Saturday, October 13, 2012

Album Review: Kanye West - "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

Yeah. I'm reviewing Kanye West. The internet made me do it.

I'm not going to introduce Kanye West, because honestly, whether or not you've heard his music, it's almost a fact that you've heard of him somewhere, somehow. Maybe it was from South Park, maybe it was from his outburst at the 2009 VMAs. Either way, you've heard of the guy. I've never been a fan of the man; he's been way too much of a dick for me to care about his music. However, after finding what I thought to be a very inspirational YouTube video, I decided to give him a listen. Because hey, #YOLO, right guise?

I'll come right out of the gates, guns blazing with this one: I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I thought it was a pretty solid rap/ hip-hop album. Now, I can never remember where I've heard this, but it's just ingrained in my mind that everybody just loves this album. I'm convinced that every music critic and reviewer seems to think that if you don't love Fantasy with all your heart, you're a soulless, distasteful, and shameful excuse for a person. Well, I can't say that I love Fantasy, but I did enjoy a fair few songs on it. The entire album runs for almost 70 minutes (excluding the bonus track), which is a hella-fuckin'-long album in my books. The running time is so long mostly because a lot of the songs run on for 7 to 9 minutes. I'm generally a fan of longer songs, but they really need to be done well to keep my attention for their whole running time.

Funnily enough, the longest song on the album, "Runaway" is one of my favorites. It clocks in at just over 9 minutes, but when the 6 minute mark hits, things get funky with some heavy strings and what sounds like someone's voice through a talkbox, distortion, and a sub octave. This is going to be a ridiculous comparison, but the ending of "Runaway" reminds me of the ending of "Straws Pulled at Random" by Meshuggah. Musically they couldn't be any more different, but it's just that sudden change of sonic direction that seems to grip me so furiously. Maybe I'm just a big wierdo. Who knows.

The beats, rhythms, backing tracks on Fantasy are probably my favorite part of the album, especially on the first half. "Power" has the badass-as-fuck chanting, tribal drums, and soloing guitars and piano pushing everything forward. The only thing I still don't like about this song are the samples from King Crimson's classic song "21st Century Schizoid Man". The samples fit the music, but I'm just not a fan of artists ripping bits and pieces from my favorite songs for their own music. Kudos to Kanye for knowing who King Crimson are, though.

The instrumentation on the rest of the album is lush and thick. Strings feature heavily all over the place, almost always accompanied by piano. Sounds from trumpets and other horns also come up sometimes, most memorably on "All of the Lights". Things swing from empowering and inspirational down to heavy and angry and back up again. The album seems to shoot all over the place emotionally, which kind of makes Fantasy seem a little incoherent. Luckily for Kanye, like, a bajillion people feature on this album, from Raekwon to Jay-Z to Bon Iver, and the featured artists fit perfectly with whatever tone he's trying to set with each track.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Power, All the Lights, Runaway

On a Playlist With: Childish Gambino, Jay-Z, Death Grips

Overall Score


Like I said, I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but I didn't find it the mind-blowing second coming of Jesus that some people seem to think it is. It's a solid rap album with wicked production, but too much of it is "just a another rap album" to me. That being said, the parts I like, I like a lot. Kanye might be a douche, but he's a pretty good musician.

That's all for now, folks! I'm going to go eat some fishsticks.


1 comment:

  1. I'm a motha-fuckin WORDSMITH voice of a GENERATION y'all!!! LOL :)