One Thread Only: "One Song Only" Podcast Discussion


#1

It seemed like a shame that there wasn’t a thread dedicated to discussing One Song Only, a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Austin Walker, Art Martinez-Tebbel, and Ali Acampora that debates the best Kanye West song using the Kanye Madness bracket made by Carrington Harrison.

All the decisions are personal, and I already have some disagreements with the results so far, but it’s been fun to hear their reasoning. So let me hear your arguments!

EDIT: I’ve created a bracket to track the podcast results https://challonge.com/onesongonly. Spoiler warning if you haven’t listened to the podcast yet.


#2

So far I’ve been pretty much in line with their thoughts. I would have preferred to see New Slaves and So Appalled win their respective matchups but the reasoning against each was sound. @idkicarus, what are your disagreements?

Also, I’m worried about next episode as I am pushing for the Blood on the Leaves upset, but I don’t see it happening.


#3

Some thoughts on the most recent matchups:

Crack Music vs New Slaves
Great matchup considering it shows how Kanye’s views of being black in America has evolved over time. I definitely see the optimism in Crack Music, but optimism doesn’t exist in 2018. New Slaves takes it for me.

Flashing Lights vs Famous
I can’t separate Flashing from cruising through Liberty City in GTA IV, but that’s all I got for it. I’m of the opinion that Graduation is a lesser Kanye work as it’s sandwiched between the mature Late Registration and 808’s, possibly his most influential work ever. Famous, on the other hand, is a wonderfully provocative look at what modern celebrity means, and the drama surrounding it only serves to imbue the song with further meaning. It also brings strong Kiss Land-era Weeknd vibes, which I fux with. Famous wins.

Big Brother vs Love Lockdown
I honestly had to relisten to Big Brother to remember it, whereas Love Lockdown is an excellent track off an album that basically gave Drake the blueprint for his career. No contest, Love Lockdown.

Through the Wire vs No Church in the Wild
Wire is simply iconic, heralding not only Kanye, but also mainstreaming backpack rap and patenting Chipmunk-Soul samples. The first time I heard it I was entranced, and I knew Kanye was going to be one of my faves. I was also a kid growing up in the Chicago suburbs, so I might have been a bit biased. Church, let’s be honest, is only decent because of Frank Ocean. Wire wins by first-round TKO.

Now feel free to tell me I’m wrong everybody!


#4

@Glorgu My biggest disagreements are with the results on the matchups for Devil in a New Dress v. Real Friends, Crack Music v. New Slaves, Flashing Lights v. Famous, and Through the Wire v. No Church in the Wild.

Everything about Real Friends—from the sparse instrumentation and dirty reverb to the lyrical content—just feels so downtrodden and sullen, which I love! It’s doesn’t come across like a typical fake friends and poseurs track.

New Slaves and Crack Music are evenly matched, but it’s the aggression of New Slaves that puts it over the top for me. It’s also a bit of a time and place thing, because I heard it at a time in my life when I actually knew enough about political history for the message to hit me. I do hate how the beat transitions at the end of New Slaves, though.

As less than a fan of Taylor Swift, Famous and the outcry around it was p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Plus, Rihanna’s part and the Nina Simone sample are just icing. I didn’t originally like the video, but it’s grown on me a lot.

No Church in the Wild is kinda weak lyrically, but I gotta give it the win for the beat and the philosophy references.


@Navster In my mind, the fight between Through the Wire v. No Church in the Wild is like Ali v. Foreman. No Church in the Wild hasn’t been heard from in a while, but it can still hold up against strong contenders.


#5

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song. But it’s a collab track, and Kanye isn’t even the strongest collaborator. That alone weakens the argument in my opinion.

Of course, as I look through the bracket I see that I will be contradicting myself soon enough once we get to Slow Jamz vs No More Parties in L.A. (two songs where Kanye gets straight up bodied), so whatevs.


#6

I just spent the last week listening through his discography start to finish so thank you for showing me this! I’m totally on board with these picks so far, surprisingly. Graduation is my fav Kanye album (don’t hurt me) so I’m curious to see how those tracks fare.

@Navster his verse on No more parties in LA is a full 3 minutes! He’s not the lyricist Kendrick is, but man he just lets loose there, I’m kinda in love with that song


#7

I get that. I’m split on features too. He definitely knows how to curate other artists on his tracks. Case in point, in the leak/demo for Father Stretch My Hands Kendrick put down a great verse, but it didn’t quite fit the feel of the song.

It’s cool that Kanye doesn’t seem to mind getting bodied on his own tracks and instead thinks about overall cohesion.


@Foxtrot There’s no shame in liking Graduation. I’m a diehard for College Dropout. Those skits were too spot on about my college, grad school, and post-grad job search experience.


