Writer(s): André 3000 (see lyrics here)
First Charted: 9/19/2003
Peak: 19 US, 9 RB, 16 MR, 3 UK, 15 CN< 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales *: 3.0 US, 0.6 UK, 3.76 world (includes US + UK)
Radio Airplay *: 0.7
Video Airplay *: 387.21
Streaming *: 200.00
* in millions
Although obsolete, the Polaroid camera will maintain a place in pop music history, thanks to singer André 3000’s call to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” That catchphrase and others like the response to “What’s cooler than cool?” with “Ice cold,” made the song iconic. However, it is the song’s rallying call for every demographic to flood the dance floor that makes it, as quoted on Consequence of Sound, “the decade’s ‘Teen Spirit,’ man.” CS As PopEater.com said, “you could see yourself partying to in college just as easily as you could watch your parents sweat to it in spin class.” PE
Like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Hey Ya!” was the moment when a masterful artist “made a record that sounded like everything on the radio and nothing anyone had heard before.” PE “Married to the sound of some mid-’60s dance craze that never was, ‘Hey Ya’ exemplified something very few tunes of the time had; a sense of fun.” PE Its merge of genres suggested “the walls between rock and R&B and hip-hop were about to topple.” PE
The song “featured rap lines fed through a vocoder and re-recorded up to 30 times” NME and engineer Rabeka Tuinei was the lone voice behind the “ladies” cheering halfway through the song. RS500 On top of that, Dre told Rolling Stone that its guitar chords, the first he ever learned, were inspired by the Ramones, the Buzzcocks, the Smiths. RS500
There was also an “equally brilliant paradigm-smashing video” PE aping the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show Add a clever viral video with A Charlie Brown Christmas footage spliced to match the song, and you’ve got the decade’s signature hit.
Resources and Related Links:
Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.