Beautiful melody or cry for help?: An analysis of “Never See Me Again”
By Luke Schultheis, Layout and Sports Editor
DISCLAIMER: This article discusses suicide. For those who need help or someone to talk to, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
An uplifting piano beat, a bridge about clapping hands, and a cover showcasing two children playing in the yard. You’d never know you were listening to a suicide note.
An unreleased Kanye West song surfaced in October 2010, titled, “Never See Me Again.” The track ran for nine minutes and sampled a song by Yukiko Okada, a Japanese musician who killed herself by jumping off a 7-story building. He recorded the song in late 2009.
This was shortly after West’s Video Music Awards (VMA) incident, where he interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech to say Beyoncé had “one of the best videos of all time.” The response was a roaring sea of boos and choice words from other celebrities.
VMA candidate, Kelly Clarkson asked, “What happened to you as a child? Did you not get hugged enough?”
“F— you Kanye,” pop star Katy Perry added. “It’s like you stepped on a kitten.”
West disappeared from the public eye and created this song. The more details that emerge, the eerier the piano loop gets. At the 3:14 mark, the bridge begins. Listeners can hear West alone in the studio, putting his hands together. The lyrics go from “Can you clap your hands?” to “Need you to clap your hands,” and audiences can see this as a possible cry for help.
The VMA incident wasn’t the only event that affected West’s mental health. His mother died just a year and a half prior. He then released his fourth studio album, “808s and Heartbreak,”which touched on his loss. The award-winning rapper has always been vocal regarding his relationship with his mom, releasing multiple songs as tributes to her—most notably, “Hey Mama.”
“Don’t worry ‘bout me, just worry ‘bout you,” West mumbles throughout “Never See Me Again.” He freestyles in autotune for the entire nine minutes.
“It’ll be a long time before you ever see me again,” the song ends.
Knowing this track could have been West’s last makes it one of the darkest music contributions of the 2000’s. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.
“There were times that I contemplated suicide,” the now father of four said. “I won’t give up on life again.”
West released his fifth studio album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”in November 2010, just a month after making that statement. The project involved 12-hour studio sessions at AVEX Studios in Hawaii and featured 13 different artists.
Days after its release, critics widely regarded the album as his magnum opus. “Pitchfork”scored the album a 10/10, calling it, “An LP that feels like an instant greatest hit.” “Metacritic” also reviewed the album positively, rating it 94/100 and quoting it as “his most innovative album to date.”
After a year of backlash and controversy, West had fans back on his side.
For anyone battling the same thoughts, YouTube commenter “Flamingo” said it best: “The whole world hated [West], and he didn’t do it. We all got this.”
After all, there’s a reason West left the track unreleased.
For anyone interested, follow this link to “Never See Me Again:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk1UdaGyoz4