Song 29: Kanye West, “Runaway” (2010)Posted: January 29, 2013
I understand why people don’t like Kanye West. The stunts, the self-loathing, the fact that he is having a child with a Kardashian. At this point, though, getting annoyed at Kanye West is like complaining about the weather. It passes the time, but it doesn’t matter. Yeezy will always do annoying things, because that what Yeezy does.
The thing is, Kanye West knows that too, and some of his best songs come from that knowledge. “Runaway” may be the most self-aware song of all time, so much so that I almost join the ones who dislike him. But this song is just so dang beautiful, and it’s so over-the-top in its solipsism that it becomes something more than just whining. “Runaway” is like a mini-opera about how terrible Kanye West can be, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work on me every time.
I like the five-minute single version, but the full album version is better. I think the last few minutes are some of the best work that West has ever done (which, for a guy that produced some of the best beats on The Blueprint, is saying something). As he gets more frustrated with his inability to be a normal person, his voice becomes distorted and unintelligible. All the while, those strings back him up, underlining his misery.
Look, this shouldn’t work. I should be disgusted by a millionaire grumbling about his problems. Have I been putting up with his shit just way too long? Yes. Do I mind? Never.