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and he's very sad about it :'(

Yesterday, it was discovered that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their child North. That’s right. North West. And maybe it’s because they actually decided to name their child a stupid pun a precocious seventh grader might come up with when pressed to come up with a name for a baby with the surname “West,” or maybe it’s because Kimye didn’t go with the infinitely better Easton as they’d hinted at earlier in Kim’s pregnancy, but that’s it. I give up. There have been many things leading up to this moment, but this is the absolute final straw.

I am so fucking done caring about Kanye West.

After reading all the shit that’s flying around Yeezus right now, a record that’s as close to an embodiment of the Shakespeare quote, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as I’ve ever heard, the thought popped into my head: why? Why do we care about Kanye West? Yes, he’s a celebrity, a monstrous cultural figure that’s totally unavoidable. To ignore him is to bury one’s head in the sand, to pretend to live in a world that isn’t real, to choose to be culturally out of touch, yadda yadda. But does that really mean we have to shit ourselves pondering the politics of Kanye West? He certainly wants us to, which is why Yeezus is purposefully drenched in all that EQ-busting, industrial abrasiveness, and we’re taking the bait like donkeys with carrots strapped to our heads. It’s as though everyone everywhere has gotten swept up in the platitude that Kanye West is just so unquestionably important (I’ve even read “nexus of the zeitgeist” and doesn’t that just make you want to barf) that they’ve taken to talking about Yeezus like it’s a vital cultural artifact just because it’s angry and peppered with some racial signifiers and sounds shitty.

So let’s establish why we care about Kanye West in the first place. First and foremost, obviously, is his music. Without that, there’s none of the bullshit that really makes up the mythos of Kanye West. And without doubt, the music has generally been good: hip, forward thinking, oftentimes compelling and all of it sounds fantastic in a car. The second, more prevalent reason we care about Kanye West to the extent that we do is that he comes off like an idiot savant who says and does outrageous things that, at their best, have a ring of truth to them that most of a white-bread celebrity populace is too chickenshit to admit. “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” “Beyoncé had the best video of all time,” all of his greatest/worst PR moments became cultural memes because they were right, while at the same time came from a funny man who people didn’t have to take seriously because the guy thinks he’s Jesus and just named his kid North (Fucking) West. He’s nearly as impossible to love sincerely as he is to ignore, which make him a perfect media star. He’s repulsive, yet we’re compelled; he’s a moron, but is closer to the truth than arguably anyone else with his level of fame, all with a musical catalog that White America can bump comfortably while keeping the guy at a safe, ironic distance. It’s all contradictions baby; we love to hate.

The greatest photo of all time

It’s only fitting, then, that Yeezus is simultaneously terrible and totally Kanye. What we apparently love about Kanye West—his bombastic personality, his forward-thinking music, his ego, his stupidity, his political earnestness and naivety—is all blasted on it with a burning rage. A Kanye West album where the brilliant musical mind and the massive ego work in tandem to go hard sounds awesome, in theory, but, as becomes quickly apparent, Yeezus doesn’t present like most Kanye West albums where the contradictions work towards creating a beautiful mess (see: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with its nearly-cartoonish grandiosity and tendency towards the self-effacing). It actually sounds terrible. The burning rage is expressed mostly in the clipping frequency of the beats, a trend which more often tends to be obnoxious rather than arrestingly bizarre.

But what of it? Perhaps this is in service of a larger point, training our ear for a newer, rawer Kanye? Well, sort of: the Kanye West of Yeezus spits with an intensity that certainly suggests he’s out to make an explicit statement. There are nods towards blackness scattered throughout the album, track titles like “Black Skinhead,” “New Slaves,” “Blood on the Leaves” (“I Am A God” unfortunately having nothing to do with Five Percent Black-American Islam; Kanye’s just saying that), but except for “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves,” the album’s racial politics are nearly all subtextual; Kanye actually says little about race explicitly, and when he appears to, it’s weirdly appropriated. Much has been made about the use of Martin Luther King’s “Free at Last” quote in regards to Kim’s boobies, and the sample of Nina Simone’s striking song about lynching, “Strange Fruit,” at least raises interesting questions about how racial history can be used in a postmodern context and who can use it. Other than that, the sample itself blends into the background of a molly-popping breakup banger and you can make of that what you will. Mostly, Yeezus is par-for-the-course Kanye, his ego endearingly silly (“hurry up with my damn croissants!”), clever one-liners occasionally peppered in, some racially insensitive come-ons that are already getting brushed over by everyone, and some overblown pathos that wouldn’t sound out of place on 808s and Heartbreaks; in other words, Yeezus is nothing new or particularly interesting despite all the dressings of being capital-I important (a phrase Tiny Mix Tapes used that I’ll revisit later).

