How I came up with the rankings:
- Made a playlist with all the songs in alphabetical order.
- Drank a beer.
- Toyed around with moving songs up and down in an iTunes playlist.
- This methodology frustrated me.
- Grabbed another beer.
- Ranked 808s & Heartbreak within itself.
- Finished that beer.
- Went album-by-album, starting with the opening tracks, and ranked them in the growing playlist.
- Pored over the list for a solid 30 minutes and “finished.”
- Went to bed. Woke up.
- Tinkered with it for another 10 minutes.
What I learned:
- Maybe the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
- There are maybe five songs in Mr. West’s discography that I genuinely dislike.
- Generally speaking, I skewed anti-singles.
- People were infuriated with certain rankings.
- It varied from my thoughts from a year ago.
- You may as well call me Stanye West.
What Nate learned:
Gawker’s ranking of Kanye West’s album tracks combines three of my favorite things:
- Creating arbitrary rankings.
- Ridiculing others’ equally arbitrary rankings.
- Wasting time at work.
So I knew it was only a matter of time before I created my own rankings list. In doing this (highly enjoyable) exercise, I was most surprised by how much easier it was to pick and rank the bottom-20 songs compared to the top-50; it speaks to the deep, varied and lasting nature of his musical catalog. As my boss is fond of saying during brainstorming meetings, “just come up with something, there are no wrong answers here.” Unless you put “Drunk and Hot Girls” in your top 40. Then me and you are gonna fight. (Will’s note: I’ll get your back, Nathaniel.)
To the lists!
|Drunk and Hot Girls||72||Barry Bonds|
|Bring Me Down||71||Drunk and Hot Girls|
|Barry Bonds||70||Everything I Am|
|Celebration||68||See You in My Nightmares|
|See You in My Nightmare||67||Say You Will|
|Everything I Am||66||RoboCop|
|Big Brother||65||I Am A God|
|Welcome to Heartbreak||62||Street Lights|
|I’m in It||61||Bad News|
|Say You Will||60||Welcome to Heartbreak|
|Gold Digger||59||I’m in It|
|Guilt Trip||57||Bring Me Down|
|Crack Music||56||Lost in the World|
|Breathe In Breathe Out||51||New Slaves|
|Good Life||50||Black Skinhead|
|Hell of a Life||47||Crack Music|
|Drive Slow||46||Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)|
|The New Workout Plan||45||Touch The Sky|
|The Glory||44||Hold My Liquor|
|Stronger||43||Can’t Tell Me Nothing|
|Street Lights||42||Breathe In Breathe Out|
|I Wonder||41||Heard ‘Em Say|
|I Am a God||40||Send It Up|
|Send It Up||38||School Spirit|
|Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)||36||Last Call|
|Blame Game||35||Hell of a Life|
|Never Let Me Down||32||Devil in a New Dress|
|Through the Wire||31||Gorgeous|
|Heard ‘Em Say||30||I Wonder|
|Family Business||29||Through the Wire|
|So Appalled||28||Dark Fantasy|
|Hold My Liquor||27||Good Life|
|New Slaves||26||The New Workout Plan|
|Get Em High||25||Get Em High|
|Touch The Sky||23||Family Business|
|We Don’t Care||20||Bound 2|
|Jesus Walks||19||Hey Mama|
|School Spirit||17||Coldest Winter|
|All of the Lights||16||Slow Jamz|
|Dark Fantasy||14||Blood on the Leaves|
|Blood on the Leaves||13||Flashing Lights|
|Devil in a New Dress||12||We Major|
|Amazing||11||We Don’t Care|
|Two Words||9||Drive Slow|
|Lost in the World||8||Two Words|
|Can’t Tell Me Nothing||5||Runaway|
|Runaway||4||All of the Lights|
|All Falls Down||2||All Falls Down|
|Flashing Lights||1||Never Let Me Down|
Intra-album agreements (songs ranked the same relative to other songs on the same LP)
- The College Dropout: Two Words, Jesus Walks, Get Em High, Spaceship, Breathe In Breathe Out
- Late Registration: Crack Music, Gold DIgger, Addiction, Celebration, Bring Me Down
- Graduation: Flashing Lights, Big Brother, Everything I Am
- 808s & Heartbreak: Amazing
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: n/a
- Yeezus: I’m in It
- The College Dropout (seven or more spots difference): Last Call, School Spirit, Never Let Me Down
- Late Registration (six or more spots difference): n/a
- Graduation (six or more spots difference): n/a
- 808s & Heartbreak (five or more spots difference): Heartless
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (five or more spots difference): Lost in the World, Monster, Blame Game
- Yeezus (five or more spots difference): Black Skinhead, Guilt Trip
Average ranking per song
- The College Dropout: 25.2
- Late Registration: 43.8
- Graduation: 44.5
- 808s & Heartbreak: 48.9
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy:19.9
- Yeezus: 37
- The College Dropout: 22.1
- Late Registration: 34.7
- Graduation: 46.3
- 808s & Heartbreak: 48.1
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: 27
- Yeezus: 44
- Gawker guy, who’s wrong
- The College Dropout: 24
- Late Registration: 45.3
- Graduation: 39.6
- 808s & Heartbreak: 55.2
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: 34.7
- Yeezus: 24.6