Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #8: "All of the Lights" -- Kanye West feat. ALL THE PEOPLE

No, that headline's not exactly that false... this song pretty much has everyone in it. Or, at least, a lot. Too many? Maybe. Eh, whatever.

I'm also aware that the song technically was released in 2010. That said, "All of the Lights" found its largest audience in 2011, so I feel compelled to include it.

Kanye's criminally-underrepresented-at-the-GRAMMYs My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is still talked about to this day as one of the biggest rap releases in a while, and its status as a critically-acclaimed piece of work only helps it along.

One of West's biggest strengths has been his ability to create beats and rhythms that are more than the simplistic drum loops and chords that many hip-hop artists resort to. "All of the Lights" is one of the best examples of this trend yet.

Featuring a majestic choir of horns and driving drums, the song features a plethora of different artists in addition to Kanye. 14 guest vocalists in all. Can you imagine the money spent on this song?

Luckily, things don't get too crowded -- probably due to the fact that only a few of the artists actually have individual parts. Rihanna is featured on the song's chorus, Kid Cudi on his own verse about halfway through, Fergie following Cudi. Elton John, of all people, features on the song's chorus toward its end, and Alicia Keys adds a few well-placed 'oh's.

In addition, Drake, Charlie Wilson, Ryan Leslie, John Legend, The-Dream, Tony Williams, Elly Jackson, Alvin Fields and Ken Lewis provide backing vocals. Damn. Daaaaaaayum.

It's incredibly over-the-top and excessive, but that's become something to be expected from West. And as the end result is beautifully conceived and features some of the top rhymes in rap from the past two years, I think we can give Kanye this.

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