In this, the fourth quarter of 2013, Kanye West sure is making it so you can’t go a full day without hearing about him. He’s in the middle of the newly unpostponed Yeezus tour, with the first of four New York City tour dates in six days starting tonight in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. This past Sunday, before his Boston stop, he strolled through Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to give an impromptu speech on what he appreciated about those who “architected,” even self-consciously asking the crowd (for which he bought 300 tickets) not to overly judge his set.
And on Monday, a new podcast series from American Psycho and Less Than Zero author Bret Easton Ellis revealed its first guest. And of course, that was Kanye West. They talk for an hour, running the gamut from 12 Years a Slave to There Will Be Blood to watching television with Kim. And that was only Part 1, with the second chunk to be released next week.
So what’s Tuesday’s Kanye news? The answer is a moment many, myself included, have been waiting for since first hearing the final 3:49 of Yeezus in June.
The video to “Bound 2.”
News of the premiere was announced by an unlikely source.
Guess who just told me he’s premiering his new music video on my show next week? The one and only @KanyeWest! Thank you, Yeezus.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 16, 2013
Kanye and Ellen. Great, I love both of those humans. The following day, she kept going.
I hear @kanyewest's new video might feature @KimKardashian. I must have been busy when they were filming.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 17, 2013
OK then. A Kanye West “Bound 2” video featuring Kim Kardashian premiering on Ellen. I’m in.
And finally, this morning, it appeared.
One can make endless jokes about this video. You know, the Lisa Frank jokes. The Michael Jackson, “You Are Not Alone 2: Electric Boogaloo” jokes. Jokes about how the beginning feels like a previously unreleased Lee Greenwood montage. Or the newest visuals from the next installment of Pure Moods. About how it may be time to finally invest that money in the DONDA green-screen vertical. And how its inspiration must be that time Ron Burgundy took Veronica Corningstone to Pleasure Town on that rainbow.
Yes, these are jokes, but what’s not funny is hearing Charlie Wilson’s angelic voice over galloping unicorns that aren’t being ridden by Charlie Wilson. Or, more importantly, a “Bound 2” video with no Charlie Wilson at all, especially after seeing the magic that can happen when Charlie and Kanye share a stage while performing this fantastic song.
Really, with the exception of Kanye hitting the Jesus pose in sync with the lyric “Jesus wept,” nothing else in this video happened according to plan, and by “plan” I mean our collective vision.
He didn’t take Kim to the club and point to multiple men in a room during “all them other n—-s lame and you know it now.” He dutty wined around not one Jamaican. During the aural embodiment of salvation that is Charlie Wilson, following “straight out the salon, bitch,” Kanye did not start levitating. Also, there was no floodlight illuminating
St. Peter Charlie Wilson in angel wings and an all-white suit.
None of that happened.
There were no sinks. There were no drinks. And, most damningly, there were no minks.
Kim never stood in a room, alone, perhaps surrounded by orchids, with Kanye doing his “Jesus Walks” dance around her, admitting that he didn’t remember where they first met, but acknowledging that he’s trying to make steps to be better.
In the line’s most gut-wrenchingly cute line, “We made it to Thanksgiving, so hey, maybe we can make it to Christmas,” we were given nothing. No turkey. No presents. No Bruce. No nothing. Just a topless woman straddling a man on a motorcycle with artificial wind coming, I assume, from that artificial breeze caused by those artificial mountains.
We never got to see Kanye’s wish list, nor a scene of Kanye and Kim in a tuxedo and wedding dress hurriedly running up the church steps.
And finally, just to round it all up, Jesus never wept. And neither did Yeezus.
Whenever I hear this song, be it on headphones or in a social setting, by the second Charlie Wilson chorus my hand is over either my mouth or my heart and my head is shaking as if I just heard a sermon. It’s an overwhelming musical moment. Sometimes I walk around, finding someone to hug, other times I jump up on a chair, thinking for a brief moment that I’m Yeezus. And then, suddenly, “uh-huh, honey.”
And it’s back to Kanye-dancing or professing love to someone until the song ends.
But none of this happened. We have no right to be mad, but we all have a right to be disappointed, because there’s a good chance you, like me, have acted out this video in a cinematic way, either in public or private. The stage and our expectations were set for a timeless music video.
But this is Kanye West. He already gave us a gift with “Bound 2,” a song that feels out of place on Yeezus, but is nonetheless welcome because of how it evokes memories of Kanyes of years past. So it’s not that surprising that he decided to do exactly what he wanted with the video.
If I may impart one piece of advice, it is to never watch this video again. Because he didn’t make it for you. It’s a home video that he made for Kim. Instead, continue living out that music video that’s been in your head for months, because that is a truly beautiful music video. And not even Kanye can take that away from us.