Love him or really love him, Kanye’s always been an innovator. He re-wired the hip-hop game a few years back with his signature soul sampling style, and then took it to another level when he sampled Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” for his hit single “Stronger” (Have you heard it before? Were you alive in 2007? Side note – not too long after the release of this song, Wale freestyled over Justice’s D.A.N.C.E. He still has a warrant out for his arrest since he murdered the track like Ed Gein…let the dick riding continue).
So here come the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and Kanye drops his new single, “Love Lockdown” almost exactly 1 year from the release of his last album, “Graduation.” To say this is his most ambitious single to date is a bit of an understatement. Not only is the ridiculous obsession with Auto-Tune in full effect (it actually works in this song), Mr. West exchanges rapping for all out crooning. Now it was brought to my attention last night that some people around the age of 20 or 21 do not know what crooning means. If you are part of this group, I pity you and will not define the word for you because then you’ll never learn. I suggest you go to your local high school, steal a Word Wealth book, and read it from front to back while listening to nothing but Morrissey on your ipod. If you don’t know why I mentioned Morrissey and crooning in the same rant, then click the little X on the top right corner of your screen and never come back to this site. Anyway, besides the vocal effects, the you’ll notice that the only sounds in the entire song are drum beats. The song is carried entirely by a slow, but booming 808, and a drum-line beat that is layered on top during the chorus.
Now that I’ve full described the aural landscape that will be painted on your eardrums, I must mention the lyrics. Kanye has titled the song 100% appropriately – the song is basically about keeping your love and emotions under control because certain circumstances are preventing them from coming into fruition. Depressing? Yes. Heartfelt? Of course. Addicting as sweet salubrious sin? Let’s just say if this song came in liquid form, I’d be on my bathroom floor tying off with a rubber hose so often, my friends would start calling me Renton. At the same time, the only non-familial love I’ve experienced in the last 18 months is being on the wrong end of the score in a game of Wii tennis. But it doesn’t matter, the lyrics have enough ambiguity for me to relate them to other things in my life. For example since the Cincinnati Bengals have decided to start playing like the JV team at the local high school in Wasilla, Alaska, and pushed me to the brink of questioning my loyalty, the following lines have resonated throughout my head:
“I’m not lovin’ you, the way I wanted to
I can’t keep my cool, so I keep it true
I got somethin’ to lose, so I gotta move
I can’t keep myself, and still keep you too
So I keep in mind, when I’m on my own,
Somewhere far from home, in the danger zone
How many times did I tell you before I finally got through,
You lose, you lose.”
Who am I kidding I can’t turn my back on those crazy bastards. Being disappointed in them losing is like being upset at your disabled child finishing 4th in the 200 meter hurdles at the Special Olympics because he decided to start gnawing on a hurdle 50 meters from the finish line. So there you go, you can really relate it to anything. What else? Octopus. What else? Oysters. Seriously though what else? How about one’s love for alcohol and the socially unaccepted practice of drinking alone?
“I’m in love with you, the way I wanted to
See I wanna move, but can’t escape from you
So I keep it low, keep a secret code
So everybody else don’t have to know”
Oh shit, now this is getting a little dark and depressing. Kinda like Duck Phillips abandoning his beloved dog outside of his office so he can have a couple sips of scotch. Dude I know you had a rough 18 months at Sterling Cooper, and your ex-wife is remarrying, but how can you play Chauncey like that? Keep your cool like Don Draper (an absolute master at keeping his love locked down).
Kan-yeezy has stated on his blog that this is his favorite record ever and there is an unmastered version floating around the internet. I am 99% sure when the final version is released, it will feel like a koala bear crapped a rainbow in your brain. Now go get your fucking shine box.