Kanye West

The lights are back on at You Hear That headquarters, and I couldn’t be more excited, relieved and guilty at the same time, since so much of Richmond is still without power. With this ambivalent joyfulness in mind, I can think of no better day to observe Kanye West’s obsession with lights. It’s no secret that Kayne is both fascinated and tortured by fame, and lights embody the disorienting scrutiny under which he lives. His last three albums have included songs with “lights” in the title — Graduation’sFlashing Lights,” 808s & Heartbreak’sStreet Lights,” and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s  “All of the Lights” — but the most recent example goes the farthest in establishing a relationship between lights and the pitfalls of fame. “All of the Lights” paints a terrifying picture of light, with a frantic chorus and Rihanna ratcheting up the intensity. It’s clearly evidence of a person in distress, but it’s also an astoundingly good song. It’s hard to know what do to with that as a listener, but that’s what makes Kanye so brilliant — when he releases an album, you’re not just hearing songs, you’re hearing how Kanye is doing. Join him on his emotional roller coaster by listening to “All of the Lights” below and buying My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy here.

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