Arts album review

Kanye West’s new album saturated with narcissism

Debilitating the music industry is his greatest skill

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The CD and case of Kanye West’s new album Yeezus.
Def Jam Recordings



Kanye West

June 18, 2013

Def Jam Recordings

I never understood the Kanye West mania — not because I’m some music snob who does not appreciate rap and hip hop, but because I have enough guts to follow my instincts and speak up when over-hyped contemporary music is worthless. I am not a connoisseur of rap music, and I may not be able to recognize all the nuances of hip hop, but when I do listen to these genres, I am certain that I listen to praiseworthy artists. For example, I love OutKast and I think that every bit of their acclaimed success was well deserved. During the summer before my senior year of high school, I spent most of my afternoons listening to The Roots’ How I Got Over on repeat. If you play Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” I will (mostly unsuccessfully) rap along. And, while I am not their greatest fan, I love listening to Q-Tip, Nas, Mos Def and Talib Kweli when I get a craving for some good beats.

But it hurts me to see Kanye West harvesting so many awards, from the BRITs to the Grammys, and being regarded as a visionary. His new album, Yeezus, bolstered by the critics’ lavish praise, is already scraping the skies, but any rational human being should be able to recognize that this album is far from being a masterpiece.

Following the internal voice of his unprecedented ego, West decided to switch up his game on Yeezus by introducing a cacophonous combination of industrial rap, abrasive noise, and an occasional synth beat here and there. What’s really sad about this unsuccessful attempt is that it actually has a lot of potential. I am not saying that it could be as good as, let’s say, Elvis Presley’s or Ella Fitzgerald’s music — because it certainly couldn’t be — but it has at least some material that could be molded into a listenable album. Nonetheless, West skillfully makes all the wrong moves and delivers aggressive, ear-torturing sounds. “I Am A God,” possibly the greatest ego-trip anthem, finishes off with West screaming, just after he proudly awards himself with the title of God. I can already foresee all the fans stating that there is hidden symbolism and some uncanny, timeless meaning behind these verses, but what’s symbolic about “I just talked to Jesus / He said ‘What up Yeezus?’ / I said, ‘Shit, I’m chilling / Trying to stack these millions’”? The heightened metaphor does not stop there; his world-class vehicles of allegorical expression continue to pile up, with the finishing verses saying “I know he the most high / But I am a close high / Mi casa es su casa / That’s that cosa nostra.” This must be some progressive poetry.

I really wonder how long it took him to produce this album, because all of the tracks sound as if they were purposely produced in the quickest, laziest, and most irritating way. The opening track “On Sight” sounds as if someone chopped off the sounds from a primitive videogame and mashed them together before spicing up the entire gumbo with another set of highly philosophical lyrics: “But I got her back in and put my dick in her mouth.”

Now, don’t get me wrong; this is not a rant about the music industry and how it deteriorates with each day due to the lack of talented artists, because I think there are some high-quality popular singers who are trying hard to stabilize their status and treat the world with enriching music. The ironic tragedy is that all of these talented young people will never receive the deserved attention as long as West and his ilk keep dominating the charts and receiving universal acclaim, for reasons completely alien to me.

So, if Yeezus is a sign of the music industry reaching open-mindedness and moving forward, then the world would be better off restricting itself to a more conservative taste in music.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Wow, feel free to never review anything again

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Ahh, another poor soul that made the mistake of actually listening to Kanye's lyrics. Yeah, you can't expect anything less than self-aggrandizing bullshit when it comes to anything he does.

Gray almost 11 years ago

Well, this will be the first and last time I got to for a music review.

The highlight for me is "and an occasional synth beat here and there".

Stick to the safe music bud, you'll be a lot happier, and your peers will respect you more!

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Kanye can make some great songs. Some which even I will party and rap along too. But it us a mistake to say that he is inspirational in way. He may have some original beats, but his lyrics are cheap and lazy. Many artists today are praised for talent that I just can't see while other artists (such as Shadrack Kabango) have clever, meaningful lyrics along with a great beat that they produce themselves, still go unnoticed. This review is dead on accurate.

Sam Stern almost 11 years ago

Hahahahahahahahahahaha obviously it's gonna be filled with narcissism! The name of the goddamn album is Yeezus! He's comparing himself to Jesus... An simple, obvious and clear cocky and confident statement that made hip-hop cool. That's half of what rap music is about. This album is fire, it's sick as fuck, I've never heard beats like this shit. I might only be a teenager and too immature to realize what you're saying, but you're an ignorant man, bro. Stick to critiquing poetry!

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Yeah, so if you're doing a review you should try and attempt to hit it without a bias. Before you even got into who you were to be speaking about you already had a large negative overtone to your writing. This made me not want to read any more and I agree with comment #3, stick to safe music. You clearly know nothing of top 40 genres and although I am a long time Ye fan but not entirely satisfied with this album, there are some amazing qualities to it. "The occasional synth beat here and there". Would you like to do some research (that you should have picked up at MIT) and stated that the synth programming was done by famous producers such as DAFT PUNK? Oh that slipped you by? Now I don't claim that Kanye is a lyrical genius. He doesn't claim that either, he doesn't have to. He already proved he was a lyricist on his material that came out before 2005. This album is about having fun and partying. But taking some of his words and suggesting it's some "progressive poetry" is less than distasteful. I will never read a review from this website again. In the words of Mr. West, "Thank you very little".

MannyC almost 11 years ago

A "famous producer" is named Daft Punk? and you call West "Mr."? There are more fools than I thought there were with all the above defenders of that embarrassment to Black people specifically and humanity in general. Sounds like you all deserve each other. No wonder the Asians are kicking your asses all around. At this rate soon you will be parking their cars but hey, when you get home you can listen to your hero and give him more of your money.

Tangeray almost 11 years ago

Wow, Kanye's Yeezus sucks, and I'm a long time fan.(at least when he was raping relaviant)

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