Top 5 from the Week #6 (ft. Kanye West)

Here we are at the end of a 3 story streak of Kanye West-centric stories (see this story, if you’re confused lol). And we’re here to tackle some of my favorite songs from Graduation (2007), which is going to be very difficult because I LOVE every song on that project. Also just have a lot of great memories associated with Graduation, including my fifth grade crush bringing the CD booklet for Graduation to school with him (we sat across from each other, so we were always chatting) because he knew I liked Kanye, and we flipped through it in between classes. I also have the unsavory memory of my phone going off in class (our bookbags hung on a set of hooks right beside my teacher’s desk) and my “Stronger” ringtone blasting from inside of my bookbag. Everyone knew it was me because everyone knew I loved Kanye. So I couldn’t do anything but sit steeped in my own embarrassment. I can hear that ringtone in my head right now lol. So how about we just start with that song then?

“Stronger”

I think me setting “Stronger” as my ringtone really says it all lol. Although it wasn’t my first favorite song, it’s one of the first songs that I remember calling my favorite. I listened to it ALL THE TIME. The Daft Punk sample at the beginning is just an iconic opening to a song. I love the sort of techno-hip hop sound of the production. And the music video is such a strong presence in my musical memory. As soon as I think of “Stronger” I see Kanye laid up on a hospital bed being operated upon by a robotic arm lol

“Flashing Lights”

My mom doesn’t like a lot of rap, but she does really like this song. Whenever it came on the radio, she’d turn the volume all the way up and sing along to the chorus. I’ve always been too shy to sing along with her in the car (though she would make me sing Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” every once in a while. I had a karaoke machine that I would use as a big speaker before I musically glowed up lol), but I enjoyed those moments of just listening to her sing off-key to the song. The chorus really is just…iconic lol I know I said that about “Stronger,” but who doesn’t know the chorus to “Flashing Lights?” At least the “flashing lights, lights” part! Also the strings at the beginning!

“Good Life”

I wasn’t originally going to put “Good Life” on here (really all the songs are just so so good!), but because of how amazing Ye and T-Pain are on this song, I HAD to add it. The production on this song is really a shining moment on the project. It took me to watch Vox’s “Kanye, deconstructed” video to realize the vocal loop that Ye used as a part of the production. And this really is just a feel-good song. Like you can’t help but sing along and bounce your shoulders a little bit! It’s so good!

“Drunk and Hot Girls”

“Drunk and Hot Girls” was a late find for me. I didn’t listen to the whole of Graduation intentionally until maybe 3 or 4 years ago (I’ve mentioned several times that I’m a fake hip hop fan lol). And this was one of the songs that really jumped out at me during that first full listen. Kanye is amazing on this, but Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def is really my favorite part of this song. He just adds a special ~somethin’~ that this track really depends on. It’s the same special ~somethin’~ that he adds to “Kids See Ghosts” on KIDS SEE GHOSTS (2018). I think it’s really just how his voice sounds. And the strings at the tail end of this track are *chef’s kiss*! Really the production as a whole is perfect.

“I Wonder”

Oh, this song is so magical. Let me first give my flowers to “My Song” by Labi Siffre, the song that Ye samples for “I Wonder.” I didn’t really get into listening to the songs my favorite songs sampled until maybe last year? Something in me just felt like that was a part of the listening experience that I was really missing. And “My Song” is just as magical as “I Wonder.” Both songs make me feel like I’m sitting by a lake at sunset watching all of the great moments in my life flash before my eyes. I feel like I’m being bathed in sunlight and that every one of my worries are floating away.


here’s something else you might like:

My Favorite’s of All Time #6: Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

I remember very vividly getting in big trouble when I was in middle school – right around the time My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) came out. I don’t actually remember what I got in trouble for, but because I love music so much, my mom thought that a good punishment for me was to … Continue reading My Favorite’s of All Time #6: Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

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