Popkin’s Corner: Kanye’s Paint-By-Numbers Video

Videos by American Songwriter

Remember, he tried to warn you: “IT’S NOT A VIDEO…IT’S A PAINTING.” Meet Kanye West, the Egyptian God of insane music videos. Regardless of how you feel about his music, his talking points or even his personality, there’s no denying that Mr. West is one of the few artists out there still taking risks. The guy does what he wants, even if that means busting rhymes a capella at Twitter’s offices, or hanging a halo and a sword above his head like martyr in his music video for “Power,” the first single off of his still untitled new album.

The man is not playing around. Kanye wears a gold chain that would break a mere mortal’s neck. And there are columns! And angels! And demon-women? Who are pounding out the beat with big sticks? Don’t get me wrong—I thoroughly enjoy this minute-and-a-half clip. I haven’t had a music video captivate me this much since Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby,” which is about eight hundred different types of awesome.

But unlike James’ smooth simplicity, with Kanye, there’s just so much to see! It’s like trying to write about Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Or something. I’m probably going to have to go with the something. Still, my brain cannot comprehend everything that my eyes are seeing. As Albino-looking women feed themselves grapes, Mr. West raps about some “light-skinned Kelly Rowlands,” referencing the former Destiny’s Child member. That makes sense, I guess. But the people pouring water on themselves? While upside-down? Or the women shaking out the silk handkerchiefs from the ceiling? Somebody help me out here.

I feel I do get some parts though, like when the men fly at Kanye from both sides, swords ready to strike. Our hero keeps looking straight ahead, not even flinching. Look out, Kanye! It’s the haters! Symbolism at its finest.

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