21. Flashing Lights
Release Date: November 12th, 2007
Writer(s): Kanye West, Eric Hudson
Producer(s): West, Hudson
“In my past, you on the other side of the glass
Of my memory’s museum
I’m just saying, hey Mona Lisa come home
You know you can’t roam without Caesar”
It’s possible to break down the different phases of Kanye’s career simply by listening for the temperament in whatever song you happen to be listening to.
For “Flashing Lights,” and really any track off of Graduation, that temperament is balancing on the very peak of fame. The songs are mostly unreserved affirmations of his own accomplishments and ability, though there are some hints here that the strains of being in the public eye are wearing on him.
There’s a boundary between achieving fame and actually being famous, and through that boundary an artist is usually compelled to ask him or herself just what he’s producing at that point and why.
While The College Dropout and Late Registration were labors of love and/or coming out parties, Graduation was in many ways the first album where Kanye gave thought to what his adoring public wanted to hear from him. “Flashing Lights” is a sort of reaction to that experience, but even in its lack of relatability to the average person, it manages to be a banger.
Next: 20. Monster