Kanye West - "Fade" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

30 September 2016

Kanye West samples some of the best house and soul from the second half of the 20th century.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Kanye West samples some of the best house and soul from the second half of the 20th century and puts a modern twist on some Flashdance moves. That strong retro feel holds the song together, elevating it while Ty Dolla $ign and Post Malone sing up a thunderstorm. Keeping those vocals at a minimal serves the song well, giving them a few climactic moments without forcing them to try and overshadow the classic samples, which have much more staying power and a far greater ability to hook the listener. A quick, well-constructed single that moves quickly and takes its cues from the best part of each decade it touches. [8/10]

Andrew Paschal: This is Kanye the Producer at his best, armed with an arsenal of carefully chosen samples that he pushes into elegant warfare with each other. Have you ever watched a dance performance where you can’t tell whether the dancers are supposed to be fighting or seducing one another? This track is like the musical equivalent of that. The climax when the Rare Earth, Barbara Tucker, and Hardrive samples start to duel and vie for the listener’s favor is a truly arresting moment. [8/10]

Michael Pementel:As a fan of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it’s very trippy listening to “Fade”. Over the years Kanye has taken a step back from his fun, and at times technical lyricism, to appear more to the pop and heavy demonstration of instrumentals and production that accompany his songs. If you stripped what little vocals there are to this track, you’d have a grade A solid club bumper. The song isn’t completely ruined by the vocals, it’s just that the realization that song could make it without them. I just wish this song was more Kanye than flashy pop beat. [5/10]

Steve Horowitz: WTF? I understand a woman’s leg used to be the symbol of sexuality, then the butt and the tits, but I guess Kanye’s living in the world of the abdomen. Whatever. The song cleverly builds out of bits and pieces into something compelling and interesting. The woman turning into a tigress or something is strange, but the song itself suggests something fading. Her presence jumps out at you. The presumption is the fade is itself a decoy. Kanye is out to get you, and judging by the music, he wins. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: Kanye often creates art that’s startling, groundbreaking, or merely a unique juxtaposition of cultures and genres that’s worthy of attention. Here, not so much. The ubiquitous autotune is all over this, and it’s a fairly standard, insistent dance track that wears out its welcome at about the halfway mark. Not one of his finer moments. [5/10]

Paul Carr: It’s getting Increasingly difficult to remember that Kanye is primarily a musician due to his self aggrandizing extracurricular activities. This song will leave you in no doubt of his abilities and his limitations. Kanye cleverly builds an ever growing skyscraper of funk infused house on the foundations of the bass line of Chicago House tune “Mysteries of Love” and a vocal sample from “(I Know) I’m Losing You”. It is expertly crafted but sadly ruined by some hateful Auto-Tuned vocals. Without the vocals, this would be an undisputed classic. With it, it’s a frustrating example of what he is capable of and what could have been. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.83

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