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The Purple Quill

The online student news site of Elder High School

The Purple Quill

The online student news site of Elder High School

The Purple Quill

The Life of Pablo-Exegesis

Kanye’s brilliance is evident in each song

The Life of Pablo is one of the most derisive albums of the 2010’s and even some of those who thoroughly enjoyed the album might have not known truly what it meant, so I would like to analyze and uncover the brilliance or otherwise mediocrity of each song.

1. ‘Ultra-Light Beam’ (featuring Chance the Rapper)

Kanye opens his album by expressing his Christianity through this song with its Gospel overtone, those who have heard his earlier albums may be reminiscent to his previous Gospel hip-hop. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album, which is a feeling that Kanye is going to praise something bigger than himself. Kanye is often critiqued for his arrogance, but this song pushes past his arrogance and is almost universally liked. Even though it’s not the first time Kanye has gotten spiritual, it represents a new transition into something different for Kanye. It presents the listener with the idea that this will not be the typical Kanye album with its typical hype up music. My favorite bar: “I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell. I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail.”

2. ‘Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1 & Pt. 2’ (featuring Kid Cudi and Desiigner)

While Kanye continues with the clear Gospel overtone, the message becomes less wholesome. The opening 30 seconds of this song may be the most iconic opening of any Kanye song in general. The angelic singing with the lead up to the beat drop makes it one of the best songs of the album in general. With its dramatic build up, catchy beat, and funny and clever bars, “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” is certainly a fan favorite and not to mention one of his most played songs of all time with well over 816 million listens on Spotify. Part 2 is often overlooked, however. Kanye chose here to remix the song “Panda” but for me, the song simply comes off as too simple and unique for a Kanye Song. My favorite bar: “If I ever instigated, I’m sorry”

3. ‘Freestyle 4’

Any Gospel tone of the album is starting to fade as the opening lines of this song are extremely explicit. This is one of my least favorite songs of the album, and one of my least favorite Kanye songs in general. Here Kanye comes off as some generic rapper, and this song does not really have any genuine Kanye creativity, or any of his normal idiosyncrasies present in his songs. This song can be overlooked completely in this album and doesn’t really do much except its one redeeming aspect which is that it sets the tone for the next song. It really shows that not every Kanye song is a masterpiece, but I’m sure there are some who thoroughly enjoy this song. It’s really just not my style. My favorite bar: “Can you bring your price down? Lil Boosie with the wipe down. A little woozy but I’m nice now.”

4. ‘Famous’ (featuring Rihanna)

This song is the height of Kanye’s energy in the album. The build up from his previous to songs releases itself in the form of one of Kanye’s most controversial songs of all time. This song, because of his Taylor Swift diss, made Kanye hated by a lot of Taylor Swift fans. The lines: “For all my Southside [people] that know me best. I feel like me and Taylor might still have s*x. Why? I made that b***h famous” The blatant aggression in these lines towards Taylor Swift comes from the incident where Kanye interrupted Taylor at the Grammy’s. In these lines he is saying that by his interruption he did not harm her he increased her popularity, so nobody should complain about him. With all this being said this song is an absolute Kanye classic, containing his clever flow and the little aspects which make it a true Kanye song such as the “Wake up Mr. West” followed by “Oh, he’s up!” leading into some solid Kanye verses. This song redeemed the rap aspect of this album and is definitely a fan favorite. My favorite bar: “She in school to be a real estate agent. Last month I helped her with the car payment.”

5. ‘Highlights’ (featuring Young Thug)

This is Kanye’s sixth song that uses the word “lights”  2007 “Flashing Lights”, 2008 “Street Lights from 808’s & Heartbreak, 2010 “All of the Lights (Interlude)” and “All of the Lights” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2016 “Ultralight Beam”, “Low Lightsand to be frank it did not live up to these other songs. Which do not get me wrong is a tough task to face, however it lacked that defining aspect which can set a song apart, to me it seemed rather lackluster. The flow is nice and there’s nothing I particularly dislike about the song, but it just wasn’t amazing. This song does signal the album slowing down a little into a more chill self-reflection album. My favorite bar of the album:21 Grammys, superstar family. We the new Jacksons, I’m all about that action.”

6. ‘Feedback’

This song is a sort of chill rap, and although simple I actually really enjoy listening to it. Kanye kind of just speaks his mind through his lyrics and there is actually a level of relatability to these lyrics. This song definitely signals Kanye’s change from this album into a more emotional thought-provoking closing section of the album. His line which he repeats many times, “Wake up” can be seen as referencing the choice presented on the album cover itself, which shows a family wedding photo and a model. He could be seen as telling those ‘sleeping on him’ to wake up, but perhaps Kanye is telling himself to wake up to a life that’s bigger than models and money. This song is definitely slept on. My favorite bar: “Ayy, y’all heard about the good news? Y’all sleeping on me, huh? Had a good snooze?”

7. ‘Fade’ (featuring Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign)

This song is first of the less energetic, slower monotone, and overall, not the hype up Kanye songs which arise at the end of this Kanye album. While it still has its rap presence, it is better seen as an emotional closing to the rap section of tis album. Kanye speaks on how someone’s love is fading. Now obviously he is talking about his, at the time, wife Kim Kardashian. This entire album has Kanye saying how he wants change in his life, but seemingly in this song he realizes it’s too late and her love is already ‘fading’. My favorite bar: “I think I think too much. I feel it’s fadin’. Your love is fadin’. I feel it”

8. ‘FML’ (featuring The Weeknd)

This song is definitely the lowest point of the album. Kanye sings about his entrapment in this life he does not want, and how he desires a way out. He feels by his lifestyle he constantly jeopardizes his life itself. Kanye definitely presents the listener with the question if they even enjoy their own lives. This song shows his desire for something more than the rap industry which is full of things that do not improve his life. His entire life is centered around his music career, which now is something he cannot enjoy as he previously did. Now he wants to mess his life up hence the title FML. My favorite bar: I been feeling all I’ve given. For my children. I will die for those I love.”

9. ‘Real Friends’ (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)

In this song Kanye analyzes his friends in his own life where previously he was looking at things like his love life, his career, and his wealth. Now he dedicates an entire song to looking into his own friendships. He states how all his friends are fake because he doesn’t like his family either. How those he has helped out and given money have put dirt on his name, and how in all of his struggle he has nobody to turn to. This summarizes this section of this album. After all of the rap and fast-moving music it slows down to reveal Kanye’s struggle and his desire for something new. My favorite bar: “I hate when a [person] text you like, “What’s up, fam? Hope you good.” You say, “I’m good, I’m great”, the next text they ask you for somethin’.”

10. ‘Wolves’ (featuring Sia and Frank Ocean)

This is one of my favorite closing songs of any Kanye album. “Wolves” summarizes the goal of the entire album, it looks into love, loss heartbreak, vulnerability, and Kanye’s raw pain in his grief. My personal favorite aspect of the song is the haunting vocals which it opens with from Bjork. This song specifically plays into a tragic event in Kanye’s life where his wife Kim was robbed at Gunpoint. This emotional event sends him into a spiral where he looks deep into the sides of their relationship, and how they both have their own flaws. Once again Kanye presents his desire to change, and as the song finishes the listener is left with the haunting vocals replaying in their mind. A perfect summary of this album.

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