Kanye West finally sampling classic Chicago House tracks and putting his Hip-Hop genius into it should produce a song that sounds exactly like this. This could have easily lived on his debut album (between The New Workout Plan and Slow Jamz, obviously). With Kanye’s latest concepts being all about so called high fashion his music has started to sound like ‘High-art’ versions of previous works. Fade feels like a more sophisticated version of Stronger. Much less rap-along and dance but more bop along and feel.
The echo on Ty Dolla $ign’s intro creates the impression of being in a big room. Juxtaposing this with the lyrics “When no one ain’t around…..Ain’t nobody watchin” leads you to think this song will be a lonely tale. However, just as your brain adjusts to this fact we’re quickly hit with the funky beat and before you know it Kanye’s verse has started. I think a conscious decision was made to not be too lyrical for this section. This is definitely a shame. But what is said hits harder than it would have had it been surrounded by the usual Kanye wordplay and witticisms. Meaning, phrases such as “Fuckin’ with a real ass nigga” and ‘Bitch better act like you know better” would have sounded ridiculous in the midst of a modern day love song but fully get a point across in a 2016 lit club banger. Both lines sound like they are straight out of a Tarantino script. As such, they are delivered in a way that can entertain and let you know a little bit about the character you are dealing with.
On this track Kanye seems to be in his ‘Romantic–with-an-ego’ character. The rest of the song tries to explain that he’s too famous to put in the necessary effort it takes to maintain a relationship. He obviously doesn’t blame himself for this and feels someone is letting him fade away. I can’t tell if the ‘I feel it deep inside’ vocal samples on the outro are meant to be conveying ‘I can feel this relationship fading away and am powerless to stop it’ or ‘I have sensed a problem early enough to fix it’. So really this song requires another verse.
The ‘Deep Inside’ vocal sample however does serve its primary sonic purpose. It matches the claps perfectly to display the super excellence of well-produced House music. Going from that section back into the melody let’s you keep dancing whilst the song is technically over. The change to a live kick drum works amazingly well as a subconscious cue that the end of the song is approaching. So by the time the song ends you feel completely satisfied by the listening and/or dancing experience without, at least immediately, realising that you’ve been shorted on what could have been a deeper story.
I recommend re – listening to Kanye West’s The College Dropout immediately followed by his The Life of Pablo album for an interesting aural experience.
Track Rating: 4/5
By Karl O’Connor