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Single Review: Kanye West – ‘Only One’ (Feat. Paul McCartney)

2 min read

Kanye West. Selfless. Humble. A mentor. Kanye has demonstrated once again what a supportive and kind artist he is by giving some much needed exposure to up and coming artist, Paul McCartney. Because we all know Kanye would never ah, blow his own trumpet, his fans did it for him – hailing Yeezus for being so generous with his privileged position and crediting him for boosting McCartney’s career, which according to them is now going to “blow up” – all thanks to Kanye.

Kanye West Only OneA simple Los Angeles brainstorm between the pair churned out what may be one of Kanye’s most personal singles yet, titled Only One. The lyrics are surprisingly sensitive, having written the words from the point of view of his late mother, leaving a message for his baby daughter North. Kanye sings the words in a flurry equal parts emotion and auto-tune, with multiple-part harmonies making for a pretty and interesting vocal on top of the stark, simple keys from McCartney. Think Imogen Heap’s Hide And Seek without so much despair.

While the keyboard keeps things feeling light, the song isn’t without it’s depth. A closer look into the lyrics reveals a heartbreaking story of the chance a grandmother will never have to meet her granddaughter. Superstar or not, it’s a story I’m sure most can empathise with and one that was definitely not expected from Kanye. Perhaps fatherhood is having a nice effect on him. He sings the words And you’re still my chosen one / No you’re not perfect but you’re not your mistakes / Hey, hey, hey, hey / Tell Nori about me, Tell Nori about me…

Some have said this will be the first of a handful of collaborations between Yeezy and McCartney. Only One will certainly wet the appetite for more of the same, with Kanye’s signature style and McCartney’s influence on the songwriting and instrumentation a pleasant surprise. It’s a far cry from the man that once said “Rap is the new rock and roll. We are the rock stars… We are the rock stars, and I’m the biggest of them all.” Thank goodness he’s collaborated with a relatively unknown artist, and not say, a real rock star…