Yeezus is sonically and politically entirely about contradictions, which is what’s sparked the intense critical debate surrounding it, but also what makes it aggravatingly empty. Its refusal to comment upon its contradictions, whether that’s intentional or, more likely, Kanye not having a definitive grasp of what he’s really going for, makes it needlessly maddening, an album’s worth of “no one knows what it means, but it’s provocative.” Song breaks apropos of nothing pop up and go by, baiting our ears for a statement that never comes. Guest spots sound weirdly inorganic, particularly Great-White-Bro Justin Vernon’s, whose lush voice clashes so harshly with the record’s aggressively “anti” ethos that it comes off as an obvious shoehorn rather than a meaningful juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness. This is the central problem of Yeezus: it’s trickery and bombast without a payoff, “challenging” music whose rewards are entirely predicated on the indulgence the listener is willing to afford Kanye West instead of being embedded in the music itself.

And lordy lord, has he been indulged. Because he has to be, whether or not he deserves it. Here are two quotes from an exhaustive Tiny Mix Tapes piece on Yeezus by Alex Griffin:

“West is not a savior, a spokesperson, or an activist. This album is about and for one person only, yet being indifferent to Kanye is like not voting.”

“What (Kanye) gives us are questions. He’s been ahead of the game since he stepped foot in it, and this is going to be capital-i Important for the next six months at least, so listening to Yeezus is basically like Pascal’s wager: whether he’s right or wrong, incredible or tasteless, it’s a safer bet to pay attention to him. But that’s still a matter of faith.”

For me, this sums up Yeezus: it’s important because it’s Kanye West, which is like saying it’s important just because it is. Not because it demands it, or because it’s necessarily good, but because it’s interesting, which is a way more loaded adjective than “good.” And it has no pretense towards being good. Yeezus sounds as if Kanye dropped any notion of being an entertainer and full-on indulged himself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but through this self-indulgence he comes up with a series of nothings masquerading as somethings. There’s an argument that Kanye makes his personal universal, but this doesn’t apply to Yeezus. This album is Kanye West for Kanye West, the man standing at a microphone with all eyes on him, spouting whatever comes to his head. And like we’ve been trained to do the past ten years, we flock to it ready to find the brilliance in his bravado that reveals something about us, a truth that’s ahead of the curve. But this time, it’s not there; there are only the questions and talking points, blustering, raging rhetoric with nothing underneath it, none of the zeitgeist-nabbing je ne sais quoi that keeps us waiting on baited breath for the words of the prophet Yeezus. So I’m throwing my hands up and saying No, Kanye West. I don’t have to care about you because this time, you have not earned it.

And no discussion of Yeezus is complete without this gif





robin
06.21.13
this is laugh out loud entertaining (in the way it intended)

Trebor.
06.21.13
sweet

Omaha
06.21.13
Well, this was a fantastic read. You summed up my thoughts incredibly well, and you put that GIF to use in such an appropriate manner.

Also, think you left a word out of this quote: "But does that really mean we have to shit ourselves pondering the politics Kanye West?"

DinosaurJones
06.21.13
I love you.

Trebor.
06.21.13
North West? Goddamn I'm just gonna call her Seattle


wacknizzle
06.21.13
Awesome write-up. So true, well thought out, and hilarious. My feelings exactly and why I haven't even cared to even check out Yeezus. North fucking West lmao.

Cygnatti
06.21.13
Damn. This is awesome.

jefflebowski
06.21.13
fucking great piece this

and as much as i quite like yeezus, i'm glad someone else has finally pointed out how shitty it sounds, the clipping is horrific for much of the album

Cygnatti
06.21.13
That last paragraph is especially good. The quotes you had are very interesting. And now that you mention it, this does seem to be for him and only for him. Yet, one could argue some if his older albums are like that as well.

Rev
06.21.13
damn this is fantastic, great job downer. plus it's funny as hell

Acanthus
06.21.13
Didn't realize he was such a big deal until the album leaked, and then it was everywhere.

Nice read, enjoyed seeing someone not give the album/creator high marks.

jefflebowski
06.21.13
also tinymixtapes is an atrocious website

EaglesBecomeVultures
06.21.13
awesome read, man

Ire
06.21.13
omg

WeepingBanana
06.21.13
best staff blog in a while

theacademy
06.21.13
u guys, six is so done with this shit

like u have no idea.

Oceanus
06.21.13
debbie downer


B|

robertsona
06.21.13
this is weird but like...if you were to edit something in this article i would make sure that your reference to strange fruit calls it nina simone's "anti-lynching", not just plain "lynching", song. good read thus far!!!

theacademy
06.21.13
u guys six is FINALLY FREE from kanye west and he feels like a new man

robertsona
06.21.13
i finished it good work

StallionMang
06.21.13
Great article.

robertsona
06.21.13
academy speak your mind

theacademy
06.21.13
na this is just so silly and overdramatic but i think that's how we're supposed to write about music. this is like he started out thinking 'fuck this im not reviewing it' and then he just struts and frets his hour and reviews it hard (maybe even the hardest)

im just here to support my strong sister electic sixer free at last from the tyranny of kanye west and the overbearing influence the rapper has had on his LIFE and the lives of others #blessed #america

Electric City
06.21.13
"Proceeds to write an entire article and post it on the internet."

