In the song “Ghost Town” in the album titled Ye by Kanye West, there is concrete evidence of poetic elements that add to the song’s message and impact on the listener. The main idea that the song revolves around is letting go, and getting away from the pain that life brings. The song shifts from the hopes in the future to wanting to get out of the pain of life and leave it behind. A feeling of numbness is present here, and it is clear the speaker is dealing with some issues that he wants to get out of.
One main poetic element that Kanye uses in “Ghost Town” is the repetition of the lyrics “some day,” especially near the beginning of the poem. This repetition adds to the song by emphasizing the way the speaker is looking towards the future with hope, and feels that the future holds an escape from the hardships of the present.
Another poetic element that Kanye incorporates in this song is the line “I put my hand on the stove, to see if I still bleed.” This line serves as a metaphor for the speaker simply feeling pain just to feel something. While the speaker did not actually put his hand on a stove, this line represents doing something just to feel vulnerable or hurt. This could be in reference to drug use or to intentionally making poor choices and accepting the punishment.
Furthermore, the line “Some day I wanna lay down, like God did, on Sunday” utilizes an allusion to religion and to the bible, and the actions of God. This adds to the song by emphasizing the passion for which the speaker believes that the future will be different from today. This reference to God also emphasizes the good intentions that the speaker has in “laying down.”
2 thoughts on “Poetic Techniques in “Ghost Town””
I think you did a really great, thorough analysis of this song! The song itself was a great choice — the juxtaposition of future hope and present helplessness and self-inflicted pain are really fascinating ways to think about a single concept — freedom — in very different ways, and you elaborated on this very effectively, clearly, and succinctly in your analysis.
Looking back at this song after listening to it and reading your analysis, I wonder why the title “Ghost Town” was chosen. Perhaps it was a reflection of the narrator’s desire to exert their freedom and leave their home abandoned behind them as a ghost town, or maybe it’s just a way to represent the apparent loneliness that the narrator may feel in their un-free current reality — or, I think more likely, some combination of the two and possibly other reasons as well
I love this song, one of my favorite Kanye songs. However, I may have to disagree that this is poetry. I think what makes this song so grand is the production and vocals from featured artists. Nevertheless, the line you mention “Some day I wanna lay down, like God did, on Sunday” is one that hits me hard every time I listen to this song. Thank you fro your commentary.