The first collaboration between rapper Kanye West and music legend Sir Paul McCartney is the touchingly simple Only One. Built around a simple keyboard backing Kanye pays tribute to his mother and his daughter.
Recorded in a Los Angeles bungalow early in 2014, the single finds Kanye channelling the spirit of his late mother, Dr Donda West, to pass on a message of hope and love to his daughter.
While the range of the melody is pretty small, the conscious use of autotune on Kanye’s vocal is a deliberate effort to provide a juxtaposition between the retro sounding keyboard and the modern sounding vocal. Would it have sounded better without the autotune? Maybe…that is, after all, quite a subjective question. But I understand the decision to use that particular tool.
As for Macca, he stays relatively in the shadows, providing the musical accompaniment with only a sparse amount of harmonising. However music and melody-wise his fingerprints are all over the single, sounding very much like a ‘Paul song’.
While Only One has caused a bit of a spat between some of Kanye and McCartney’s fans, the track still remains an upliftingly simple and promising first collaboration between the pair.