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S2E13 – Hell of a Life by Kanye West

2017-11-07 | 🔗

We continue our serialized analysis of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by dissecting "Hell Of A Life."

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
hey everyone as we approach the end of season two i'd love to feature your voice on the upcoming finale episode if you're interested in being featured just follow these steps first formulate your thoughts on kanye west they can be twisted fantasy what you learn from season to a certain song that affected you or just your thoughts on connie in general the floor is yours i know it's a big subject but condense your thoughts in a thirty to forty seconds of audio suggests writing your thoughts down you can say a lot in thirty seconds you just have to be organized also feel free state your first name and where you're from next user cell phone to record yourself once recorded send your clip to dissect podcast at dissectpodcastgmail dot com and title your email season two audio clip and send your thirty to forty second audio clip to dissect podcast at g mail dot com finally many of you have been
asking about the availability of the dissect season one kickstarter book the blacker the berry for limited time you can now order that book at blacker berry dash book dot com if you have no idea what i'm talking about this book visualizes the historical and social context of kendrick lamar song the blacker the berry i wrote the text and graph designer hannah sellers created beautiful collages to accompany the text it's really quite gorgeous again you can order yours at blacker berry dash book dot com i also have links social media at dissect podcast if that's easier ok thanks for your time here's today's show welcome to insect long for musical analysis broken into short digestible episodes i'm your host call krishna today we continue
rc realize examination on my beautiful dark twisted fantasy by kanye west on her two episodes we dissected the album's emotional nine minute centerpiece runaway bringing us to end of act two title dark after imagine suicide that ends power and if you need interlude of all the lights one through the various facets of his psyche in search of identity and companionship embrace the villain role on monster realize the riddick listen listen somewhat loneliness of celebrity life on so appalled and search unsuccessfully for intimacy on devil in a new dress on run away we found connie it is most vulnerable acknowledging for first time is imperfections and in a bit the to love or be loved the three minutes so low that ends around away is my beautiful dark twisted fantasies grand moment of catharsis man desperately struggling to find his own voice attempting to break through the tion of his own inadequacies abstractly expressing all the feelings he's incapable of articulating with words and
typical literary narrative this kind of cathartic out ring of emotion is huge followed by liberating action defining revelation our new found clarity the protagonist on twisted fantasy this happens kinda whereas a traditional story tends to lead towards resolution or quote unquote happy ending twisted fate she just gets more wild dark and twisted indeed connie's emotional liberation allows him to free the express the darkest recesses of the psyche on the album's next track the first song a back three and the subject of today's episode hell of a lot if thank god hello to life is
movies by connie west with additional production by mike dean no id and mike karen the song production revolves around a sample from the mojo men's one thousand nine hundred and sixty six performance of she's my baby slowed down slightly and becomes a found for hell of a life drums are then lou i need to send sample from tony joe white snow can seventy song stud spider stud spacing gonna get get there do you have measure of this piece is chopped and loop to create this pattern
we get something pretty close to the drums on hell of a life for song with so much energy in driving impetus the action is actually quite minimal it's simplicity made affected by the tight pristine tonal quality of the synth and drums and before we get far into our analysis of a hell of a life it's important that we back up just momentarily to the end of the album's previous song runaway there's a very interesting and by interesting i mean brilliant connection mean right away in hell of a life let's get end of run away in our ears then we'll talk about it ends with connie's voice turn guitar resolving down to an e that's nothing the ordinary the song is in the key of e major so anything on it is a very standard traditional resolution now let's hello the opening synth riff does it
send sound pretty similar to connie's voice at the end of run away let's listen to the two back to back the two sound pretty miller right things get you more interesting when we consider the interval between the concluding noted run away and then opening out of hell of a life in music an interval is the distance between two notes we typically talk about intervals within their respective key signatures for the sake of this example will position ourselves in a major if two notes are three notes apart a to see we called third is there five minutes apart a tui call it a fifth and so on like i'm runaway ends on e and how the life begins on a b flat let's
