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Kanye's Original 'The Life of Pablo' Tracklist Analyzed in Three Acts by @NathanZed & @jonnysun

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This is a guest post from @NathanZed and @jonnysun analyzing Kanye's original The Life of Pablo tracklist.


"LOW LIGHTS" (Added Track) - Starts off with “I want to tell you a testimony about my life." This album, The Life of Pablo, is the testimony. See this as the introduction framing the entire album as Kanye’s testimony about his life. 


ACT 1 is Kanye on a crazy high off his fame, with excessive sex, drugs, money, and big egos. All the tracks from "Famous" to "Highlights" are upbeat and mostly bangers, indicating that he’s having the time of his life.

"FAMOUS" - He shows off his braggadocio side on "Famous." The very first verse shows how petty he is when it comes to fame with the infamous Taylor Swift line, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."
"FATHER STRETCH MY HANDS Pt. 1 / Pt. 2" - The line “I just wanna feel liberated” is mixed between lines describing excessive sex and drugs. Like that… ”bleached asshole” line…

"WAVES" - Lyrics describing his excessive ego, “Step up in this bitch like / I’m the one your bitch like / Yeah I’m the one your bitch like / And I be talkin' shit like / I ain’t scared to lose a fistfight / And she grabbin’ on my dick like / She wanna see if it’ll fit right / That’s just the wave”

"HIGHLIGHTS" - This is the highest point that Kanye is at, ending the song with “I need every bad bitch up in Equinox / I need to know right now if you a freak or not.”
"FEEDBACK" (Added Track) - The first track with a beat that sounds more distorted and less straight forward. Lyrics describe an obsession with money, “Wake up nigga wake up / We bout to get this paper," “I’ve been outta my mind, a long time." This transitions into Act 2.


ACT 2 is him coming down from the high and waking up, having a moment of clarity, and realizing for the first time what his life has become. 

"FREESTYLE 4" (Added Track) - Starts off with nightmarish production. This is the craziest that Kanye's high gets, and he’s mumbling through the track talking about sex. The end of the track you hear him “waking up."
"30 HOURS" - Kanye waking up from this nightmare / his high and having a moment of clarity. First lines are,
“I wake up assessin’ the damages / Checkin’ media takeout / Pictures of me drunk walkin’ out with a bitch / But it’s blurry enough to get the fakeout"

"NO MORE PARTIES IN LA" - He’s realizing for the first time what his life has become. He begs “please baby no more parties in LA”.
"FADE" - The lyrics speak from themselves, “Your love is fadin’ / I feel it’s fadin’ / When no one ain’t around / I feel it’s fadin' / I think I think too much / Ain’t nobody watchin'" Towards the end, the gospel song “I Get Lifted” is sampled, presenting more gospel themes.


ACT 3 is Kanye then renouncing this life, & turning to God and religion for redemption.

"FML (For My Lady)" - A story of the difficulties Kanye faces as he tries to control himself and stay truthful to his wife, Kim.
"REAL FRIENDS" - A look at Kanye’s relationship struggles with his friends and family, which he blames himself for in certain lyrics.
"WOLVES" - He compares himself and Kim to Mary and Joseph, presenting more biblical themes. Ends with Frank's verse, “Life is precious / We found out, we found out"
"ULTRALIGHT BEAM" - Kanye finally turns to God and religion for redemption. Kanye revealed in his tweets that the “Pablo” in the title is not Picasso or Escobar (or at least not only them), but rather “PAUL” from the bible.

According to his tweets,

Before Paul became who he was, he was “Saul”, a sinner and someone who was persecuting God. “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” (Acts 9:1)

In "Ultralight Beam," Kanye becomes redeemed for his sins across the album.  Take “The addict’s moment of clarity and redemption” and mirror that as a contemporary modern day version of "Saul the sinner turning into Paul." The song then ends with a prayer from Kirk Franklin, perhaps for anyone who can relate to the struggle shown in this album.

You can read our full The Life of Pablo album review here and "Closing Remarks of a Reformed Kanye Apologist" here.