Because I’m reliving my days of frenzied Kanye fandom lately (and because I’m still reeling from actually having heard The Life of Pablo — more on that later…) I’m going to stick with the world’s most famous “38-year old 8-year old” and take a look at one of his most despised songs.
Kanye can be clowned on for a lot of reasons — people say he’s not generally considered a gifted rapper, he consistently delivers really awkward lines (most recently one about Taylor Swift), he’s the proud physical embodiment of egotism and he’s a Kardashian. Whether these are legitimate complaints or not is a whole separate issue, but there might be no greater confluence of Reasons People Hate Kanye than “Drunk and Hot Girls” from his 2007 party-playlist-ready album Graduation.
“Drunk and Hot Girls,” as one could ascertain from its don’t-Google-this-at-work title, is not a poetic landmark or a great statement about our time; it is mostly just the chorus “We go through too much bullshit just to mess with these drunk and hot girls” repeated again and again (and again) for over five minutes. It’s certainly misogynistic and, apart from a brief interlocution by Mos Def, most would contend it plods along its entire run-time with the same sounds. Less kindly, Buzzfeed said it “might as well be a Tyga song,” a diss so harsh it can send chills down one’s spine.
All of that about “Drunk and Hot Girls” is true, but for my part, I can’t help but like the song because of it.
One of the biggest appeals across Kanye’s oeuvre is that he changes styles consistently and almost uniformly with each new album, and few tracks off Graduation are better suited to display its synth-driven, future anthemic senses. Call me crazy, but I also think the central hook that occurs over and over (and over, and over…) throughout the song is fatally catchy. Lastly, I think that the song does evolve during its runtime. It’s not a crescendo or even a key change, but the beat before the close is fuller, noisier, more hectic than it was earlier, pushing us closer to a satisfactory conclusion.
“Drunk and Hot Girls” is by no means my favorite Kanye song, but I think it’s unfairly maligned just between songs on Graduation alone. (“Homecoming” and “Big Brother” close out the album both on a stinky note, the former more or less being a Coldplay song for moms with iPod Shuffles everywhere.) Sure, it’s sleazy, but it’s also sort of charming, and manages to sound like more than just an intoxicated singalong in the studio one night, even though that’s probably exactly what it is.