two back to back sounds kind of spooky right this notoriously an interval is called a tritone tone the try there is a long storied history it was free they avoided in medieval music because of its this inequality 18th century it was said to be banned from you by some religious authorities became is diablos in musica which translates to devil in music devil you know like hell like hell of a life the ending note of runaway in the opening night of hell of a life explain this tritone this devil and music to great effect a sinister transformation or rope swing from the elegance and vulnerability of run away to the sinful agree nous of hell of a life the tone honey's voice on run away in the synth on hell of a life being so similar it's hard not to speculate that this transition and it's used right turn was a conscious calculation we've come
us too many details like this on twisted fantasy for them to be mere coincidence especially we consider connie's obsessive detail oriented approach in the studio as well as high level of musicianship and before dive into hell of a life lyrical content which centers connie falling in love with a pornstar there's just more thing we need to address connie's porn addiction connie's interest in porn is pretty well documented with connie himself admitting quote my only drug is porn i have porn with me all the time quote and it seem is porn addiction is a manifestation of his sexual addiction which is also on record saying he struggles with quote i think i might have a problem a sexual addiction less is part of the reason i've been out of relationships i just want to do it all the time all the time like four times a night and then in the morning those addictions and afflictions are what make me a great artist my biggest problem is lest looking at girls with big booties
indeed connie would go on to create use this in the life of pablo albums that in many ways center around connie struggle to both find to commit to muster a love in the face of perpetual lust and temptation the latter half of twisted fantasy getting a similar mini narrative with devil in a new dress runaway hell of a life and next blame game he seems to be searching for meaning for intimacy and authenticity that authenticity takes form woman as love never privy to the prismatic display of the emotional peaks and valleys of connie psyche as he tries to figure himself out of course connie struggle with love and lust is also an expression of good versus evil angel versus devil a dichotomy we've we seen reappear throughout the entire album after the angelic thirty of runaway connie enters hell of a life of what seems to be the other side of the thematic universe with this performance of burst
i think that yeah connie begins first i think i just fell in love with the porn is the third song in a row in which connie seems to be searching for some kind of emotional connection with a woman on devil a new dress here for a sensation on run away he addressed a quote unquote good girl and here on hell of a life his attention turns tored the porn star indeed the opening line has shock value but also set up the complexity of the song somatic through line typically we lust after porn stars rarely do we fall in love then after the rejection of a sensation on devil in a new dress the selfridge we have run away it would seem
that the lonely and emotional strange connie has grown desk this pursuit of quote unquote love but as we'll see that perception will change by the songs and connie continues the verse turn the camera on shipborne star turn the corner is in a foreign car call the corners do the cpr she gave the old and where the old sir her bitter sweet taste made his goal to steak and just five lines connie creates an impressionistic narrative that makes clear we've entered some name recess of his fantastical imagination the picture he paints is a porn star involved with an older man who seems to be quite wealthy signified buys gold teeth and foreign car the old man dies from an ulcer given to him by the porn star perhaps a metaphor for her being bad for his health connie continues to verse with a series of sacrilegious lines that extend all to the versus end
move down tab make her knees shake make a priest faint make a nun come maker cremate virtuosic series of lines first we have maker ny shake alluding to praying on one's knees and the convulsions one has during an orgasm make a priest fate continues to religious imagery as a priest is likely to faint from the vulgarity of the line or how good the sexes we also imagine faint as in fate and color alluding to the priest turning pale during sex next connie flips a female saying make a non com maker cremate again we have double me
meeting with cremate one being cream as an orgasm and the other being cremated as in the ashes after ones death both apparently due to how good the sex is the clever word play continues here with the line moved downtown copa sweet space here connie pulls off a triple entendre first we move downtown as a moving into a new expensive crib or sweet space secondly we have cop as in police officer going downtown to the city jail of course the third meeting is most obvious going downtown going down on someone the sweet space being their genitalia connie end verse acknowledging the recklessness of his fantasies saying living life we won the sweepstakes we headed to hell for heaven sakes well i'ma levitate make the devil wait it's a well executed punctuation that cements versus religious overtones and connie's risque juxtapositions of heaven and hell sacred
in the last line is especially nice as connie claims still temporarily escape the grasp of the devil by levitating perhaps alluding to the ascension jesus took after the crucifixion along with the versus double and triple meanings there's also some virtuosic double rhyme schemes established throughout for much of the verse connie splits each bar in half and her right in the middle of one line with the middle of the
