Image Credit: Foc Kan/WireImage.com“I guess every superhero needs his theme music,” Kanye West says at the start of a newly leaked song called “Power.” This is, maybe, our first glimpse of the mysterious album he’s reportedly been working on in Hawaii all these months. Kanye West, back to save the day! Yet “Power” is something darker and more complicated than a rah-rah Superman theme. “No one man should have all that power” is the full line from which the title is drawn. That’s an ambivalent phrase to hook a potential single on.
The same tangle of moods and intentions continues through the rest of “Power.” One moment, West is attacking anyone who dares mock him (“F— SNL and the whole cast”). The next, he’s humbly explaining his long absence from the public eye (“I just needed time alone with my own thoughts”). “How’s ‘Ye doing? I’m surviving,” he offers at one point — then undermines that statement with the following line: “I was drinking earlier, now I’m driving.” Loaded words for someone who knows what a car crash feels like. The song concludes with a creepy, suicide-themed call-and-response section with “Flashing Lights” singer Dwele.
Let’s say you didn’t speak English and couldn’t catch those lyrics, though. The beat behind “Power” tells an entirely different story as it builds from handclaps and hollers to an epic prog-rap groove that samples King Crimson to a rich orchestral finale à la Late Registration. On a purely musical level, this is superhero theme territory, all right. Happy Memorial Day weekend.
West’s label is keeping mum about “Power,” so we can’t know for sure whether this song is finished or what (if anything) it has to do with his next album. In the meantime, have you heard “Power”? How do you like it?
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