One Thread Only: "One Song Only" Podcast Discussion


If I counted correctly, currently the numbers for the winners so far look like this:

College Dropout: 4
Late Registration: 5
Graduation: 5
808s and Heartbreak: 2
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: 5
Watch the Throne: 2
Yeezus: 0
The Life of Pablo: 1

So yeah, 808s & Heartbreak, Yeezus and The Life of Pablo combined have 3 wins between them out of 24 matchups so far, and they all have a tough next round. Street Lights is going up against We Major, Love Lockdown is going up against #2 seed Through the Wire, and they didn’t sound that enthusiastic about No More Parties in LA in the first place.

I’m hitching my hopes to Ultralight Beam which I took all the way to the end of the Saint bracket, but this podcast usually seems to prioritise lyrics more than production, and Ultralight Beam only has one actual rap verse, so I’m also prepared for the possibility that they’ll just complain that Arthur is actually an aardvark and not an anteater, then pass over it and move on the next song lol.


I have no real fondness for Pablo as a whole, but I’m extremely rooting for Ultralight Beam entirely on the strength of my love for Chance. For my own personal tastes, it’s a bummer to see Yeezus be so neglected as well; I absolutely love and respect the quality of the tracks that have gone forward, but something about the harsher production on that album really appeals to me.

Edit: it’s so wild how there’s no 16 seed in the Saint region and Touch The Sky just has a mysterious bye week.


I didn’t really mean objectively, more for the hosts. There are places in the first round where other groups of people might have had more of a debate but I don’t think this is the group, and I don’t really know that there is a solution to this problem- someone taking an opinion contrary to their actual tastes would be even worse. It kinda sucks that some of the albums don’t have a lot of representation but I don’t really think there’s much to be done about it, outside of restarting the whole thing by creating their own bracket first.

I want to say that Austin has spoken really positively about Ultralight Beams but I might be mistaken. Personally, Chance’s verse might carry the whole bracket for me; the first time I heard it on their SNL performance was the maybe the strongest reaction I’ve had to a Kanye song.

As for my picks for next week:

Touch the Sky vs New Workout Plan
The New Workout Plan sucks, I know people who like it for the production but even that is bad. I’m not gonna touch the lyrics

Champion vs Otis
I’m probably in the minority here, and I think Otis is one of Kanye’s strongest beats ever, but I just love the vibe of Champion, the lyrics, how bouncy the beat is. One of the Kanye songs I’ll come back to once in awhile because it pops back into my head for no good reason.

Spaceship vs Ultralight Beams
I know a lot of people really like Spaceship but I don’t know. The verses are good but I don’t like the beat really. I don’t think it’s bad, just not for me? And like I said above, Chance’s verse is so, so, so strong. I like the choir stuff. I really like Coloring Book’s 2nd half and this sounds like it belongs on there (I subscribe to the theory that it was going to be on Coloring Book then Kanye took it for TLOP). I do think the beginning verses are weak but I don’t care Chance is so good.

DIamonds from Sierra Leone vs Dark Fantasy
Surprising myself with this one; my gut pick would have been Dark Fantasy but upon thinking further the chorus is repeated maybe one too many times for me. The rapping on either version of Diamonds is among Kanye’s best. It fits in great with the rest of the album. I dunno, of this week this is probably the matchup whose winner I feel least strongly about.


I hadn’t heard the version of Say You Will ft Caroline Shaw that was mentioned on the podcast, so I looked it up and it’s on Soundcloud, and it’s really good too.


I’ve been reviewing this opinion in the last few days and I’m now much more split about this than I was. I think my initial impressions of the remix were covered by a favourable impression of the original, but listening to it on its own terms gives it a different sense. Both versions reach for different things; I feel like the original is broadly more cohesive, but it’s more of a toss-up than I’d like.

Any chance of an on-air dust-up about which one should be on the bracket so we can get five discussions on one cast? :wink:

In terms of my selection for next round:

  • Touch the Sky v The New Workout Plan
  • Champion v Otis – No opinion, haven’t heard Otis.
  • Spaceship v Ultralight Beam
    • Sorry, TLOP fans – I can’t get over Spaceship. Spaceship is one of those songs even its imperfections charm me (the way his mic clips slightly when he says dude, lock yourself in a room/Doing five beats a day for three summers/That’s A Different World like Cree Summer’s/I deserve to do these numbers is so good), never mind the substance which I enjoy. I only love that first verse, but it is a very high bar to clear.
  • Diamonds from Sierra Leone v Dark Fantasy

This is real good by the way.


