I wanted to do this album breakdown to bring back one of my favorite all time albums. Graduation is one of those albums in which each track is carefully crafted so that fans and critics alike will realize the deep impact that each verse will have on the shaping of the entire piece. On top of this, production value prior to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy had never been as slick, as powerful, or as hard hitting. There are definitely some classics on here. As this is a classic breakdown, we won’t be going too deep into ratings, consider this more of a wholehearted recommendation, and a blueprint as to what makes a fantastic album fantastic.
To start, this is a memorable album because of the time it was released. 2008 was a year of many, many classics and releases. It was the year of Kanye’s “Let me finish” incident with Taylor Swift. It was a time of stunna shades and pop culture revelations. Above all this, it was an album that stood above the others to make itself known amid the noise of most contemporary hip hop and rap albums. If you haven’t listened to this fantastic piece cover to cover, it’s my wholehearted recommendation to turn the lights off, put some headphones on, and get lost with this one.
From the beginning, you get hit with Good Morning. The track that has the most poignant sound out of all the tracks on the album. The opening is hopefully, heavy handed, and strong. It pronounces Kanye’s hopefulness and cements the idea that he’s going to be legendary. Not just him, all of us. On this day we become legendary, everything we dream of…it’s a line for thought. Continuing through the album, we get catchier tunes like Flashing Lights. It’s not one of my favorites, but no matter how you look at it, it’s a well crafted thought with powerful production. Pushing further down, you get to explore a hidden gem that I think is one of my favorite songs he’s ever made. Simply called The Glory, it’s a hard hitting song with great bars that floats the back half of the track to an excellent finish.
Finally, we start slowing down with tracks like Big Brother, and Good Night. These are an excellent wind down and a great way to display tone as the first half of the track is filled with energy. As you close out the sunset of this piece, you end up taking more time, slowing down, and getting a more intimate feel for the back half of the track. This isn’t a high energy Kanye attempting to hype you up. This is a balanced out Kanye waving goodbye to his fans until his next project. It gives you the feeling of a curtain drawing down on the piece.
All in all, if you’ve never heard Graduation, you need to. It’s a contemporary classic with powerful emotion as well as powerful lyrics and bars that carry the piece throughout. There aren’t any times in which you find yourself disappointed, and each piece finds its place among the collection of songs that make up this album.
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