Song of the Day #3,132: ‘Ultralight Beam’ – Kanye West

kanye_life_of_pabloEach January I like to check out the annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, now in its 44th year, to get a sense of what critics thought of the previous year in music.

It usually leans a little more toward infuriating than illuminating, as critics tend to flock toward the same obvious choices. If Kanye West farts on record, it has a 100% chance of making the top ten in this poll. That said, I have also discovered some great songs there that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard.

The big shock this year is that Beyoncé did not top the ‘Best Albums’ list. She did finish a very close second, but the consensus among the 500+ voters was that David Bowie’s Blackstar was the album of the year.

Now, we all know that Blackstar wouldn’t have had a shot at #1 had Bowie not died two days after its release. But his passing was enough to (just) edge out Lemonade.

That’s a shame, because Beyoncé would have been only the second woman to top the list since 1998, when Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels On a Gravel Road captured the prize (the other female winner was Tune-Yards, the avant-garde musical project of Merrill Garbus, in 2011). Only six women have landed in the top spot through 44 years, while Kanye West has done so four times in the last 13. Telling.

It’s not the album list but the singles list that I’ll be examining here on the blog, and Beyoncé did capture the top spot there, with ‘Formation.’

In the second slot is, you guessed it, Kanye West, with this (pretty good) track from The Life of Pablo. Surprisingly, the album made it to only #10.

[Intro: Samoria Green & Natalie Green]
(Yes, God)
We don’t want no devils in the house, God (Yes, Lord)
We want the lord (Yes, Jesus)
And that’s it (Yes, God)
Hallej- hand over Satan (Yes, Jesus)
Jesus praise the Lord (Yes, God)
Hallelujah, God (Yes, God)
We don’t want no devils in the house, God (Yes, Lord)
We want the lord (Yes, Jesus)
And that’s it (Yes, God)
Hallej- hand over Satan (Yes, Jesus)
Jesus praise the Lord (Yes, God)

[Hook 1: Kanye West & The-Dream]
I’m tryna keep my faith
We on an ultralight beam
We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is everything
This is everything
Deliver us serenity
Deliver us peace
Deliver us loving
We know we need it
You know we need it
You know we need it
That’s why we need you now, oh, I
Pray for Paris
Pray for the parents
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
We on an ultralight beam
We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is everything
Everything (Thing, thing, thing)

[Chorus: The-Dream & Choir]
I’m tryna keep my faith
But I’m looking for more
Somewhere I can feel safe
And end my holy war
I’m tryna keep my faith

[Verse 1: Kelly Price (Choir)]
So why send oppression not blessings?
Why, oh why’d you do me wrong? (More)
You persecute the weak
Because it makes you feel so strong
(To save) Don’t have much strength to fight
So I look to the light
(War) To make these wrongs turn right
Head up high, I look to the light
Hey, ’cause I know that you’ll make everything alright
And I know that you’ll take good care of your child
Oh, no longer am afraid of the night
‘Cause I, I look to the light

[Verse 2: Chance The Rapper]
When they come for you, I will shield your name
I will field their questions, I will feel your pain
No one can judge
They don’t, they don’t know
They don’t know
Foot on the Devil’s neck ’til it drifted Pangaea
I’m moving all my family from Chatham to Zambia
Treat the demons just like Pam
I mean I fuck with your friends, but damn, Gina
I been this way since Arthur was anteater
Now they wanna hit me with the woo wap, the bam
Tryna snap photos of familia
My daughter look just like Sia, you can’t see her
You can feel the lyrics, the spirit coming in braille
Tubman of the underground, come and follow the trail
I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell
I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail
He said let’s do a good ass job with Chance three
I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy
Let’s make it so free and the bars so hard
That there ain’t one gosh darn part you can’t tweet
This is my part, nobody else speak
This is my part, nobody else speak
This little light of mine
Glory be to God, yeah
I’ma make sure that they go where they can’t go
If they don’t wanna ride I’ma still give them raincoats
Know what God said when he made the first rainbow
Just throw this at the end if I’m too late for the intro
Ugh, I’m just having fun with it
You know that a nigga was lost
I laugh in my head
‘Cause I bet that my ex looking back like a pillar of salt
Ugh, ’cause they’ll flip the script on your ass like Wesley and Spike
You cannot mess with the light
Look at lil’ Chano from 79th

[Hook 2: Kanye West]
We on an ultralight beam
We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is everything
Everything

[Chorus: The-Dream (Natalie Is Great) & Choir]
Yes, God
Hallelujah
I’m tryna keep my faith
(Yes, Jesus)
But I’m looking for more
Somewhere I can feel safe
And end my holy war

[Outro: Kirk Franklin & Choir]
Father, this prayer is for everyone that feels they’re not good enough
This prayer’s for everybody that feels like they’re too messed up
For everyone that feels they’ve said “I’m sorry” too many times
You can never go too far when you can’t come back home again
That’s why I need…
Faith, more, safe, war

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One thought on “Song of the Day #3,132: ‘Ultralight Beam’ – Kanye West

  1. Dana says:

    I was annoyed by Kanye before, but his recent support of Trump threw me right over the edge. I wonder if his politics dinged him with the presumably liberal Village Voice?

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