I have a probably quite weird attachment to Kanye. I relate to him on a personal level in a way I don’t relate to any other artist living or dead. It started at the end of 2007 when he lost his mother and I was losing mine, and now I’ve like… bonded to him or something. I don’t know. When he talks and everyone else hears “ranting”, I just hear the truth. Kanye West’s happiness is very important to me, like seriously, in a weird way. Which is why I just opened up 2015 in tears, because ‘Only One’ his surprise new song, makes me feel like Kanye is happy.
I literally woke up approximately 20 minutes ago and opened Instagram because that’s what I do when I’m at home in Cov while I’m waiting for my brother to make tea. I saw this and I swear to you, my heart rate accelerated so hard I thought I was dying.
I use desktop iTunes to download new music because I have an iPod Classic. My laptop is three years old now, so naturally it operates at the speed of a paraplegic who has lost their walking aids, so I sent an excited tweet as it booted up, mainly to confirm I wasn’t hallucinating and then I dropped my phone.
Then iTunes decided it wanted to “check library” or whatever when I opened it, so in desperation I just googled the track and landed on Kanye’s official website, where the whole thing streamed in full.
Oh, and I started full on crying at the line “I know you’re happy ’cause I can see it”. And I only stopped crying 5 minutes ago.
I knew I would cry. Kim Kardashian West set me up. “Kanye felt like his mom was singing thru him to our daughter.” What in emotional trainwreck hell? Not even “feat. Paul McCartney” could ruin a vibe like that. Still, even without that warning I probably would have been gone by the time I hit the outro. “Tell Nori about me…” My heart and soul is aching with empathy.
Anyway, enough about me, here’s some real things about the song:
1. It’s completely autotune Kanye. I feel like 808s And Heartbreak was unpopular at the time but people have slowly come around to it, whereas I am and always have been firmly team autotune-Kanye. This track would not fit on 808s though.
2. Kanye’s autotune voice sits so high in the mix that the beat almost seems like an afterthought. You get the best sense of it in the outro. Like a musical jewellery box playing underwater.
3. Though the song is ostensibly from Donda to Nori, the lyrical content reads more of a message from mother to son. When you lose a parent, trying to figure out what guidance they would give you if they were still around is a phenomenal headfuck, so it’s beautiful to me that Kanye can find that place so eloquently. Maybe it really was his mother talking to him. Oh, I’m crying again.
4. The idea that Kanye actually greets Nori with the words “Hello my only one…” is just ridiculous in how adorable and perfect it is.
5. I don’t know how Paul McCartney contributes to this and I don’t care.
I’m so glad this is the song that started my year. It’s beautiful. Kanye is happy even if the voice in his head doesn’t believe it. He’s not perfect but he’s not his mistakes. His mother is proud of him. He asked for an angel and now he has two.
I’m happy too.
Even though I’m crying.