line while also writing the last word of the same lines as well for instance he says turn the camera on shia born star turn the corners in a foreign car call the coroner's do the cpr here the middle words camera on corners corners all rhyme well the ending words porn star foreign card cpr all right as well later the verse the middle words start to write with each other within the same line as he says old all sir sweet taste teeth ache me shake priests faint none come downtown levitate wait this first verse of hell of a life is really quite masterful it's extremely inter
hidden tightly executed all displaying the dark recesses of connie's twisted fantasies hell of a life continues with the first performance of his hook things on the hook interpolates the nineteen seventy one song iron man by black abbas connie bars but the melody and opening
line of iron man for hell of a life hook connie sings have you lost your mind tell me when you think we crossed the line after lines about priests and nuns for dictating with a pornstar it's hard not to think connie's being self referential to his own explicit first verse the hook continues no more drugs for me pushy and religion is all i need of first one is filled almost exclusively with talk of sex and religion i'll be a very non traditional religion stating that he doesn't need drugs it seemed connie is using drugs as a metaphor for clouded reality and perhaps a playoff the phrase love is ugh now that he's found clarity and sex and through sex found a religion that allows them to express his innermost sexual fantasies without fear judgment connie doesn't need drugs does it the traditional love you saw on devil in a new dress and run away the hook includes grab my hand and baby will live a hell of a life
one on the surface it would seem to be a romantic image the phrase hell of a life is a triple entendre the traditional meaning of hell of a life is exciting full of adventure which is clearly the surface meaning in the context of the song this far hell of a life can also mean a hell or schitt life one devoid of meaning and authenticity finally hell of a life can mean a sinful life one fueled by lust and temptation by the songs and we'll hear all three of these hell of a life interpretations manifested after the performance of the songs hook verse too tv
well yeah the loudest that tell me what i can do that yeah right yeah it's kind of crazy to when i get the last and it was yeah run away bang bang bang bang bang connie opens first you have singing never in your wildest dreams never in your wildest dreams in your wildest this is seem to reference the nineteen ninety six tina turner and barry white classic wildest dreams itself the song about
last after the sun goes down
quote of the tina turner song as it continues to verse never in your wildest dreams in your wildest you can hear the loudest screams coming from inside the screen you will wild pitch it would seem connie is addressing the pornstar he's watching on a television or computer screen confirmed by the next line tell me what i gotta do to be that guy who he presumed to be the male pornstar currently having sex with the screaming female things take an unexpected turn as connie response to his own question saying she said her price go down if she ever fuck a black guy or do anal or do a gangbang it's kind of crazy that's all considered the same thing connie's alluding to the well documented racism in the porn industry specifically that many women in porn often charged twice as much or more to do a scene with a black man connie draws parallels between this fee increase and the increases to do more extreme sexual acts like
in all or having sex with multiple men at a time the porn industry standard for these extra fees we seem to equate being black is inherently explicit and hartley degrading which of course carries with the horrible racist implications next connie delivers one of the most intricate sequence of lines in his entire discography he flips gang bang from a sexual exploit to modern street gangs of the line i guess a lot of and words do gang bang next connie says and if we run trains we all in the same gang this alludes to another sexual active running a train which according to urban dictionary means a line of guys having sex with one girl one after another the phrase we all in the same gang is also a clever illusion to the nineteen ninety anti gang song we're all in the same gang by the super group west coast all stars that included
i steve doctor drake easy and many more when a man in the mail stop killing my brother all from the same after saying if we run trains were on the same gang connie says runaway slaves all in a chain gang this line clip links both modern day racism and gang bangin back to the origins of slavery as well as a chain southern prisoners were forced to do manual labor by chained together the runaway slaves line also gives new meaning to the previous line we're all in the same gang which now can be read as meaning the gang of being black in america united by the commonality that they're all discriminated against the verse ends with connie saying bang five times here we have a complex quadruple entendre and a brilliant thematic exclamation marks at the versus n
coming after the chain gang line refers to think of the banging of something like sledgehammers against steel something signifying physical labor come after runaway slave we can also interpret the bangs as gunshots from a slave owner tordon escaping slave of course the bang of a gunshot would also apply to the gun violence comma to urban gangs mentioned earlier finally bank could allude to a few sexual acts the thrust of a man's body where the train line of men waiting to have sex with the woman personally i always find this passage to be quite depressing here on hell of a life connie's indulging fantasy letting his imagination run rampant in a cathartic exercise of self expression but yet even in this imagined environment of his psyche an escape the looming reality of being black in america can't escape the history of his ancestors were the momentary in security that the skin color may affect his ambitions and fantasies after a repetition of the song
