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808s & Heartbreak Week: "Bad News"

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It’s fairly clear that this song’s about his ex cheating on him and apparently cheating on him for awhile, but what’s so interesting–although frustrating too–is how Kanye sort of mumbles and rambles around the issue and never confronts it head-on. Whether this was conscious or just the result of Kanye doing his best to deal with something that’s really embarrassing–especially if you’re a guy, a famous guy at that–but even now, even as he makes an album that millions will hear, he can’t totally confront it or like, verbalize it directly.

Most of “Bad News” is clunking along drums, elegant strings, and the occasional synth fart that sounds like a 1UP in Super Mario Brothers or something, and it’s not trying to reflect Kanye’s mood or express what he can’t express in lyrics, it’s sort of this odd extension, the same plodding whirl of interesting and boring bullshit that Kanye’s lyrics are about. That doesn’t justify the song or anything, but it makes it make sense.

The complaint about the song’s length and extended all music outro is more annoying to think about than to actually hear. In the scope of the album, it feels far shorter than two minutes of just music and it’s less indulgent because it actually moves and does things (but doesn’t signify emotions or anything), unlike the beats on Late Registration, where it sounded like Kanye excited to use fancy-pants strings and mellotrons for no other reason than he had access to them. Here, it’s not quite as high-brow which helps and like I said, it’s not some explosion of musical emotion but like, a dive further inside. That Kanye comes out of the other end of this song (and experience) with “See You In My Nightmares”, the song where he formally announces/decides this relationship shit needs to end, makes “Bad News” the soundtrack to those hours, weeks, months, of indecision about whether he should drop this crazy cheating broad or not.

Written by Brandon

December 16th, 2008 at 4:00 am

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