Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kanye West “Stronger” hit #1


Kanye West with Daft Punk

Writer(s): Kanye West, Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Edwin Birdsong (see lyrics here)

Released: July 31, 2007

First Charted: July 22, 2007

Peak: 11 US, 12 RR, 11 BA, 12 DG, 30 RB, 12 UK, 13 CN, 2 AU, 30 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 0.27 UK, 14.55 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 453.4 video, 1194.39 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 2007, Kanye West was “the most interesting person in all of popular music. He knew it, too. If anything he knew it too well.” SG On the strength of his critical and commercial successes with his first two albums, College Dropout and Late Registration, he “had emerged as a new evolution of the A-list rap star – the middle-class striver who produces his own tracks, who’s more interested in fashion and tastemaker business than the sometimes-hermetic rap world, and whose insecurity and egomania often melted together into one enormous whole.” SG

After touring stadiums as an opening act for U2 and the Rolling Stones, he “figured out that dense wordplay and meditations on internal conflict simply couldn’t work on that big a scale. Instead, Kanye wanted to make…songs that would sound enormous, songs that could trigger mass singalongs. ‘Stronger’ might represent the biggest, loudest, most successful example of the form.” SG

The song is built on a sample of “French house duo Daft Punk’s almight 2001 track ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.’” SG His first exposure to the group was via the Busta Rhymes’ 2005 “Touch It” which sample Daft Punk’s “Technologic.” Kanye’s tour DJ, A-Trak, played more Daft Punk for Kanye, who decided he had to sample “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” A-Trak thought it “was a terrible idea, that the samle was too obvious. Kanye didn’t care.” SG

Interestingly, Daft Punk built the song on a sample as well – of “Edwin Birdsong’s 1979 funk obscurity ‘Cola Bottle Baby.’” SG Birdsong and both members of Daft Punk get songwriting credits on “Stronger.” West “arguably did more with his Daft Punk sample than Daft punk did with their Edwin Birdsong sample” SG and “encouraged other hip-hop artists to incorporate house and electronica elements into their music.” WK Kanye also “did everything in his power to make the original track sound ever bigger and more cinematic,” SG reportedly remixing the song 75 times. WK Daft Punk were “delighted” WK with the results.

West, however, did not “give that same obsessive attention to his ‘Stronger’ lyrics,” SG a song “about the resolve that comes when one is faced with adversity.” WK “Most of Kanye’s lines are about his own greatness” SG and some of the lyrics are “dumb…and “derivative”SG but also nonspecific enough “that people can use [them] as thei own anthems.” SG That’s why the song ultimately works “as a colossal anthem about personal empowerment.” SG


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First posted 6/25/2023.

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