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We continue our serialized examination of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West with the album’s fifth track “All of the Lights.”

“All of the Lights” and it’s fourteen high-profile guest vocalists is the kind of decadence that borders on excessive indulgence like the terrible feeling you get after eating too much cake. This kind of problematic indulgence is an inherent quality of celebrity, and “All of the Lights” is calculated overstimulation, a sensory overload aimed to express the strung-outed-ness of a life lived beneath a perpetual spotlight.

Structurally, “All of the Lights” acts as a bridge into another world. While there’s been moments of fantasy in the album’s first three songs, on “All of the Lights” we hear for the first time an elaborate fantasy world created throughout an entire song, complete with its own narrative arc. It begins a glamorous, ambitious ode to stardom and ends a dysfunctional, unraveling mess. It’s an ongoing expression of the internal conflict and dichotomy Kanye feels within himself, forever torn between the justification of his greatness and his apparent internal insecurity and sensitivity following the VMAs, his mother’s death, and his failed engagement.

You can support Dissect at Patreon.com/dissect.

Listen to “All of the Lights” on Apple Podcasts. 

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