorite for millennials no matter how far from 2003 we are.