KANYE WEST - BOUND 2
We made it to Thanksgiving, maybe we can make it to Amnesty Week…
Jonathan Bradley: Kanye spends Yeezus waiting to exhale, and “Bound 2” is the relief after all the not-breathing and gasping. For a song featuring Ye on his worst behavior — intermingling sex and violence and romance, quoting Martin — “Bound 2” never fails to be anything but blissful, with Brenda Lee always ready to scold West’s silliness with an indulgent “uh-huh, honey.” Ain’t nobody perfect, and Kanye sounds emancipated by being bound, be it in the sense of tied or destined. Charlie Wilson is the plain romantic West can’t be, but the way the song shudders into the chorus makes even Kanye’s threats to turn-the-plane-around-with-no-Jamaica-for-anyone sound moon-eyed. He’s been here before — try Graduation-era bonus “Bittersweet” — but he’s never sounded so comfortable, so content in this territory. He’s tired. We’re tired. Yeezus wept.
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Not thrilled by my blurb here — a , like a , deserves a  blurb — and this isn’t it.[*] Thinking about it more on the train, I figured:
1. I do love the jump-cuts between the samples — which makes this much more new Kanye than old Kanye to me, soul sample be damned — and I’m glad I got at that with “the way the song shudders into the chorus…”
2. But, as well as “Bittersweet,” I reckon the other touchstone here, though in relief form, is “Devil in a New Dress.” That’s heady in the same way “Bound 2” is, but it’s also venomous. Cross the anxious swoon of “Bittersweet” with the narrative intricacy of “Devil” and you arrive at “Bound 2.”
3. What really makes this song work is not that it’s romantic, but that it’s intimate. Yeezy sounds like he’s addressing an audience of one, which is exceedingly rare in pop. That redeems all the dumb shit and the puffed up shit and the mundane shit. “Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches,” says the guy who rapped about telling a girl who bought him a sweater for Christmas “do better” — well, maybe he did, but that was their thing. Kanye makes his verses so personable: not just through the use of the plural first person, which really does bind (“hey, we made it, Thanksgiving!”), but also the singular second. “This that what-we-do-don’t-tell-your-mom-shit” sounds like he has a specific mom in mind. And all that makes the Jerome parts better: Not Yeezy with a dumb impersonation, but something that could be a part of a relationship. Maybe she indulges his Martin schtick. Maybe she thinks it’s funny. Maybe she’s just confused by it. But when Ye says, “Damn, what would Jeromey-romey-romey-rome think?” he’s asking her, not us.
* For a start: “waiting to exhale” is corny not clever; at least “worst behavior” is appropriately allusive. And Patrick gestured at all the emotional stuff far more vividly than I did; where I repeated “romance” twice, he was saying things like “dizzy in love” and “Charlie Wilson’s private-fireworks-display vocals.” And I’m not sure my outro means anything, as important as that part is in the song.