You know you can't sing when you have the Roger Troutman vocoder effect on your voice and you still sound bad.
But you can't tell Kanye West nothing. Despite the fact that his singing voice sounds as grueling as Teddy Riley did on the 1990 Guy track "Long Gone," Kanye still walked out on that VMA stage in August and sang "Love Lockdown" without warning:
I'm not loving yoooooooou
Way I wanted toooooooo
What I had to dooooo
Had to run from yoooou
I am sure that someone advised Kanye that this was a bad idea, and he just ignored them.
When I saw his performance, I didn't know what was going on. He was not trying to hide the fact that he can't sing. He didn't care that his tone was off. But, I swear, he sang this song like he thought he was Bono. Like the person he wrote it for might actually accept his apology after listening to it.
It was that moment when you're in the shower or driving by yourself and you're singing your favorite song full voice, ruining it without remorse.
There's humility to the recording that is in the same vulnerable vein of his song "All Falls Down," from College Dropout, or even his tourettes-ish post-Hurricane Katrina "President Bush doesn't care about Black people" outburst. The yin and yang effect of his apologetic lyrics, calming music, and nasal singing have made this song connect with fans and is the reason why it is moving quickly towards the top 40 at radio.
I am always the first to complain about Kanye's out of control ego. But I am convinced that only someone with his resilient attitude would be confident enough to release a song this different.
The music video offers equally contrasting elements. It vacillates between subtle, all white scenes of Kanye solo, and African dance sequences reminiscent of the opening routine in Coming To America. The tribal drums summon the dancers.
This song is great.
But let me clarify, that Kanye need not release an R&B album.
"Love Lockdown" is cool, but it's time to shut it down.
- Kanye West