Kanye West album tracks, ranked

(Reuters/Eric Thayer)

(Reuters/Eric Thayer)

Suck it, Gawker. Your list is wrong. This is the correct list. (My colleague Nate Wong‘s list is less wrong than Gawker’s but still wrong.)

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.
  • Done!

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:

  1. Creating arbitrary rankings.
  2. Ridiculing others’ equally arbitrary rankings.
  3. 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!

Will    Rank Nate
Drunk and Hot Girls 72 Barry Bonds
Bring Me Down 71 Drunk and Hot Girls
Barry Bonds 70 Everything I Am
RoboCop 69 Big Brother
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
On Sight 64 Homecoming
Addiction 63 The Glory
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
Heartless 58 On Sight
Guilt Trip 57 Bring Me Down
Crack Music 56 Lost in the World
Bad News 55 Celebration
Love Lockdown 54 Addiction
We Major 53 Paranoid
Roses 52 So Appalled
Breathe In Breathe Out 51 New Slaves
Good Life 50 Black Skinhead
Champion 49 Gold Digger
Homecoming 48 Love Lockdown
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
Paranoid 39 Guilt Trip
Send It Up 38 School Spirit
Spaceship 37 Spaceship
 Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) 36 Last Call
Blame Game 35 Hell of a Life
Bound 2 34 Stronger
Slow Jamz 33 Power
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
Good Morning 24 Champion
Touch The Sky 23 Family Business
Gorgeous 22 Good Morning
Coldest Winter 21 Heartless
We Don’t Care 20 Bound 2
Jesus Walks 19 Hey Mama
Monster 18 Blame Game
School Spirit 17 Coldest Winter
All of the Lights 16 Slow Jamz
Power 15 Jesus Walks
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
Black Skinhead 10 Roses
Two Words 9 Drive Slow
Lost in the World 8 Two Words
Gone 7 Gone
Hey Mama 6 Amazing
Can’t Tell Me Nothing 5 Runaway
Runaway 4 All of the Lights
Last Call 3 Monster
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

Intra-album disagreements

  • 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

  • Will
    • 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
  • Nate
    • 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
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One comment

  1. This is fantastic.

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