A DiS board is probably the wrong place to bring this up, but in the spirit of Everett True… what the hell.
Much of the talk across the blogosphere and on various music sites like Pitchfork about the new Kanye West video for ‘Paranoid’ has centred on the fact that it has Rihanna in it. And something that was apparently not the final cut and then something ELSE that was ALSO apparently not the final cut were leaked to the internet. Bad internet.
Significantly less talk has focused on the fact that Yeezy has done a new mix of ‘Paranoid’ for the video… and it’s improved the song by a factor of roughly a million.
When ‘808s & Heartbreak’ came out, one of the talking points was the speed with which Kanye had put it together. Him and a bunch of his mates (Young Jeezy, Mr Hudson, Kid Cudi) ensconced themselves in his Hawaii studio, turned off their Blackberrys, wrote and recorded and album’s worth of material in about a month and then prevailed on Universal/Def Jam not to sit on it for six months. So the story goes, anyway. ’Ye himself helped things along by premiering ‘Love Lockdown’ at an MTV Awards show (I forget which one) and posting a rough mix on his blog.
Whether or not things really came together that quickly, ‘808s’ always felt rushed to me. With the exception of ‘Love Lockdown’ and maybe ‘Robocop’ and ‘Streetlights,’ the songs were full of empty drum and synth passages that seemed to repeat endlessly, giving the impression that with more time, more parts could have been added.
This new mix of ‘Paranoid’ seems to bear that out. The bass is busier, ascending and descending in an almost arpeggiated way that gives the track some bounce without ever drawing too much attention to itself. The choruses have been filled out with a lovely warm synth playing much dreamier chords than the starker original. That enigmatic laugh at the beginning of the track now echoes and pans right to left. And there are little vocal effects and snippets quite low in the mix that happen once or twice and then are gone.
And where the old version seemed in denial about the fact that this is a song with verses and choruses sharing mostly the same chords and no bridge, the new arrangement is shorter and tighter.
But don’t believe me – http://www.vimeo.com/5067136
I’d suggest watching it with your eyes closed if you find him irritating. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it.