Thursday, 1 August 2013

REVIEW: Kanye West - 'Yeezus'

So I’ve been promising for the last fortnight a review of Kanye West’s latest album ‘Yeezus’. Some of you may be wondering why. In some ways, even I’m wondering why...

Over the years I have learned many things about music, and now I am at the point where I operate on standards, not restrictions to specific genres. The amount of new music I hear massively outweighs the music I am able to find time to write about, so usually I will only write about the very best releases. But sometimes when other sections of the music press declare a certain album to be brilliant, it feels like my job to investigate the truth. If a lot of the media give a record 10 out of 10 then chances are a lot of people are going to be convinced by such hype. If that record sells by the truckload but turns out to be poor quality, this equates to scores of music buyers being fooled and misled by untrustworthy critics. In cases like those, I’m here to help if necessary by balancing things out with truthful and more accurate accounts of the albums in question. In the past I haven’t even bothered to give much of Kanye West’s output a chance. What I needed to hear was a track strong enough to capture my attention and make me want to investigate more. A short while back he unleashed the ace ‘Black Skinhead’, which impressed me a great deal more than he ever has done. Maybe, just maybe this man COULD be a genius. Perhaps this new album of his will see him revolutionise hip hop and prove all the doubters wrong…

Such hopes are extinguished by the reality. Here is a man with a ridiculously oversized ego so big that any album he makes will always struggle to live up to his claims of brilliance. A man who once protested that security staff not allowing him to roam freely at an awards ceremony was “blasphemous to music”. A man who probably isn’t reading this review because he’s most likely sat in one of his big houses repeatedly listening to his own music and convincing himself that he’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to civilisation. Although he isn’t likely to be reading this, he certainly should. It’s time for Kanye West to face the truth, and it’s a truth that he’s not going to like…

After listening to this album in full, it felt like ‘Black Skinhead’ was some sort of a bluff: deceptive bait full of promises the rest of ‘Yeezus’ can’t keep. But he gets credit where credit is due. It towers above the rest of the album, a clear highlight set to a stomping glam beat, its furious energy blowing away any trace of complacency and its power flattening everything in its path. But it’s actually quite dangerous to give birth to such an awesome thing when the rest of your album sucks as badly as songs like ‘New Slaves’ and ‘I Am A God’ do. He seems to have absolutely nothing to say at all, and spends most of the record bragging about himself. At times his completely self-absorbed nature enables him to experiment a bit: maybe he thinks that the masses will buy his album no matter what it sounds like, and therefore feels that he can do anything and break any boundaries. But most of the time he doesn’t bother: he thinks that the masses will buy his album no matter what it sounds like, and therefore doesn’t have to try very hard. Which results in lazy, stereotypical nonsense like ‘Hold My Liquor’, and unimaginative auto-tuned garbage like ‘Guilt Trip’. The utterly shallow 'Blood On The Leaves' attempts significance by uncomfortably reprising and disrespectfully trying to retread the same ground as civil rights anthem ‘Strange Fruit’. It doesn’t work. Mainly because it seems to be a lot more concerned about wealth and material possessions than civil rights and freedom.


West considers himself to be a “fucking genius”. A genius would be able to come up with something better than “I can't handle no liquor but these bitches can't handle me, I can't control my niggas and my niggas they can't control me." A genius wouldn’t consider cliché-ridden shite such as ‘New Slaves’ to be fit for human consumption let alone “the fucking end-all, be-all of music”. A genius wouldn’t write utter dogshit like the vulgar, misogynistic and unpleasant ‘I'm In It’ and then have the nerve to try and pass himself off as “the nucleus of culture”. It’s simply not good enough. The fact that the man makes such wild claims of superiority just makes the piss-poor quality of this album all the more annoying. Throughout the course of 'Yeezus', West comes across as a deluded, self obsessed moron. ‘I Am A God’? Oh please. “Hurry up with my damn massage, hurry up with my damn ménage, get the Porsche out the damn garage… In a French ass restaurant hurry up with my damn croissants.” What a wally. 1.5 out of  5


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