THE PEOPLE HAVE TO KNOW

greg84
06.21.13
Great write-up Adam. I mostly agree with you. His new album is mediocre at best, and it's mind-boggling it's mostly getting favorable reviews. His previous one was rad though.

Aids
06.21.13
this is awesome and I love how it was largely fueled by that uncrew thread. I'm seeing some sneaky potshots at like ohhhhhhhhhh I dunno Conrad? haha. good article though man, really funny read.

"na this is just so silly and overdramatic but i think that's how we're supposed to write about music."

yup

joshuatree
06.21.13
I was gonna say some things but theacademy got em all

wabbit
06.21.13
Well written puke

amanwithahammer
06.21.13
Yup, as I've been saying, the main problem with Yeezus is that it's the first Kanye album where Kanye isn't a particularly interesting or entertaining figure. Just that arrogant dude everyone's been saying he is for years. And you don't know how much it pains me to admit that.

fish.
06.21.13
this is awesome

tommygun
06.21.13
funny article good read

maybe people are overthinking yeezus though like

it's just 30 mins of tasty jams with a bit of garbage thrown in

why do people even consider/care about cultural impact etc while listening to an album?

tommygun
06.22.13
not necessarily referring to the author of this article but you know, people in general

Aids
06.22.13
because it's interesting and often relevant, especially when talking about Kanye West

I mean I don't like letting public perception sway my opinion, but it's interesting to see what cultural commentary there is going on/what the public reaction is.

tommygun
06.22.13
yeah i get what you mean aidsman maybe i am just more detached from it cos kanye has no impact on anything in my country, never makin headlines etc and i only hear/read about him if i deliberately go to certain parts of the internet so i have a far easier time just jamming his records in a vacuum and taking them for what they are

Cygnatti
06.22.13
tommy is a lucky man.

not that I've anything to complain about. sure, kanye's shit goes on every like 5 commercials in the U.S., but that's pretty much the scope of my exposure to his 'importance'. what's nice for me is that a lot of my classmates also dig his music, and it's rather rare for us to share artists that we both like/enjoy so his presence has never bothered me.

sniper
06.22.13
this is a stupid blog entry downer, very disappointed.

robertsona
06.22.13
why do you think it is stupid?

Butkuiss
06.22.13
Well this was a real downer.

Relinquished
06.22.13
are you proud of that comment

mynameischan
06.22.13
every record is made for the artist

Electric City
06.22.13
its naive to think pop records especially arent made with some consideration of the audience in mind. sure, maybe dark twisted fantasy was a total self-expression of kanye, but it was loaded with single-ready material. yeezus definitely feels as though kanye made it in a vacuum knowing we'd pay attention to it regardless

DaveyBoy
06.22.13
Fantastic write-up Adam.

I do have to wonder if 'Yeezus' will make people re-think their opinion of its predecessor - one way or another.

joshuatree
06.22.13
reading this entire article was a gigantic waste of time and i just want to say that i really like this album of kanye rapping nonsense over fun beats

joshuatree
06.22.13
also quoting a tiny mix tapes review for the purpose of not making fun of it is fucking abhorrent

Electric City
06.22.13
well shit hello cam

robertsona
06.22.13
that cam, always such a goofster :)

joshuatree
06.22.13
hi guys

Winesburgohio
06.22.13
COUNTERPOINT(ish): http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/in-defense-of-kanyes-vanity-the-politics-of-black-self-love

and i know buzzfeed is usually terrible but this well-written i promizz

Storm In A Teacup
06.22.13
ima call her alaska

insomniac15
06.22.13
Sums up all I hate about Kanye. Great write-up!

Voivod
06.22.13
Great read, never been big on hip hop except for those Cypress Hill albums.

RadicalEd
06.22.13
Fantastic article

insomniac15
06.22.13
never been big on hip hop except for those Cypress Hill albums. [2]

Deviant.
06.22.13
"Yesterday, it was discovered that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their child North. That’s right. North West. And maybe it’s because they actually decided to name their child a stupid pun a precocious seventh grader might come up with when pressed to come up with a name for a baby with the surname “West,” or maybe it’s because Kimye didn’t go with the infinitely better Easton as they’d hinted at earlier in Kim’s pregnancy, but that’s it. I give up. There have been many things leading up to this moment, but this is the absolute final straw.

