I didn't even really know that Kanye West was working on a new album, entitied "Yeezus", or that people still cared about him. I knew I really didn't. I spun Graduation a LOT in college driving my favorite car that I've ever owned with two new subs in the back, but other than that I've been little more than a casual fan.
Whilecruising The Verge I read an article about all the precautions Kanye and his team take to protect their releases and to (hopefully stop leaks.) This included no transfer of the media via the internet, only by password protected external drives which also feature a fingerprint scanner.
This was all really interesting to me, so I decided to check the album out. First couple of tracks went right through me. The beats are really interesting but seem like they are trying to be EDM but stuck in some sort of fucked up limbo. Now, this didn't really do anything for me the first time but I imagine with repeat listens I'll understand it a bit better. Out of the first two tracks, "Black Skinhead" had me listening to it twice in a row. It's a little less spastic than the first track (On Sight) and has a nice flow to it, with a massive bassline that I am always a huge sucker for.
The third track, entitled "I am a God", well, first off it has a ridiculous title. If you can't get past his attitude, I wouldn't recommend listening to this album because throughout these 10 tracks that's all you will hear, lyrically speaking. This dude loves himself so hard, it's unreal. If you're bored with my words and just want a quick synopsis of the album from here on out, my answer is "Damn." This is some of the most unique music that it really doesn't fall into any genre that I can think of. "I Am God" is a key turning point in the album's quality and uniqueness. The album turns into something loud yet minimalistic, a mix of something tribal and electronic that just works so well. Throughout this track, I felt like I was watching a horror flick that I can actually buy into, and enjoy the experience. Rarely does an album spark an emotional response from me in my "old" age, but this did it.
"New Slaves" is a nice change of pace. It somehow, felt more "upbeat" than the previous track and was also much easier to listen to. "Hold My Liquor" continues this trend but has, to my ears, a very odd and out of place guitar solo that really turned me off. I'm immediately thrown back in with the deep, simplistic beat of "I'm In It" with dispersed moaning of some random females. I was close to deciding that this track let me down, but just as I started to write that down it kicks a bit harder than I expected and was fun to listen to.
"Blood On The Leaves" has a much lighter sound to it, and it is a well-timed interlude to the dark sound of the first half of the album. ...Or, so I thought. Again, we're assaulted with deep bass and what I would describe as a "marching band" type beat, with some brass and a snare being highlighted during these measures. "Guilt Trip" is sure to end up on some college freshmen's "Doin' It" playlist, rightfully so, because it is a sexy song; a nice slow beat. "Send It Up" has something that sounds like a siren, being manipulated to provide the melody and yet another low-end attack. This album's music would be lost without a subwoofer, I imagine.
The credits are rolling, and the last track (entitled "Bound 2") both begins and ends cheery and beautifully. It has arguably the lightest mood on the whole album but is also it's most complicated. Another sudden change, some low end synth that would normally sound menacing but it's not quite there. The song doesn't give you enough time to process this, however, due to the fact that we cut only seconds later back to the happy-go-lucky beat that started the song. This repeats itself under new rhymes from "Yeezus" himself, and ends just as quickly as before, but this time to silence.
The album is only around 40 minutes long. I definitely left wanting more but love what we were given by our God, Kanye, as he would like to be referred to, which we hear throughout his rhymes on this album. If that turns you off, you should at least try to give the record one full spin because where it really shines is the production of each track. I truly think this will be one of the most unique albums I will hear for a long time.
I'm only left wondering if he can do it again. Personally, I doubt it, only because this album is almost perfection. Of what, I have no idea. All I know is that it sounds awesome listening through my Nexus 7 with it's obsessively tweaked EQ settings in PowerAmp. I highly recommend whether you are a fan of Kanye or not, to give this album at least one spin.
2. Black Skinhead
3. I Am a God
4. New Slaves
5. Hold My Liquor (Feat. Chief Keef & Justin Vernon)
6. I'm in It
7. Blood On the Leaves
8. Guilt Trip (Feat. Kid Cudi)
9. Send It Up (Feat. King L)
photo credits: 1