Track 2: "Lift Off" Featuring Beyoncé
Sounds Like: A percussion and synth-heavy track with aspirations of being a stadium jam, where the actual lyrics are an afterthought.
Pros: Sharp snare drums propel the transition from Beyoncé's chorus to Kanye and Jay's verses. B's words are highly catchy—even if "moon" and "stars" are pretty obvious—blasting on repeat throughout the track. The last minute or so is the most interesting, as the chorus which we've heard over and over gets reworked on some new percussion, but alas, it's just an outro.
Cons: Given it's the second track on the album and boasts a Beyoncé guest appearance, we were expecting this song to really get things started, or at least have the most obvious commercial appeal. It appears to be going for the latter, as the trio attempt to take advantage of the recent trend of aerial-themed, inspirational anthems ("Firework," "Lighters"). But rather than explode into Kanye's rhymes, there's a lengthy intro filled with too many sounds before giving way to Beyonce's (somewhat cheesy) chorus. B's vocals are always welcomed, but at 30 seconds it feels overwrought, just delaying the inevitable awesomeness that never quite materializes. Kanye's verse starts off strong before he begins mumbling his lyrics, while Jay's follow-up is almost nonexistent. The song looks to have most mainstream appeal (Beyoncé certainly never hurts with that) but there isn't enough of a definitive or inventive line to really motivate us to "take it to the stars," without the use of tired solar system references. We were at least expecting 'Ye to squeeze in something about Uranus.
Definitive Self-Aggrandizing Lyric: A tie between 'Ye's "I got the whole city/They about to go off" and Bey's collective bragging in the chorus: "We gonna take it to the moon, take it to the stars/How many people you know can take it this far?" Because, well, we don't have an answer for that question.
Song Winner: We'd say West has it over Jay, but this song is really all Beyoncé. We'll take her constant presence throughout the track as refusal to be just any other guest star.
Previous Reviews: "No Church In The Wild"