Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

One of 2013’s best tracks finds Kanye West letting someone else have the last word

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week: What’s one of your favorite tracks so far this year?

It could be the sense that the rhymes come so off-the-cuff, an impression formed by Yeezus’ 11th-hour completion as well as the little hiccups that suggest “Bound 2” portrays Kanye West constantly surprising himself in a fit of freestyle reverie. It could be that beat, a crate-digging hybrid of honky-tonk flirtation and Jackson 5 posturing that’s as deceptive as any sample on West’s sixth solo LP—it sounds like a callback to the “chipmunk soul” with which Yeezy made his name as a producer, but the excerpt from Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s “Bound” is only notched up a few extra BPMs. (The voices really are that high-pitched on the original.) It could even be the surge of renewed interest in Brenda Lee that “Bound 2” inspired, giving rise to a handful of interviews with the sexagenarian rockabilly queen where her spunk and charm undercut the fact that her contributions to Yeezus’ closing track mutated into 2013’s most condescending hashtag.

But really, “Bound 2” bests every other song that I’ve heard in the past six months on the merits of the huge Charlie Wilson hook that first kicks in at the 1:42 mark. From out of nowhere, Wilson’s voice steals the show, the hook epitomizing Yeezus’ still-stunning ability to fill a room with the sparsest sonic ingredients. Brimming with energy, it’s the antidote to much of the ugliness that precedes “Bound 2,” a diagnosis of (though not necessarily an excuse for) the raw sentiments expressed throughout Yeezus. Loving with nobody to love can cause some toxic thoughts, but a voice like Wilson’s will always cut through the fumes.


Also: “Start a fight club / Brad re-Pitt-ation” is the Horrible Pun Of The Year, and all other challengers are merely groaning in its wake.


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