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The Best Songs of 2013 (So Far)

16. Kanye West f/ Charlie Wilson "Bound 2"

Album: Yeezus
Producer: No I.D.
Label: Def Jam

Kanye West built anticipation for Yeezus by slowly allowing information about it to seep out, forcing fans to rely heavily on his website for facts. At the end of May, a slight alteration was made to the site—if you rolled your mouse over the album cover, you were treated to a snippet of a song driven by a triumphant soul sample. It proved very effective, leaving at least one fan very, very eager hear the full version. That song was "Bound 2."

Kanye took listeners on a bizarre, twisted ride with Yeezus, making them wait nine songs full of harsh, discordant music and ugly, painful lyrics before getting to back to a track that sounds more like his "classic" early material than anything else on the album. Anyone searching for the "old Kanye"—the cocky, happy-go-lucky wiseacre—could find traces of him in lines like "They ordered champagne but still look thirsty/Rock Forever 21 but just turned thirty."

Still, "Bound 2" has its share of misogyny and possessiveness, and there's plenty of malice in the humor. These are the jaded thoughts of a superstar, one who's overexposure to everything has left him unable to feel anything. Then, suddenly, Charlie Wilson appears out of nowhere, like he rode a lightning bolt from heaven down to earth, belting out notes with the powerful voice of Zeus himself. It's a brilliant way to end the album, and "Bound 2" stands as a love song—a dark, twisted fantasy of a love song, perhaps, but one that's beautiful in its own way. —Julian Kimble

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