It’s official. The ‘party-o-meter’ has spoken, and ‘Hey Ya!’ is Time Out’s top tune. Why? Just try not dancing to this song when it comes on. Get through the whole four minutes without as much as a toe tap, and your soul is clearly as stale and shrivelled as a weeks-old jacket potato.
Produced and sung by Andre 3000 (the more flamboyant half of the Atlanta hip hop outfit), ‘Hey Ya!’ is a leftfield R&B masterpiece – on the one hand, a sexual statement of intent, and on the other a passionate lament for the death of love. But more than any of this, it’s a bona fide groover that makes us asthmatic with dancefloor appreciation. Here, more specifically, are the five elements that make up ‘Hey Ya!’s mojo.
Andre takes a leaf out of Prince’s sticky book by, simply, putting it all out there. ‘Don’t want to meet your momma,’ he states. ‘Just want to make you come-ah!’ Orgasms all round!
Specifically in the manner of a Polaroid picture. Boringly, this won’t actually hasten the speed at which your film develops, so why not simply jiggle with your Instagram app instead?
A great party tune relies on the three ‘R’s: repetition, repetition and repetition. ‘Hey Ya!’ features its titular holler 25 times, as well as 19 ‘uh oh’s and 14 consecutive ‘alright’s. You just can’t argue with those numbers.
The song’s gently strummed guitar and lovelorn lyrics touch the heart. But, it’s the body-shaking, P-funk bassline which bites the booty, reminding you to ‘get on the floor’.
Hand claps; call-and-response yowling; an invitation to the neighbourly lending of sugar: ‘Hey Ya!’ is as keen as a Butlin’s Red Coat to get you involved. Even the late, great Lou Reed was a fan, calling it ‘the perfect rock ’n’ roll song’. And what Lou says goes. Jonny Ensall