I first heard this album as I wandered aimlessly around Stockholm in December 2008, bar to bar and park to park apropos of nothing; I was merely documenting with some shitty camera phone the Venice of the North in winter. I was by no means lonely as I caught up with various travelling characters at the hostel after sundown, but the Kanye West soundtrack that accompanied daylight and early evening certainly had a great effect on me.
I’ve always thought that music elevates the normal up into the cinematic, that there’s an extra reverence thrown in the mix. I had nothing profound to think about but ‘Street Lights’ or ‘Coldest Winter’ synced to me staring at a pigeon eating a discarded Subway butty was rather transcendental. Stockholm was the city for this moody music, and a walk back from Systembolaget to City Backpackers through Sodermalm with a £40-equivalent bottle of manky rum and additional ’08 Auto-Tune was a most brooding adventure.
I know nothing about Kanye West but this soul-searchingly depressing album – at times it’s like a self-pitying drunk crying about how his/her life went down the pan – is a cracker. I like the miserable and Kanye West is the one for me.