Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Kanye West, "Power"

Kanye West has been keeping a low profile since drunkenly embarrassing himself at the Video Music Awards last September. He went to an ashram in India, and a recording studio in Hawaii and put his Hollywood house up for sale. Now he has returned to rap. And very, very well.

His new song, "Power," the first single from the forthcoming Good Ass Job, has none of the synth beats and Autotune-assisted singing that defined 2008's 808s & Heartbreak. Which was not so terrible in itself, but played a major role in making hip-hop radio as shitty as it's been since. (Drake, for example: Please stop.) With its military-march beat (a sample from King Crimson's 1969 "21st Centruy Schizoid Man," the great idea of Waco, Texas beatmaker S1) "Power" hearkens to one of his earliest hits, 2004's "Jesus Walks"-still probably the hardest song he's ever made. All in all, this provides a good lesson in how to recover from scandal: Disappear for a while, bury yourself in work, and come back with something your core-base fans will appreciate. "How's Ye doing?" he asks in the third verse. "I'm survivin'/I was drinking earlier/Now I'm drivin'…"


27 Comments / Post A Comment

Murgatroid (#2,904)

This song does nothing for me and furthermore, I love Drake (like, his album leaked last night and I stayed up until like, 4 this morning to listen to it). Take that.

David Cho (#3)

To me, this song is the best "street single" that Kanye's put out thus far. It may not be as anthem-y as 'Can't Tell Me 'Nothin' but for whatever reason it resonates and in its own way, at the risk of hyperbole, inspires?

I've made it most of the way through the Drake album and while it's alright, and I'm not as averse to it as Dave is, I think you're completely nuts if you think it even comes close to being as good as any of the first three Kanye to the albums or even Blueprint 3.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

You're right re: Kanye/BP3. The Drake album is kinda samey but that's probably due to Boi-1da's (didn't name him!) production. I still like it a lot though.

Honestly though, Drake's appeal for me is hard to pinpoint. He's a pretty awful rapper at times. Then again, Kanye isn't stellar all the time either.

David Cho (#3)

Drake's rapping v. Kanye's rapping I think isn't really comparable. I think sometimes Drake has kind of clever things that he says, but as far as clever wordplay goes, I think Pusha or Kanye to the are better?

I'm not sure what Drake's appeal is either, but I think it's the same thing Kid Cudi has. Both with one GREAT song (Best I Ever Had and Day and Night, respectively) and then some decent followups. Truth be told, I'm not so into either of them, but I had a brief dalliance in thinking that Drake was someone I liked, he has more one off songs that I like: Over, Best I Ever Had, Forever, Loonies To Blow, etc.

But I stand by my original stance that neither of then come close to Kanye, the album cuts on Late Registration are so good, and even the worst (let's say the frat song or the Ludacris song) are still solid, solid entries.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

I've liked pretty much everything Drake has put out during the past few years (like So Far Gone and after that). I know it's not what you mean by "one off songs" but I was so desperate for Thank Me Later that I was downloading individual track leaks off Nah Right and I never do that! (More of an album guy, which is not very rap or 2010 of me but whatever.)

Kid Cudi: "Day 'n' Nite" is a decent single at best but it just gets worse from there.

Whatever my thoughts may be on Kanye as a whole, I'll agree with you on Late Registration. You can't really fuck with "Heard 'Em Say" -> "Touch The Sky" -> "Gold Digger".

Dave Bry (#422)

"Best I Ever Had" won me over with it's cleverness. And I like the verses from "Successful" (the "nickels for thoughts line…") But I've come to strongly dislike Drake for the tired tired tired Autotune and rhymes that are not that great delivered with a tone of great import. ("What am I doing? Oh, that's right, I'm doing me.") And the music is so overblown. I haven't heard his whole album, but every time he comes on the radio now (which is pretty much every other song at this point) i want to change the station.

Kid Cudi, I'm kind having the opposite progression with. I thought "Day and Night" was not so great-pretty basic bit of retro '80s synth pop. But then i love the "Poker Face" song with Common and Kanye. And I like the recent track he did for Cam and Vado a lot. So now i feel like maybe I'm coming around on Kudi.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

I hope this doesn't turn into an Autotune debate but let's just say that as long as someone, say Drake for instance, doesn't T-Pain me over the head with it (wait, is T-Pain Autotune or one of the other vocal distortion methods, don't even remember, too early), I don't have much of a problem with it.

Kudi's (ha, I like it) "Poker Face" song? NOOOOOOOO. And I'm pro-Gaga, so she's not the problem.

blueprint (#2,019)

Cudi is like a football team that plays up/down depending on the competition. Give him a great beat, and he'll kill it. Run-of-the-mill beats don't get that same effort.

As a fellow Clevelander, I'm likely biased, but his "A Kid Named Cudi" mixtape is the best place to get a good feel for what he's all about.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Wouldn't a more proper analogy be a team that plays depending on the weather or the crowd maybe? I dunno. Yeah, besides the point.

David Cho (#3)

I think he means when a team plays down to the level of a team worse than they are, instead of bringing their a-game every single time.

This song is GREAT.

(NB have not heard the Drake leak yet.)

spanish bombs (#562)

you guys have like the worst taste in rap.

lululemming (#409)


Dave Bry (#422)

Hey! (Ha!)

lululemming (#409)

I am going back to the Madonna/ Gaga thread to post more Erasure YouTubes, because at minute 2:32 of this song the background loop started to feel like a worm tunneling through my brain.

Fernando Rizo (#4,396)

Song got yanked already.

growler (#476)

And yanked again.


Moff (#28)

This is fan-fucking-tastic.

blueprint (#2,019)

I'm starting to think that "A Good Ass Job" is going to be Kanye's "Blueprint". It's clear from his various guest appearances since "808s" and this track that he's the best rapper in the business. (At least for now).

Slava (#216)

Kanye, of course, does not lose a chance to let other's blow his own horn:

C_Webb (#855)

The backup sounds uncannily like the B-52s.

Art Yucko (#1,321)


deepomega (#1,720)

Am I the only one getting a weird Lyrics Born vibe off of this?

Most people are overwhelmingly endorsing this song, but a few people are saying that it's awful.


1. I have this thing about listening to songs before the album leaks: If I know that I am going to buy the album sound unheard, I don't want to hear any of its songs before the entire album is available. This is because I don't want to ruin the album experience and have certain songs' memories tied to that time I listened to it right after it was leaked. It really ruins the artistic vision of an actual album. So I refuse to listen to this song until the whole album is available. But I've been reading everyone's (literally) reaction to it because reading about songs NEVER gives away anything about what the song actually sounds like.

2. I may be the biggest Kanye stan in the history of Kanye stans and I love love love pretty much everything he's ever done. The College Dropout came out just as I was graduating high school and lamenting the idea of college. Late Registration came out as I was going through the lameness of college. Graduation came out months before I graduated college and 808s came out just as I was dealing with a terrible breakup. This is the music of my life and I take it extremely seriously. So even if the song's awful, you'll never hear me say anything sideways about Kanye.

katiebakes (#32)

I enjoyed reading these comments, even though I understood very little. (Loved ReginalTSquirge's lovely line, though, that "reading about songs NEVER gives away anything about what the song actually sounds like.")

I also enjoyed this song. Can't ask for much more.

Thanks. If I hear one more writer describe a rap song as having "haunting synths", I'm going to shoot myself. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!!!???

I'm all for music criticism and discussion, but don't try to use words to describe a sound that does so much more.

Post a Comment