| Video |

All Of The Lights video: Is Kanye West actually going small?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Either the third or fourth (depends if you count the leaked but never released "Monster" monstrosity) video from Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came out over the weekend, for current single "All of the Lights." And after all the billionaire, art house, heaven-and-hell enormity of the project to this point, this video initially seems like it might be aiming for subtlety. Could it be?

Ummm... no.

The instrumental interlude plays over black-and-white scenes of a little girl in a poor neighborhood. And this is actually a welcome change of image for this music, because the one part of MBDTF that is getting almost completely ignored is how painfully it hits on the subjects of race and class in America. "All of the Lights" sounds like it cost infinity dollars to make because it's a thousand tracks and about as many guest stars, from Elton John all the way to Fergie, but at its core, the song is about a man's self-destruction and how it causes him to lose his family. We're headed that way at the start of the video. And the music gains power in a way it didn't with all the couture and opulence of the previous videos. Because who actually deserves trumpets and strings and choruses telling their stories: little girls growing up without a dad in the projects or celebrities with mansions and supermodel companions?

But the little girl is blasted from the center of attention by an schizophrenic light sequence that more-or-less continues at a blinding rate for the rest of the video. And we're back to the more is more philosophy that has guided everything else about MBDTF to date. Kanye's wearing a t-shirt that probably cost a thousand dollars, Rihanna's barely wearing anything and Kid Cudi... is also in the video.

It's probably not the point to try and imagine what any of this could be about. We will say that the Hype Williams-directed clip is certainly engaging. After the little girl gets subsumed in the glitz, you would need an attention span of a tenth of a second to get bored by this thing. We suppose the message is something about contrast, but it's not very convincing. Why couldn't it have just been this little girl walking home for five minutes? With this song as background, that would have been the most breathtaking visual accompaniment the album had yet seen.

Follow Backbeat on Facebook and on Twitter at @Westword_Music.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.