MUSICSong of the Day

Song of the Week: Kanye West – All Day

We’ve been waiting for Kanye West’s new album since last year, when he revealed that the album was nearly done. However, the album is only “80%” done now. Then again, who gives us the right to complain? Kanye West has bumped out single after single this year in preparation for this new album, which was finally announced as being titled So Help Me God. With Only One and Wolves, we saw West deal with a reevaluation of who he is and what life means to him. He may have taken a step back from his visceral ways on Yeezus.

Perhaps he hasn’t done that at all; not with a song like All Day out now. West cannot forget his performance-man roots for too long, and this banger is his promise to the world that he is still very self aware. If he didn’t seem to be that way at this year’s Grammy awards, he sure as hell does now. All Day is far from being as shocking as anything off of Yeezus, even though it does contain the odd digital ooze. If anything, it may be the most straight forwardly anthemic track West has released since the previous decade. It still tries to push itself with the odd production flair. However, this seems like the kind of song that would make more sense on the album. It is still a good song, and it will surely be one that you can recognize within microseconds. It just does not contain the kind of sheer independence some West songs have (look at New Slaves and Runaway). 

You know what West staple it does feel similar to? Power. Power is a terrific song, and it’s one that I only truly came to be familiar with when I heard it on its respective album. I am used to Kanye West trying many different things at once, so it’s his straightforward work that, oddly enough, ends up taking a bit longer to sit with me before I catch on. What I can tell from these first spins is that the inclusions of Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom are very small and noticeable mostly by name. Sir Paul McCartney has snuck into yet another West track, but he at least pushes air out of his windpipes this time (he whistles the outro). It is true that West is a perfectionist, but it is still a bit bizarre that these specific people were needed for these particular parts (whereas the ending of All of the Lights, we could tell that was Elton John’s signature voice, for instance). 

As I wait for So Help Me God, I will wait around with All Day and see how it seeps into my brain. It’s a fun track that feels like it is covered in a matte finish. It is crisp and it is also jagged. It sounds like it will serve as a rap-heavy anchor on the album and a crowd amping single at his shows. I will wait for the day that it will possibly lock in place for me, as it is rare for me to disagree with a Kanye West track entirely. I’ll need the bigger picture here for this song to go from good to great (if it does at all).

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.