New Kanye songs offer possible tastes of new album

Sunday, October 25, 2015 - 7:04pm

Two new Kanye West songs were published on the rapper’s SoundCloud account on Oct 19. The account has been active for years, but until these releases, no music had ever been released on it.

The songs aren’t exactly new. Rather, the first is a fresh take on West’s 808s & Heartbreak “Say You Will.” This time around, the song features Caroline Shaw, a Pulitzer Prize winning artist and composer. It’s approximately two minutes shorter than the original track but still maintains the key vocal distinction of West’s auto-tuned crooning. Ms. Shaw’s influence upon the updated “Say You Will” is immediately apparent. Her voice contributes an anxious rhythm to the song. The familiar electronic pings and rattles remain, but the additional vocals alleviate the cold nature of the production. The song inherently feels much grander in scope, as Shaw’s voice evolves from a nervous humming into sounding like a celestial being. Later, Shaw seems to do a sort of electronically enhanced scatting, providing the perfect accompaniment to West’s heartbroken lyrics.

In the next track, West doesn’t rap but sings once again, with his vocals laid over the same beat of The Weeknd’s “Tell Your Friends.” West also produced “Tell Your Friends,” and his ubiquitous presence has allowed him to stay on top of the music industry even without a new album. Titled “When I See It,” the song contains many key elements of West’s persona. His infamous ego is on display throughout the track, as he sings, “But I know what’s mine when I see it.” The song is a little under two-minutes but should satisfy his followers impoverished cravings.

The instrumentals of “When I See It” allude to the soul samples that were so prominent in West’s early career. A piano and crashing symbols form the heart of the production. He once again sings on the track, but his vocals lack the same emotionally broken quality of “Say You Will.” Not to suggest that West’s fans should root for him to be unhappy, but he has produced his best music in emotionally vulnerable states. The song alludes to his relationship with Kim, and how — although he has trouble expressing it verbally — he sees “Diamonds in the color of those eyes.”

West’s hardcore fans may treat these releases as a surprise.  The rapper recently said, “[he’s] not worried about the years,” regarding his upcoming album, SWISH. Instead, the megalomaniacal artist has focused on his Yeezy fashion line, which has garnered mixed reviews. Mr. West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, is also pregnant with their second child.

Perhaps these two new tracks are hints of SWISH, which has the haunting potential of becoming a holy grail for West fans. Yet the possibility that this remains another tease of SWISH is most likely.

Until SWISH arrives, keep hitting those refresh buttons.