Very rarely does a song guide one through many emotions in less than 10 minutes. These songs do exist but they are often hard to discover and listen to endlessly. “Runaway” by Kanye West is an example of a master-class song that still stands tall to this day. Nine years ago this song was considered to be a beautiful masterpiece that highlighted the best things that Kanye West had to offer, and all of that remains true to this day and then some. Nine minutes and eight seconds is the amount of time that Kanye West has to take you on a spiritual adventure throughout verses and autotune to deliver his message. “Runaway” is Kanye West’s second best song in my opinion and that says a lot when you look at his portfolio spanning 15 years. “Runaway” truly is a perfect song and one that I believe all can enjoy whether you’re a fan or not.
“Runaway” begins with the famous piano intro featuring heavy use of the E key which then transitions into the grand beat of the song. This slow start is a great way to build up excitement and tension as each key is pressed. This intro quickly turns into a ballad as Kanye begins his first chorus of the song. In this chorus Kanye discussing a fictitious toast to all those who doubted him, those who gave up on him, and his inner-self. Kanye’s life had become shrouded in drama at this time and this chorus is his first attempt to redeem himself by revealing his true nature. After this catchy chorus, Kanye decides to spit some truth about his love life and how he consistently fails to find true love. Kanye takes this time to assert his arrogance and how he blames everyone for his mistakes because that’s all he ever does. After another chorus section, fellow collaborator Pusha T is recruited to perform the next verse of the song.
Pusha T enters the scene with a short but sweet verse about the lavish lifestyle and the trials and tribulations that come with it. Pusha T’s verse is quite particular when you consider he is referencing Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow to Rolex watches. However, Pusha T details his issues with being rich and famous by showing off an ignorance similar to Kanye’s first verse. This verse is great from Pusha T because not only does it paint a picture of the jerk that he views himself as but also the self-realization aspect that comes with it. Pusha T isn’t afraid to flex his wealth and will surely make sure you see his bling before he gives the song back to Kanye.
This second verse from Kanye is very short but is a great way to pick up where Pusha T left off. Kanye is afraid of losing his partner and simply doesn’t know how to live without her. Kanye knows he’s done wrong and he knows he’s hurt her but he truly loves her deep down inside past all the ignorance. Kanye wants the one thing he can never buy, Kanye West wants to love.
The outro of “Runaway” is honestly something that cannot be put into words. Using a vocoder, Kanye sings the chorus of the song in such a beautiful way that I cannot help but have a tear in my eye. This nonsensical section is perhaps the most powerful part of the whole song as we see Kanye ending the song in an absolutely different way than he started it. This beautiful outro is what makes the song for me and I think Kanye really outdid himself on this track especially in the film. The film features Kanye performing which a multitude of ballet dancers perform until just a few remain for the remainder of the outro. I am thankful that this song exists because it induces many thoughts and feelings for people to ponder as they listen to this piece of art unfold around them. This song is a must listen to as it is so poetic yet beautiful that describing it is nearly impossible to someone who’s never heard it before. “Runaway” is the perfect song and I am thankful that we have this song in the world and I hope you feel the same way after you listen to this masterpiece.