Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Fridays: What's Really G.O.O.D.?
Since Gimme Noise last cherry-picked West's offerings a G.O.O.D. month and a half ago, we figured we'd get you up to speed on the series' more recent highlights.
(Would "Lost In The World" make the list? Sure, but we already went on about that at length, didn't we? So no more about that.)
1. "Don't Stop!"
Every now and again, West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell Williams join forces as Child Rebel Soldier to kick out a communal mic-pass joint that has nothing whatsoever to do with the inhumanity and insanity of the experience of being an actual child rebel solider. (Would "Billionaire Boys' Club" be a worse handle? I'm not sure. Anyway, somebody needs to mash "Don't Stop!" up with this, post-haste.) "Don't Stop!" - which you can score from Kanye's website here - doesn't stave off the exploitative ickiness associated with that name, but it will make you feel guilty or guiltily uncomfortable, because it's downright irresistible as a moneyed-rake banger. Best not to even try to fight the lure of those rattling cowbells, those zig-zagging synths, that coke-charged conga-line vibe, a zoning Williams talking out of his ass as per usual, Fiasco merrily playing alliterative connect-the-dots, West grandly swooping in at the end to make all that came before moot, the melody gear-shifting neatly into a new phase of maraca-shaking frenzy half-way through his verse. Totally meaningless, sure, but also more fun than a barrel of monkeys or protesting the long-delayed release of the forthcoming Lupe album on the streets of Manhattan. Will this ever see official release in any form? Would Pharrell Williams make a credible U.N. goodwill ambassador? Does it even really matter?
2. "The Joy"
In the weeks leading up to a tent-pole rap release, anything's possible and everything's on the table, but as of right now "The Joy" isn't slated to appear on either West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or Watch The Throne, his due-in-early-2011 collaboration album with Jay-Z. That's a damn shame, because "Joy" is that rare world-collide event-rap cut that more than lives up to its overabundant pre-leak hype - in this case, legendary rap producer Pete Rock mixing it up a Curtis Mayfield and West and Jay-Z and emerging with something so buttery, so sumptuous, and so downright velvety that there oughta be a law prohibiting its performance in places where liquor is served. (I guess Kid Cudi is involved too, but don't ask me how.) This is what classics are made of, really - reminds me, a bit, of Jay's own "Party Life" and the general 70s red-curtain ambiance of American Gangster overall - and if you'd planned to bypass the entire G.O.O.D. enterprise, Gimme Noise implores you grab this song at the very least - if only to hear West rap "Gave her a handshake only for my man's sake/She in her birthday suit, cuz of the damn cake/Now there's crumbs all over the dame place/And she want me to cum all over her damn face" and, improbably, celebrate the wonder of childhood while simultaneously restoring to onanism the rank immorality the Bible initially assigned it. Also, peep an impassioned, on-point Hova: "Give all glory to Gloria/They said you raised that boy too fast, but you was raising a warrior/We victorious, they'll never take the joy from us."
3. "Christian Dior Denim Flow"
"Christian Dior Denim Flow" - West's got it up for download here - isn't so much a song you listen to as much as it's a quicksand puddle one slowly and imperceptibly sinks into, its drearily fizzing electro facade sneakily losing gas and oomph as the track progresses, a sense of doomed intractability seeping into the rasping poly-vocal chorus every time it resurfaces and lending the underlying theme of perpetual partying and tricking an epic poignance and scope even as the listener begins to feel as trapped in a VIP lounge Groundhog Day loop as the performers do. The sum of this vessel of undertow gloom almost serves to overshadow its parts - no, scratch that, it does overshadow its parts, but that's okay. I just listened to this song three times with an eye to zeroing in on what makes it special in terms of vocal performances, but ultimately the unsettling vibe is the star, and what individuals contribute is largely irrelevant. Just listen.
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