verse three begins one am what happened one of the world's leading the whole day the reason they when you know before with the light connie begins burst by stating one day i'm going to marry a pornstar a slightly prophetic line is his now wife kim kardashian gained prominence partly because of a leak sex tape but on hell of a life the motives of connie's love interest in porn stars begins to reveal itself as
first continues after fantasizing about their sex filled life in a mansion he says nothing to hide we both screwed the bridesmaids the key phrase here is nothing to hide and this theme of personal liberation and uninhibited self expression will carry through the verse until it's exclamatory end connie says what party we going to on oscar de specially she can't get that dress from oscar de la renta they wouldn't renter they couldn't take the shame nasa dress offer back and told her get away here connie outlines a scenario in which is porn star wife is shunned in shaman an oscar award party this section the latter half of verse two as again connie fantasies can escape the reality of discrimination and prejudice or connie was shunned for skin color the porn star is for a profession which the public perceives as a shameful and desperate life choice
and this this shared public shame that seems to attract connie to the porn star they're both alcasid from society and connie can identify with and relate to our struggles this sentiment is a pain in my eyes in the verses master books using lines how could they say they live their life wrong if you never fucked with the lights on this line snaps the entire song into crystallizing precisely why connie both desires that identifies with the pornstar connie is is having sex with the lights on as a metaphor for unabashed self expression for the unconditional embrace of one's own self and sexuality those who exclusively have sex with the lights off and plies insecurity and discomfort with themselves their own self shaming sexuality it turns out discuss with porn stars is rooted in their own insecurity of rejection of their own anxieties as they feel threatened by someone so comfortable in their own skin so comfortable that they don't mind not only having sex with the lights on but having sex on camera for the
tire world to see as an artist and celebrity connie is actually doing the same thing it is music express this is emotions and feelings freely and works at the whole world are privy to coming up deals of runaway this theme is especially potent at this point in the album also as a celebrity the specifics of connie's personal life and issues are often public information and this exposure and vulnerability through his music in the media that because connie to identify with and perhaps feel safe and understood by a pornstar again it's kind of a sad lonely revelation we have connie looking around for someone or something to understand him someone to bond and connect with and the only thing he could seem to find as a porn star in a computer screen and a fantasy that's taking place in his head at your repetition of the songs hook hell of a life breaks down into angelic choir like voices
over which connie performs a brief but revealing outro honeymoon dance floor twenty says i think i fell in love with the porn star i got married in the bathroom honeymoon on the dance floor i got divorced by the end of the night that's one hell of a life connie in is imagine wife have sex in the bathroom at a club have a dance and then leave each other hours later this many narrative is a revealing look into the extent of connie's fantasy throughout the song he claims to fall in love
and imagine that he'll one day marry a pornstar it seems now that love and marriage to connie was simply a metaphor for sex and nothing more he caps off the what you're saying that's one hell of a life ever again forced to decide on what he means by this is that a life of excitement a life of sin or life of misery this most accurately all three simultaneously none of which are for filling or sustainable a hell of a life indeed and before we dissect the songs cryptic cryptic mental outro there's just one thing i have to point out it's not something i'm a hundred percent sure about but it's interesting none the less throughout the song connie says hell of a life to end each shook and the outro we just heard having listened to the song countless times in preparation of the podcast i couldn't help but realize that connie never actually pronounces the word life fully never actually accents the in life
we fill it in ourselves because hell of a life is a common phrase we've all heard before but what happens when you leave the out of life what's that leave us with it sounds to me a lot like hell of a life have a listen so what you think did you hear it again be over analysis but if it were in fact done on purpose how level i would certainly be on point thematically six inch the fantasy aspect of the song which itself is one big lie taking place in connie's head but hell of a i could also be commentary terran connie's competent claim that all he needs in life is in and religion in the already seemed somewhat suspect we know a lie
full of sin isn't sustainable in any healthy way and we know connie knows that too in ok i'll let you decide on the validity of this hell of a light interpretation if anything is something like an interesting forty and slip hell of a life concludes that the cryptic instrumental outro that features the moans of teyana taylor who sung the intro and chorus on the alamo are dark fantasy soon after taylor enters connie is heard breathing heavily let's have a listen home
