Kanye’s ‘All Of The Lights’: A Vocal Breakdown

By Steven Roberts

Now that the world is beginning to—officially and legally—see the brilliance that is Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I thought RapFix could take a look at one of the many (read: all) stand-out tracks from the record. There is no shortage of features on MBDTF (because I’m not spelling that out again), but the album doesn’t feel like it’s littered with them. Each guest appearance only adds to the track it’s included on like an additional instrument, and I don’t think this is any more evident than on “All of the Lights.”

The song boasts 11 features from the likes of Elton John, Alicia Keys, Fergie and Rihanna, and some how … it works.

When media originally reported on how many features the song included, I wondered how long the track would be and how all of those guests would work. Was John Legend going to sing after Rihanna? Was Fergie going first? Was Ryan Leslie going to sing or just play the piano along with Sir Elton and Ms. Keys. Is Cudi going to sing or rap?

But West arranged the song so that many of their voices lay on top of one another effortlessly, and you can’t pinpoint who voice belongs to whom. When Elly Jackson of La Roux stopped by MTV News last week, she said the same thing.

“He got me to layer up all these vocals with other people, and he just basically wanted to use his favorite vocalists from around the world to create this really unique vocal texture on his record, but it’s not the kind of thing where you can pick it out,” she said. “I don’t have a verse or anything. I can’t actually hear my voice on it, but apparently it’s there!”

You can clearly identify Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi, Elton John, Fergie and Rihanna—thanks in large part to her Bajan accent—but you’d be hard pressed locate the others. But there’s no mistaking what “All of the Lights” is; a beautifully booming, over the top pop anthem.

What do you think of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!