I listened to nothing but Outkast’s “Hey Ya” for a week

I don’t know why I started. It popped up in my Spotify discover weekly playlist, as if I didn’t already know every word of it. But as I shuffled through the playlist, I seemed to like it incrementally more with ev-YA THINK YA GOT IT, OH YA THINK YA-ery listen. I wanted to see how far it could go, and so I sat down to draft an article (something that takes about an hour) while I listened to just “Hey Ya” on repeat for the duration of the process. I expected it to get old after a few plays.

It just never got old. It was mind-blowing. I finished the article as absorbed in Andre 3000’s layered vocals as I was when I started. I wal-THANK GOD FOR MOM AND DAD FOR STICK-ked home from the library, still mouthing along to it as enthusiastically as an hour before. I got home, turned on my bluetooth speaker, and kept it going. No reason to stop now, I thought. It’ll be ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT if I just keep it going.

I was wrong. I thought I was going to be able to get out of it whenever I wanted, but that wasn’t the arrangement Andre 3000 and I had at all. I was never in control. And so I kept listening. The first day was fine – I went about my errands with “Hey Ya” in my headphones, and I felt nothing less than great. The upbeat tempo kept my mood similarly high, and I alm-LEND ME SOME SUGAR, I AM YOUR NEIGH-ost never stopped dancing a little bit as I walked around. 

As the week went on, I started noticing a few strange abnormalities. It was getting hard to concentrate if I wasn’t listening to it, so I just kept pla-WHAT MAKES WHAT MAKES WHAT MAKES LOVE-ying it while I did any work that I had to get done. In conversations, people questioned why I was speaking sentences to them in the melody of the chorus. I didn’t know, or even notice. 

By the fourth day, I was waking up from sleep in cold sweats, suffering from withdrawals. I needed my fix, and I couldn’t go more than a few hours with-Y’ALL DON’T WANNA HEAR ME YOU JUST WANNA-out it. I didn’t know what to do anymore – it seemed like every aspect of my life was being taken over by “Hey Ya.”

I had gone seven days now, and felt like I hardly knew myself. I decided to do some-DON’T WANNA MEET YOUR MAMA-thing about it, and so I forced myself to stop. I won’t pretend it was easy. I cancelled all my plans and stocked up on water and celery so I would be able to stay in bed all day. It was the toughest thing I think I’ve ever done. I couldn’t stop sweat-I’M JUST BEING HONEST-ing, and my ears were ringing with a noise unlike any other. I needed Andre, and he knew it. 

Please take my story as a lesson. “Hey Ya” is a great song, there’s no questioning that – but you can’t take its power lightly. Andre 3000 will take advant-DON’T TRY TO FIGHT THE FEEL-age of you, and push you to your limits. I don’t know for sure that I’m even recovered yet. 

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