on the surface it would seem hell of a life outro is a depiction of a man and woman having sex it's a literal climax of a song about sexual expression the oral manifestation of connie's erotic imaginings let's think about this section a little bit harder no pun intended however life opens with the lines i think i just fell in love with the porn star turn the camera on she's a born star in verse to connie says you can hear the loudest screams coming from inside the screen later he asked tell me what i gotta do to be that guy talking about the male porn star having sex with the woman on the screen it certainly
connie is watching a porn o throughout hell of a life and the mini narratives he creates or his imagination running wild by watching said portnow and given the fantastical nature of the song wouldn't it seem more likely that the moans and heavy breathing are actually a depiction of connie masturbating let's listen again to the passage in question and this time notice the effect placed on the woman's voice the passionless nature connie's breathing the accelerated pace of his breathing when connie is isolated at the very end of the track home
so what do you think to me the fact
in the woman's voice is reminiscent of the kind of audio you here on a laptop heavy in treble and slightly devoid of base coneys breathing izzy queued much differently and to me sounds out of sync with the woman's moans like the two are operating independently of one another carney's breasts are passionless while the woman's moans are somewhat robotic and because those moans also double as a melody we could technically call them scripted perhaps like someone playing a part finally the outro end with the music and woman cutting out altogether leaving connie isolated and alone and his breast grow faster as if he's climaxing for be isolating connie and his breast at the end is a calculated tell that he indeed masturbating presumably while alone in front of a computer or tv screen
of course is a sad and lonely image despite the exciting and adventurous musical mood throughout the entire song it ultimately deflates ending in isolation and loneliness it forces us to reconsider everything we just heard could it be hell of a life all takes place in connie's head while watching a porn o and masturbating the dark twisted fantasy these have a lonely rockstar attempting to climax moreover is this a sad inevitable conclusion of a man who on runaway commanded that his love interest leave him due to his inability to love and be intimate with a woman is connie destined to a life of empty sexual transactions forever paralyzed by lest insecurity and selfishness again a hell of a life indeed conclusion hello
life is a deeply complex narrative fantasy that operates on multiple levels simultaneously on its surface it's a crude display of the twisted imaginings of connie psyche and a liberating release of his innermost fantasies connie uses porn star a symbol of sexual freedom and self expression the song strives to unabashedly parade the darkest most simple parts of themselves parts that are perhaps inside all of us the most of could never or would never admit it let alone publicly in this a hell of a life is strangely progress towards self acceptance the connie struggle with on run away on the other hand the more kanye becomes at home with his true self and all the dark complexities of his psyche the more alienated from the world he become a porn star is then a symbol of the outcasts the pariah shunned from society for simply being who they are in this way life is a tragic realization of connie's place in the world or shall we say displacement in the world with
sing to begin as a momentous push toward self actualization after the cathartic release of runaway hell of a life ultimately deflates by the songs end we find connie all alone pleasuring himself in front of a screen this fantastical concepts of love and marriage reduced a momentary less written sexual pleasure the somberness of this realization is accentuated and carried over into the album's next track which by no coincidence begins with the continuation of the breathing we heard on hell of a life outro the free here now sounds like a sigh like resignation of course the song is blame game the sar recount of a relationship gone sour which was early explorer next time i dissect
bisect is written and produced by me see music by bureaucratic more connie west analysis i might suggest checking out the podcast watching the throne host chris and travis dive deep on connie lyrics one track at a time and i'm watching the throne that i first heard the hell of a life masturbation theory i shared on today's episode you can find their pod in all major podcast apps just search watching the throne if you'd like to support dissect you can do so at patriot dot com slash dissect as you've heard me say many times there's no team behind dissect this just me and by donating as little as one dollar
a month you can help me offset some of the costs of the show this week's paycheck on diamond level shots go to say here be key dan evans salmon chaudry grant jake in our hudson stewart cornelius kevin when austin frasier david drummond and feel mills you can support dissect that patriarch spelled p eight e r e l n dot com slash dissect also there's just a little over a week to pre order your die sixties into a peril head over to rocky clark clothing dot com to check out the twisted fantasy inspired long sleeved tee and dad had with all proceeds going to charity again that's rocky clark clothing dot com okay thanks everyone i'll talk to you next week
Transcript generated on 2019-11-16.