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WTF is going on with Kanye’s new album?

After a year of speculation, Kanye West finally announced the release date for his upcoming album Swish: Feb. 11, 2016. But we’re no less confused.

Has there ever been a more baffling album roll-out? All the songs Kanye’s released since 2013’s Yeezus sound completely different, and he’s confirmed only one of them for the album “Wolves,” which he hasn’t even released in studio form. In the meantime, we’re stuck guessing whether Swish will be a sonic sequel to Yeezus (as evidenced by “Wolves,” “Fade”), a confessional exorcism (“Only One,” “Real Friends”), a relatively conventional collection of bangers (“Facts,” “All Day”) or a grotesque combination of all these things.

He’s dropping new music every Friday until the album release, but it’s unclear if whatever he releases will answer any of our burning questions. Until then, here’s a profile of the songs, their odds of being on the album and the clues they might provide about this mysterious record.


Song: “Wolves/Fade”

Description: Harsh, industrial sound experiments similar to those on Yeezus. He’s only played the latter while DJing at events.

Odds of being on the album: 7 in 8. Kanye has said “Wolves” will be the first track on Swish, which is the most he has said as to album content. “Fade” is too weird to be a stand-alone single.


Song: “Real Friends/No More Parties In LA (Snippet)”

Description: The former is a minimal confessional similar to his 2010 cut “Gorgeous.” The latter features Kendrick Lamar, but that’s all we know.

Odds: 4 in 5. It’s unlikely Kanye would release a “snippet” of something that’s not going to be on his album.


Song: “All Day.”

Description: A fairly conventional banger indebted to drill, a regional hip hop style from Kanye’s native Chicago.

Odds: 3 in 4. It’s received several Grammy nods, and he promoted it with a fiery performance at the Brit Awards. It’s maybe the most visible Swish contender alongside “Only One.”


Song: “Only One”

Description: A tender ballad featuring Kanye singing from the perspective of his mother over weightless keys from Paul McCartney.

Odds: 3 in 5. It was the first single, it has a video and it charted pretty well. Simply put, it’s the post-Yeezus song Kanye’s invested the most in. Still, he hasn’t dropped anything else that sounds like it except “FourFiveSeconds.”


Song: “FourFiveSeconds”

Description: A short, Beatles-indebted collaboration with Rihanna and McCartney.

Odds: 1 in 3. It’s already confirmed to be on Rihanna’s Anti, but it’s not unheard of for pop collaborations such as this to appear on more than one of the artists’ albums; Jack U’s collaboration with Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now,” appeared on both artists’ albums.

Song: “Facts”

Description: A reinterpretation of Drake and Future’s “Jumpman,” replete with timely references.

Odds: 1 in 5. “I ain’t dropped the album but my shoes went platinum,” Kanye spits. This line is going to sound awfully strange once he actually drops Swish.

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Daniel Bromfield

Daniel Bromfield