🎶 Forever, forever ever, forever ever? 🎶
December 12, 2016 10:41 AM   Subscribe

What, if anything, was Outkast referring to with the line "Forever, forever ever, forever ever?" in their song Ms. Jackson?

Somehow, I have a hazy memory of hearing this song via music video for the first time back in 2000 or 2001 (probably on BET's 106 and Park) and when it came to that line thinking "Oh neat. That's a reference to X." Except now I have no memory of what that "X" reference might have been, just the memory of thinking it was a reference to something else. There's something about that specific cadence and rising inflection of the "forever ever, forever ever" that's hitting that just out of reach, tip-of-the-tongue feeling.

To be clear, I am almost certainly not thinking about how Kanye West later quotes/references this line in his song Diamonds from Sierra Leone or any of the other later songs referencing Outkast.
posted by mhum to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Not that it's definitive, but Rap Genius doesn't have it referencing anything in particular (though it does have some additional samples that came later).
posted by brainmouse at 10:52 AM on December 12, 2016

I think Andre 3000 is responding to the chorus: "Hope we feel this, feel this way forever, you can plan a pretty picture but you can't predict the weather."

From Genius.com:

"Young couples often throw the word “forever” around like it means nothing because they aren’t old enough to understand how long forever really is. When you get older, you realize that taking things day-by-day is rarely the wrong choice – even if it is less exciting than making promises to stay together forever that you really can’t keep.

"André never thought much of what “forever” really meant, but when he really analyzes it (as shown by his constant repetitions), he realizes how unlikely it was for a young couple like he and Erykah to stay together for life."
posted by ista at 10:55 AM on December 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

Agreed. I think it's just the contrast between saying "forever" casually and actually understanding that to mean forever (forever ever?)
posted by LKWorking at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

The version of Forever Came Today by the Jackson 5? It starts, "Ever, Forever ever and ever and ever"
posted by neustile at 12:42 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I thought it was a sly question to establish if it's *really* forever , such as when somebody says they like someone and you skeptically reply "do you LIKE like them?"
posted by kimberussell at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2016

There is sort of a childish implication there. Kids saying "Forever? Like forever-ever?"
posted by k8t at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: When I was thinking that that line was referencing something, what I meant more was that the phrase "forever ever, forever ever" in that particular cadence and/or inflection was used somewhere else. I initially thought it was possibly from something like a children's rhyme or a TV show or maybe even a children's TV show. For some reason, I thought it was maybe something from Reading Rainbow from those segments where they would read from books or maybe a song from The Electric Company.
posted by mhum at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

When I was thinking that that line was referencing something, what I meant more was that the phrase "forever ever, forever ever" in that particular cadence and/or inflection was used somewhere else.

Yes, I think that's the exact intention of the line. It gives me the same sense of familiarity that you describe, but I don't think it implies a specific reference to some other popular media. I think it speaks to the familiarity of childhood and life experience. It's extremely evocative, which is what you're feeling, and that is what makes it such good writing.

Or what k8t said.
posted by grog at 1:49 PM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have definitely heard this formula somewhere else, but it might have post-dated Ms. Jackson. For example, here it is in the spoken section of Under Your Spell, from the Drive soundtrack (and recorded in 2009).

Google Ngrams, "forever ever."
posted by grobstein at 10:29 PM on December 12, 2016

FWIW, I understand both your question and the sense that it's referencing something else. I have never been able to put a finger on that reference, though. For some reason, I really hate to think that it's NOT a reference to some earlier media, but maybe it does just sound so familiar because we hear things like it all the time. Argh.
posted by tyrantkitty at 6:26 PM on December 16, 2016

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