For reals, you owe it to yourself to not only hear Otis, but watch the fantastic Spike Jonze directed video. It will be a fun 3:15 of your life:

My next round picks:

  • Touch the Sky vs. The New Workout Plan
    Definite edge here. Don’t really have any love for NWP, and Touch the Sky was one of the first Kanye songs I really fell for when I was getting more into him as Late Registration came out. Great sample.
  • Champion v Otis
    I don’t love Watch the Throne, but daaaaamn do I love this track. The greatest energy. Such an amazing sample chop. I’m getting all hype just typing this. This one went very far in my bracket.
  • Spaceship vs. Ultralight Beam
    I actually thought this one was a no-look slam dunk for Ultralight Beam, but listening to Spaceship again it is still solid and holds up better than I thought. Then again, as resident Pablo apologist (I think there’s more UB/Chance the Rapper fans than full TLOP fans here), gotta rep.
  • Diamonds from Sierra Leone vs. Dark Fantasy
    This is kind of the toughest match-up of this section for me, I’m not super attached to either. I give the edge to DF because I frequently get the urge to yell “COULD WE GET MUCH HIGHER?!” in the car for no real reason. Also, RZA’s fingerprints are alllll over the verse production.


Just caught up in the last 48 hours lying by a pool in Orlando while my partner is working. Love the show and love all my hosts, even if their dislike of Twista’s career led them to ignore that Slow Jamz is the best song on College Dropout.

Iiiiiiiin case anyone was interested, I made a play-in bracket of sixteen majors that either have been discussed on the podcast or seem like obvious omissions. I seeded it based on YouTube views for the fourteen songs on YouTube, and put the other two as the top two seeds. I tried to keep the period pretty spread in case it gets used to, uh, replace The New Workout Plan :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

As is, my top of the Saint bracket; Touch the Sky over New Workout Plan (which I honestly used to love, but so do not anymore), Otis over Champion (both of which are great,) Ultralight Beams over Spaceship (both of which are great,) and Diamonds of Sierra Leone (Remix) over Dark Fantasy (HOW COULD YOU FALTER? WHEN YOU THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR?)


I am soooo excited for next week.

Touch the Sky vs. New Workout Plan
God, NWP really is like that for all five minutes huh? That doesn’t take away from the fact that Touch the Sky is really enjoyable though, and would probably beat out plenty of better round one contenders.

Champion vs. Otis
I’m kind of conflicted because I feel like both songs are a little too happy to stay in one place, and both places are so fun to be in. Gonna give it to Otis since it’s something more different, but I can see myself flip-flopping on that in a poppier mood.

Spaceship vs. Ultralight Beam
Wow this is such a hard one. I totally love both of these songs, but ultimately the production wins it out for ULB. I also do really appreciate the way Life of Pablo sounds and think Ultralight Beam advancing would represent the album whereas Late Registration will make it to 16 easily. Literally 2 seconds of conversation could flip this though, so I expect to be destroyed by this segment.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone vs. Diamonds from Sierra Leone (ft. Jay Z) vs. Dark Fantasy
Oh wow. Now I’m super interested in which Diamonds will end up on the podcast. I think Diamonds from Sierra Leone, no Jay Z takes it just just barely from Dark Fantasy. The level of cohesion outweighs the work Jay Z adds to the remix. As to beating Dark Fantasy, I think the set dressing + my bias for that album are bumping it up higher than it can really handle. Diamonds is a song where something happens as opposed to the “ongoings” in Dark Fantasy. But I still love that chaos. I could talk myself into advancing any of these three, I think.


Next week:

Touch the Sky vs. New Workout Plan
NWP sucks, straight up. I’m not even a huge fan of Touch the Sky outside of the sample, but it’s not even a contest.

Champion vs.Otis
My debatably hot take is that Otis is the best Watch the Throne song, over Paris, so it wins this fight. Champion is a decent song, but it’s not something I was super impressed by.

Spaceship vs. Ultralight Beam
Not a big fan of Pablo but UB is the best song on the album by a mile and one of my favorite late-period Kanye songs. The Chance verse is legendary, it’s so uplifting and not plagued by some of the shittier aspects throughout the rest of Pablo. Spaceship is a good song, so this is a tough matchup, but I think UB is just better and also gives us some more representation from late-period Kanye in round 2.

Diamonds vs Dark Fantasy
This is a ridiculously tough one. Dark Fantasy should be a higher seed, I was surprised by how much I really liked it when I revisited that album. But Diamonds is just so so good, and I think both versions of it end up coming out on top. It’s lowkey one of the best Kanye songs and one of my favorites from Late Registration. I’ll be interested to hear which version they pick for this matchup and how that complicates the matter. I think I slightly prefer the remix over the original, Jay Z is just too strong.


My picks:

Touch the Sky vs. New Workout Plan
Touch the Sky is a pretty good song. I like it but not sure what makes it a #1 seed - it seemed like a solid 7/10 song but not mind-blowing to me, but like with We Major maybe the podcast will burst with excitement about some unusual collab or rap beef or something that went completely over my head.

Champion vs. Otis
I was a big fan of Champion when I listened to it on Spotify (didn’t sound the way I’d remembered it but it was good), then realized that Spotify had actually been playing a different Kanye song called “Champions”. Champion is still pretty good though.

