Written by an American artist who had just lost his mother, lost his girlfriend, and sunk into a depression, “Say You Will” by Kanye West brilliantly portrays the deep and dark emotions that the artist was going through at this time in his career. The lyrics of the song detail a toxic relationship with an ex-girlfriend and extreme sadness. To reinforce this feeling of emptiness Kanye mimicked the production of drummer Phil Collins. Phil Collins had come up with a method of drum programming in which manipulated the reverb to make the drums hit hard but still sound dull and lifeless. Over the distorted 808s is Kanye’s singing voice covered in autotune to accentuate how out of pitch he is, making him sound like a broken man. The last two minutes of the song is just the instrumental on loop with a choir in the back, leaving a brooding atmosphere. Kanye wrote the song in a high pitch and presto tempo. The time signature is 4/4.

Kanye didn’t always make songs like this though: before “Say you Will” on his fourth album “808s and Heartbreaks”, Kanye’s music was grand and orchestral, and his lyrics ostentatious. This is best recognized by songs like “Touch the Sky” and “Flashing Lights” off of his second and third studio albums in which he raps about money, clothes, and females juxtaposed to his down-trodden lyrics on 808s and Heartbreaks. Losing his girlfriend and mother stripped him to his bare-bones, where vulnerability and imperfection shone through.

Music is very subjective and about interpretation. Our job as listeners is to refer to other similar-sounding music to determine what sounds good or bad, but in Kanye’s case, I simply can’t. With that said, I don’t think Kanye has ever peaked, I think he’s only changed. To explain further, each album of West’s brings a completely new era. Each new sound is completely distinct from the last, showing his growth as an artist. For example, Yeezus is abundantly different from its subsequent album “The Life of Pablo” in every way. His most recent album, “Jesus is King,” is very different from “Ye”. The renowned “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is very different from “808s and Heartbreaks”. They are all superlative manifestations of Kanye’s artistic expressions at the time they were made. I would be remiss to say one album is better than another, so I can not definitively say Kanye has ever peaked. But then again, music is subjective.


Kanye West Conan interview

Article by Huey

instagram: @chukieoj

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