Kanye West’s “Power” Lives Up to Its Name

There’s nothing better than waking up on Friday morning to learn that Kanye West has returned. Sure, he may be a Taylor Swift-interrupting crazypants who, last we saw him, was breaking down in front of Jay Leno. But his new single, “Power,” proves that he can transcend just about any personal embarrassment to keep making great music. Stream the song and get our take after the jump.

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First of all, at just under five minutes, it’s clearly intended to be an epic. Deep, dark percussion sets the mood. Searching, calling, cranked-up background vocals keep the energy up through the song. People, there is a King Crimson “21st-Century Schizoid Man” sample! The track may be catchy, but it’s also hard and tough and relentless.

And Yeezy’s lyrics are another thing entirely. “Power” is undoubtedly a comeback song. He tells us he’s “killin’ it” and then checks in with our favorite throwaway of the single: “I was drinkin’ earlier/Now I’m drivin’.” But don’t peg this as an uncomplicated boast track. In the final minute, he tells us, “This would be a beautiful death/Jumpin’ out the window/Lettin’ everything go.” Clearly, Kanye isn’t ready to put aside his ego ambivalence yet, and that is exactly what keeps him so damn interesting.