It’s Yeezus season again. On New Year’s Day, Kanye West appeased his hungry fans with his first single “Only One.” Fans have been clamoring to hear when Kanye will drop his new album after Rihanna sold tickets for a meet and greet with him as well as backstage access to his 2015 tour at her charity ball.
Kanye confessed in an interview that his upcoming work will be as dark as his previous two albums “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and “Yeezus,” albeit with a little less anger. This description is rather spot-on for his single “Only One” featuring Paul McCartney.
While Kanye tends to have a negative reputation for his attitude and his marriage to the controversial Kim Kardashian, no one can doubt his musical prowess and success. With over 53 Grammy nominations and 21 Grammy wins, he is one of the most decorated artists of this generation.
Yet, since his mother’s death, Kanye has been caricaturized as an egomaniac who is disrespectful of others. His infamous comments to Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards and the media whirlwind that followed are remembered by Kanye fans and critics alike, and social memes have sprouted that make fun of his self-centered behavior. However, this track is a reminder of Kanye’s more tender side that is not shown in the media.
Accompanied by Paul McCartney on the electric piano with no other instruments, Kanye’s auto-tuned voice sings from the perspective of his mother, Donda West, to himself. While it is easy to cast it off as a sob story, compared to Kanye’s aggressive and at times brash mannerisms, this side of Kanye is a welcome reprieve.
Calling back memories of “Hey Mama” and “Coldest Winter,” the song once again reminds listeners of Kanye’s close and loving relationship with his mother. In this case, Kanye sings from his mother Donda West’s perspective,) reminding her son that even though he has found happiness in his wife and his daughter, she will always be with him. She also reminds her son of the steps taken to overcome his mistakes.
In the first hook, Kanye sings, “Hello my Only One, remember who you are/ No you’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes.”
He then continues to sing, “Oh the good outweighs the bad even on your worst day.”
He ends the track with Donda reminding Kanye to tell his daughter about her. This heartfelt message provides closure, and it is a fitting way to launch the newest chapter in Kanye’s life as a husband and father.
While this track is a far cry from “Yeezus,” fans are now used to witnessing a new and perhaps improved Kanye on each of his successive albums. Hopefully, this new ballad’s success on the charts will be an indicator of the strength of Kanye’s next album.