Spaceship vs. Ultralight Beam
Ultralight Beam is a very good song. I know I keep complaining about seed placement but it deserves better than a #12 seed, it’s probably a top 10 Kanye song. The production, the choir, the verse, the emotional ride it takes you on, it’s all high quality.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone (original version) vs. Dark Fantasy
This is a tough matchup and I think there’s a version or remix of Dark Fantasy that could have won this. It has a lot of good parts and a great chorus, but some parts are weaker or go on for too long. Diamonds In Sierra Leone tips over the line for me, it’s consistently interesting the whole way through.


Not saying anthing but… :eyes:


One thing I have to give Champion is that it might have some of my favourite Kanye lines, particularly:

Cause who the kids gon’ listen to, huh?
I guess me if it isn’t you

(@danny has made me see the light on Otis, though!)


I am struggling mightily with the choice of Diamonds with or without Jay-Z. One one hand I think Diamond without Jay-Z seems tighter… But on the other hand “I’m not business man, I’m a business, man!” might be my favorite Jay-Z line of all time.


I’m shook because I forgot there was even a track called Dark Fantasy. It’s really been a while since I’ve listened to that album.


it’s always been one of my favorites, it’s got that post-Graduation keys production that makes it such a great tone setter. i’m harder on it than i used to be because the verses are fun, but only fine, but i really enjoyed revisiting


Was too busy this whole last week to do this, so I’m catching up and giving my thoughts on the next batch. Pretty much with all the decisions on the last batch of songs, which I agree is very weak. Gotta Have It and Power might be the only two songs of the eight I’m a bigfan of.

Touch the Sky vs The New Workout Plan
Touch the Sky isn’t even good, and I pretty much hold the Move On Up sample against it (I love the original song and the sample is so much less energetic for some reason), but The New Workout Plan sucks that bad. It gets horrible by verse 2 and there’s still four minutes to go. There’s at least ten first-round matchups where both songs were better than these two, imo.

Champion vs Otis
The refrain and hook for Champion just doesn’t work for me for some reason, and that’s most of the song. The bridge rules but it’s just not enough. Otis is a lock for the round of 16 as far as I’m concerned, that beat rules.

Spaceship vs Ultralight Beam
Spaceship’s hook and first verse are two of the best things in College Dropout, but the two features following it up work less well for me and drag the song down a bit. The stuff surrounding Chance’s verse is pretty good (I really like the outro) and the Chance verse is probably one of the best things to ever be in a Kanye song. Thought this would be closer, and another opportunity to resent Yeezus/Pablo underseeding, but a relisten really sealed it for me.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone vs Dark Fantasy
Also thought this one would be closer than it was, I love the Nicki intro, the bridge and the constantly-repeated hook, but turns out the first verse of Dark Fantasy is pretty weak and the second one is kind of middling. Diamonds is the reverse of Touch The Sky for me, in that the great way it samples a song I love makes me cling even more to it, and the two verses in the remix just work. The non-Jay Z probably loses to Dark Fantasy for me, for what it’s worth.


Touch the Sky because new workout plan is trash

Otis because THAT BEAT

Spaceship because I love Chance on ULB but the song only served as a promising intro to (imo, sorry) a really bad album. Also, spaceship gets better by the listen.

Diamonds wins solely because the way Kanye says “Toys” in Dark Fantasy hurts me to this day.


Hoo boy New Workout Plan is BAD.


Touch the Sky vs The New Workout Plan
Touch the Sky wins this for the same reasons everyone else here has already said, so instead of just repeating other people I’ll throw in some random tidbits. For instance, did you know that the The New Workout Plan video features a vese from Puffy’s legendary butler, Fonzworth Bentley. Or how on the amazing mixtape, Welcome To Kanye’s Soul Mix Show, Ye talks about how Touch the Sky wouldn’t have been as good if Just Blaze didn’t slow down the sample.

Champion vs Otis
This match up was extremely easy for me as well, as I am probably the only person in the world that really, really, REAAALLY doesn’t like the beat on Otis (that vocal sample is just extremely grating.) However, though I think it sounds way better than Otis, Champion’s message of “I’m helping the community by showing off how rich and awesome I am” is one that has never really sat well with me. Still would rather listen to it over Otis any day of the week though.

Spaceship vs Ultralight Beam
Not a huge fan of either of these songs to be honest. In the end I gave it Ultralight Beam, as I find it to be a more interesting song production wise.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) vs Dark Fantasy
Thought this would be a walk, but Dark Fantasy is a lot better song than I remember. The way the beat switches up before the first verse is dope, and the first verse is pretty nice as well (“Mercy, mercy me, that Murcielago.”) It does kinda fall apart as the song goes on, as the second verse has some corny lines (“Too many Urkels on your team, that’s why your wins low”) and a message that is REALLY irritating given Kanye’s recent antics. At the end of the day, Diamonds from Sierra Leone is just a better put together song, and the remix also has two of my favorite Jay Z lines, so it gets my pick.


Oh and I love that little set of five beeps that play during the verses in Diamonds from Sierra Leone. It just feels right to me somehow, sort of like the way Austin feels about the little bit at the start of Drive Slow.