Even the world’s biggest apologists have spent some of the past week wondering what the fuck Kanye West is doing. He seems to be in a very erratic place right now, and his music often reflects it. But give Kanye West this: He will never, ever, in his life, put his name on a song that’s even 1% as wack as “Spoons,” the simpering-ass new single from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Now: Macklemore seems like a fairly conscientious person, one with his heart in the right place. His much-discussed recent song “White Privilege II” was deeply clumsy, more about Macklemore’s own internal waffling than about any real struggles happening in the world right now. But at least it was an honest attempt to come to grips with the world and his place in it. It’s a very, very bad song, but not one entirely without merit.
But “Spoons”? How the fuck can you excuse “Spoons”? If it’s not painfully obvious from the title, this is a song about spooning. It’s an attempt at a Valentine’s Day anthem. It includes this lyric: “My girl’s thick / She got a booty, mayn / And a big ol’ belly, looking like Gucci Mane.” It also includes this lyric: “She said Fifty Shades Of Grey was the best read / I said I’m more of a Giving Tree type of guy — Shel Silverstein.” And this one: “I’m a man, but every now and then in bed / I know when to say, ‘All right, it’s my turn to be the small spoon.'” There’s one thread about Macklemore feeling betrayed when his girlfriend watches Game Of Thrones without him, and another about how his girlfriend feels comfortable shitting with the bathroom door open. Macklemore delivers all this in a sleepy hey-girl mutter. The track includes whistling, pianos, corpo-folk acoustic guitars, and what I’m pretty sure is a human beatbox impersonating a tuba.
This is, in short, the blandest, safest, most self-consciously twee piece of rap music I have ever heard in my 36 years on this planet. It makes “I Need Love” sound like “I’m In It.” I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about how much bullshit we can accept from Kanye West. It’s an open question. But almost always, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, since I know that almost anything he records is going to be the polar opposite of this.