#8

Oh absolutely. Ye is first and foremost a producer and it shows when he’s collaborating. But in a head-to-head, I think the Ye only tracks get the edge because he’s not relying on other star power. It also makes it easier to define what is a Kanye track. Like, is Run This Town a Yeezy track? What about Make Her Say? Both are fantastic songs that are elevated by his involvement, but they’re posse cuts. To me, they don’t demonstrate Ye’s talent as well as something like All Falls Down does.

Quality over quantity, and in terms of lyricism, Kung Fu Kenny’s the gold standard.


#9

I was extremely sad to see Last Call lose in the first round, that against Hey Mama is such a tough call. I admittedly like College Dropout more than the average, but I just love Kanye shouting out all these people that helped him get his start, even though that’s 8 of the 12 minutes in the song lol. But overall this has been super fun to listen to cause music has really been a solo experience for me and it’s nice hearing people talk passionately about music I love <3


#10

So, I’m curious: What songs do y’all want to win next episode?

I’m looking at the following myself:
All Falls Down over Addiction
Monster over Heartless
Highlights over Drive Slow
Blood on the Leaves over Runaway


#11

Drive Slow and Heartless were in the final four of my Kanye bracket so that’s where I’m leaning


#12

I filled out the bracket after the first episode. I like electronic music, so the 808’s album and Stronger do pretty well for me.


#13

Have to respect a bracket where love lockdown makes final four (or finals?)


#14

On a side note about a side note in the podcast, listening to Americans say “cellar door” made me realise that what Tolkien was thinking of when he said that it was a beautiful word probably confuses people who aren’t saying it in his British accent.

I always heard it as sounding like it was the name of an ancient elven city or something, Selador (pronounced closer to “sella-dawe” due to softly pronouncing the “r”), whereas the American accent turns it into “sellerrrrr doorrrrrr”.


#15

Yeah looking back at it, it looks like all of my top 4 are there on the strength of Kanye’s production, rather than the strength of the rap. I also tend to listen to songs individually instead of as an album and miss a lot of the “beef” that certain songs are referencing, so it’s interesting to me to hear the podcast since I’m coming from it at a different angle to the podcast hosts.


#16

I just started listening and am extremely into it so far. It’s been awhile since I ran back through Kanye’s catalog, and this seems as good an opportunity as any. I haven’t actually filled out a bracket yet or even decided personally what my favorite song of his is, so this will be a nice journey of self-discovery.

@Glorgu I’m going All Falls Down, Heartless (I hate Jay’s verse in Monster with a passion, also Heartless is v good), Drive Slow, and honestly either one between the last two, they’re both excellent.


#17

For next episode, I’m definitely pulling for All Falls Down and Highlights.

It’s not as easy a decision between Monster v. Heartless and Blood on the Leaves v. Runaway. But if I have to choose, Monster was the song that introduced me to Nicki Minaj and Runaway did come with a 30 minute film…


#18

… and the best part of that film was when Lost In The World started playing :man_shrugging:t4:

(no for real that film will probably give runaway the edge and that’s more than reasonable)


#19

Yo, I’m so mad I lived three weeks not knowing this podcast existed. I remember Austin posting about it on Twitter, but I guess I mistakenly thought he was making a guest appearance on an existing Kanye West-themed podcast so I was like “neat” but didn’t really get hype.

Now I am officially hype. I listened to the first two episodes as I was falling asleep last night and it was everything I could’ve dreamed of.

I’ll weigh in on the debate at large once I’ve caught up.


#20

The moment this bracket started making the rounds on Twitter, I spent about three days diving in. I’m a big Kanye West fan, so I was super excited to start listening to this show. So far, my own hyper-specific fandom seems to differ a bit with the crew’s, as we’ve only synced on 4 of the 8 match-ups so far. Sometimes this means I’m screaming in my car as I listen (“WHERE’S THE LOVE FOR REAL FRIENDS?!?”), but I’ve really enjoyed the discussion, which has made me reconsider things about my own bracket and generally do more critical thinking about Kanye’s music, which is just so, so fun to do.

I’d say my biggest gripe so far, with the bracket and I suppose by extension the show though it’s not their fault, has been with the seeding and the role its played. I honestly didn’t pay any attention to the seeding in filling out my bracket, as it seemed almost arbitrary. For instance, I was glad they brought up in the last episode how Life of Pablo and Yeezus were both really under seeded. Between that and my undying love for a lot of what might be considered lesser Kanye works, my bracket was full of “upsets”—two 15 seeds made it to my final four, and one was the overall winner.

Excited for the next episode, when I’ll be yelling in my car to no one about how underrated “Addiction” is.