Kanye West’s new single Power – Visionary or self-indulgent garbage?

The hip-hop landscape has shifted quite a bit since Kanye West wowed us with his Graduation album. He took a diversion, released 808s and Heartbreak, frightened timid little Taylor Swift at an awards ceremony and disappeared for a bit.

Now he’s back with Power, the first single from his forthcoming album Good Ass Job. The teaser video is below, and I just don’t know what to make of it. Help me out folks.

Visually, the video’s amazing – you’ve got West standing in the midst of this neoclassical scene that’s like those photos in Harry Potter. You know, the characters move around a bit, so it feels a little bit like magic.

I’m inclined to say though, that Kanye’s still off his game. It’s maybe been three or four years since he’s released a song that’s truly inspired me. And I’m confused about the source – was it his sudden, stellar fame or the loss of his mother that stole Kanye’s mojo? Because that’s what it feels like. One day Kanye was the best thing ever, bragging and making grandiose statements coupled with fantastic hip-hop hooks and the next, everything became underwhelming.

Power feels like Kanye on autopilot. The not-quite-epic chanting in the background seems to be carrying too much of the tune, while Kanye drawls in a ‘can’t be bothered’ way that fails to convince me he cares.

And while we’re on the subject – dear pop marketers, for it’s you who are at fault – can we stop releasing endless teasers for new songs? I get an announcement about the single, an announcement about the artwork, a teaser of the video, then the full video, then a making of the video, then a making of the making of video. It’s lame. The song should speak for itself. Just release it and stop trying to drag out the publicity.

So, over to you lot – is Kanye’s Power as compelling as some of the Singles Jukebox reviewers suggest, or is it West going through the motions?

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  1. Dara Hickey

    I know exactly what you mean, he’s fallen where people like MIKA (‘Kick Ass (We Are Young)’) and even Jay-Z (‘On To The Next One’) have succeeded.

    He’s relying too much on the working’s of someone else to sell the song – e.g. the chanting is carrying the meoldy and is the most listenable part of the song, whereas Kanye is barely audible.

    But the video is amazing.

  2. RandomEnigma

    And just to inform you, the album is no longer called Good Ass Job. The video is interesting but ultimately unexciting. I’m not feeling the song at all – so it’s a relief to hear that you guys aren’t liking it much either. Its getting rave reviews everywhere though. Maybe people just decide because it’s Kanye and it’s faintly avant garde that it has to be brilliant.

    Gerard, I so agree about teasers and previews! Boring!!!

    1. Gerard McGarry

      I don’t want to hate on Kanye, but I haven’t heard anything that I’ve loved of his in ages. It’s a shame, because you can’t swagger around like Kanye West if the music isn’t truly astounding, even if you’re Kanye West.

      Re: Teasers and previews: it’s trying to stretch one piece of news out to be five or six. Feels like cheating to me. I don’t like it.

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