Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Kanye West ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Post Malone – Fade

I apologize but I simply cannot read this song title without finishing it with, “into youuuuuu”…


Thomas Inskeep: My biggest problem with The Life of Pablo is that Kanye won’t get out of his own damn way: remove his vocals from it, and it’s a much better album. His production across it is superb and compelling, as are most of his guests’ appearances. It’s just that his verses are tired and generally go nowhere and he won’t shut up. But musically and even conceptually, what I hear on Pablo is what a lot of folks seem to hear on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, struggling with dark and light, and including some gospel influences. “Fade” is a highlight of Pablo. It’s a reminder that Kanye is, in fact, from Chicago, and thanks to his exceedingly wide artistic palette has accordingly been influenced by classic Chicago house as much as hip-hop, sampling as it does Mr. Fingers’ “Mystery of Love,” along with both Barbara Tucker’s “I Get Lifted (The Underground Network Mix)” and Hardrive’s “Deep Inside” (which itself samples Tucker’s vocal, the latter two both helmed by Masters at Work’s Louie Vega). And then on top of all that, and the vocals-turned-into-a-refrain sampled from Rare Earth’s “I Know I’m Losing You,” ‘Ye even calls out a verse from Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat”! (The Genius page annotating the “Fade” lyrics is exceedingly helpful in breaking all this down.) “Fade” is less a song — in songcraft terms, it’s almost more of a sketch — than a piece of conceptual art, a collage. This is some museum-quality shit right here. So put “Fade” up in the Art Institute of Chicago alongside their Andy Warhol collection, ’cause that’s where this belongs. 

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Kanye’s sampling genius does not reside in his technique or his crate-digging, but in the relationship he builds with his sources. He goes to sounds that are already iconic — Ray, Nina, MJ, Otis — and makes us reassess their legacy, now through his lens. “Fade” references both Larry Heard and Little Louie Vega, two essential figures in Chicago house, and brings their contributions (and Chicago house in general) back in the conversation. In a year where it’s urgent to re-evaluate the cultural weight of different musical/artistic scenes — especially one that was created by the efforts and the vision of the black, latino and queer communities — the TLOP closer matters. And, culture talk aside, the track is still fire, and still completely Kanye. That “Mystery of Love” bassline feels as vital now as it was 30 years ago.

Ryo Miyauchi: Ugh, that Larry Heard sample. Slowing it down only deepens the lust of the thick, dangling loop, which winds and winds, searching for some way to complete. And like its home body of work, “Fade” is incomplete by design. Kanye and Ty Dolla $ign find words meaningless to voice what they want. Post Malone flatly fails to keep his composure as he voices his, but I don’t blame Malone. Ty’s right when he said he thinks he thinks too much because I don’t second guess myself before I surrender to temptation and that goddamn bass line.

Alfred Soto: I could stand a ten-minute version of “Fade,” a collage that cuts from a Temptations classic over which Kanye sings “I think I think too much” while the high synths and bass sequencer from Mr. Fingers’ 1988 house classic “Mystery of Love” open the window to heaven. Repeatedly Kanye and six co-producers cut from sample to sample like deejays; the song gets faster, Kanye distorted to illegibility — a fact that doubles as metaphor. About all I could stand from the The Life of Pablo.

Joshua Copperman: This, “Ultralight Beam”, “Real Friends” (one of Kanye’s best ever in my book), and a few other moments scattered across are when The Life of Pablo is at its best; ambitious and experimental, as opposed to the half-hearted experiments of other songs. “Fade” is closer to the half-heartedness than most others, but there’s something fascinating about the way it shifts throughout. As the song continues, distorted phrases like “Deep-in-Snot-Deep-Deep-Hauled-in-Snot” are mixed high above all the actual main performers, so that might be part of it; the soundscape is interesting enough that it doesn’t matter how Malone is singing phrases like “I’ve been on my shit/whole world on my dick” and Kanye is… well, Kanye’s barely even in this, is he? Judging from the lackluster back-and-forth between Kanye and Dolla $ign in the mid-section, that might be a good thing.

Gin Hart: I don’t not like this, but it sounds like ‘Ye just discovered how fun and neat a mixing board is and has taken pains to make his first ~sounds~ project clean. It’s fine. 

Jonathan Bradley: Kanye begins The Life of Pablo in the church and ends in the nightclub, and though he doesn’t do much more than interrupt his own sentences and sing Aaliyah hooks over a thick house groove, he sounds as if he might for once have transcended the bounds of his own psyche. Pablo is a frequently anguished album, but unlike prior West bouts of introspection, it’s an unfocused one, giving the impression that he’s adrift, not drowning. The ultimate relief “Fade” offers its protagonist is to deliver him even from the mandate of presence. Kanye, always so large a personality, an icon these days of tabloid mockery more than a hitmaker, a man whose ambition and judgment do constant battle with one another, is permitted to vanish. “Fade” is all Kanye, but he’s nowhere to be found: Ty Dolla $ign, Post Malone, and a Peter Rivera sample contribute as much vocally, while Barbara Tucker and Fingers Inc. records make up the backdrop. Yeezy, rocking the boat and working the middle, ends up just another dancer in the darkness. There’s no one to even announce that Mr. West has gone.

Brad Shoup: Deep ‘n’ snide, as Kanye hears it from Barbara Tucker. He brings on two guests to do one impression, leaving him that much time to do one-handed surgery on three classic dance cuts. His vocal butchery has to be deliberate: two houses falling into each other, and the collision is just more rhythm. 

Crystal Leww: “Fade” mostly succeeds on the strengths of its samples, but wow are those samples effective, especially when played on dance floors and in festival sets. At this point, it’s an irrelevant question whether or not Kanye West can put together a cohesive album or even a good song. His songs are played in flipped, chopped up minute-long segments in DJ sets in sweaty clubs or in wide open fields. The only question that ever matters is how it makes a crowd move, and the answer is every god damn time.

Reader average: [6.8] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Kanye West ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Post Malone – Fade”

  1. i like these blurbs – i couldn’t figure out what to say other than “oh the kanye i liked came back!” [8] :P