I am so fucking done caring about Kanye West. "

This is fucking pointless

Aids
06.22.13
hey everyone (cam) needs to chill. I like the album but this was a fun read and I like seeing someone who hates the album rant a bit. Good shit.

I mean dislike it but ABHORRENT is a lil much no?

tommygun
06.22.13
dat dunk gif is the best thing about this whole damn page yeah

olivianigma
06.22.13
Great article, A+

clercqie
06.22.13
Nailed it!

Sanders
06.22.13
They should have called their kid Go

Cygnatti
06.22.13
dat dunk gif is the best thing about this whole damn page yeah [2]

at least they cared enough to put it in the recycling bin ^_^

theacademy
06.22.13
why are we even here in these comments. FUCK is this us letting kanye win? again?????. maybe six is just an instrument of the big bad himself, come back to force us into playing into his twisted game.

Electric City
06.22.13
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

sniper
06.22.13
"at least they cared enough to put it in the recycling bin ^_^"

CDs are e-waste though you have to take them to certain recycling centers in most cities.

fish.
06.22.13
BUT YOU OBVIOUSLY CARE IF YOU WROTE THIS BLOG POST LOL

sniper
06.22.13
yeah my problem with this is that the implication is that to like yeezus is to take kanye too seriously, which is clearly what you're doing.

Electric City
06.22.13
i mean i dont have a problem with people liking yeezus (though clearly, I dont). yeah there are songs that I enjoy, namely black skinhead and blood on the leaves and bound 2. my problem is with the massive credit its being given as a big statement of culture that needs to be dissected seemingly simply because its a kanye west album, when the material itself I believe doesn't at all warrant that sort of attention. this is why this is a blog post and not a review: it's responding to the critical dialogue flying around the album rather than evaluating the album itself.

Apollo
06.22.13
Never cared for this guy or his music, never will

mynameischan
06.22.13
lol you might as well ask what the point of ANY music criticism/writing is

i mean you can argue that it's all pointless but that argument would also be pointless. i think the people who feel the need to blow the album out of proportion in writing are in a mindset that's only as ridiculous as yours was when you wrote this.

Electric City
06.22.13
perhaps, but they dragged me there!

fromtheinside
06.22.13
what if kanye west is the anti christ?

fromtheinside
06.22.13
i mean like really IS

fromtheinside
06.22.13
this is seriously a fantastic write up and pretty much the best thing you've ever done.

'He’s nearly as impossible to love sincerely as he is to ignore, which make him a perfect media star. He’s repulsive, yet we’re compelled; he’s a moron, but is closer to the truth than arguably anyone else with his level of fame, all with a musical catalog that White America can bump comfortably while keeping the guy at a safe, ironic distance. It’s all contradictions baby; we love to hate."

wow. spot on

mynameischan
06.22.13
hey from theinside you should review the new ooooo album

theacademy
06.22.13
if it wasn't for the fucking liberal media we'd all be talking about falling in reverse right now instead of kanye whatever already forgot his name hehe

fromtheinside
06.22.13
i will

if you do the new red jumpsuit apparatus.

fair?

fromtheinside
06.22.13
omg, chan is that how you say my name with a pause in there and everything from theinside?

Aids
06.22.13
"hey from theinside you should review the new ooooo album"

Aids likes this

fish.
06.22.13
http://pitchfork.com/advance/144-without-your-love/

go go go

mynameischan
06.22.13
browser inserted the space

cfbassist
06.23.13
i don't get why people hail MBDTF as a great album, and hate on this one, IMO it's the other way around

this album is almost a satire of his ego, and seems rather self aware (that screaming break down in i am a god sums up the meaning of that song for me) whereas MBDTF was just all over the top and you could tell kanye thought he was making something super artsy with it, which takes away from the actual 'honest art'.

i loved his first 3 albums, thought 808's was the most intriguing thing a hip hop artist has done (for better or worse) and think yeezus is a perfect combination of his prior works

i also care 0% about kanye's personal life and wasn't even aware he had a baby

Cygnatti
06.23.13
I love both so it's whatev's man.

ShrillYell
06.24.13
The haters are more vocal than the lovers it seems...nobody needs to know how much I like the record. Good writing, nonetheless.

wabbit
06.24.13
lots of people can't hold their liquor

Electric City
06.24.13
"The haters are more vocal than the lovers it seems"

hardly! id even say the opposite but at the very least we're all yelling at each other and aint that just the beauty of human existence

BallsToTheWall
06.24.13
to bury one’s head in the sand, to pretend to live in a world that isn’t real, to choose to be culturally out of touch (2)

RosaParks
06.24.13
lol this is hilarious

Iluvatar
06.24.13
my favorite part of this is the underlying irony that even though you don't care about Kanye you still care about not caring about Kanye

RosaParks
06.24.13
i don't think this is serious though

wabbit
06.24.13
"hardly! id even say the opposite but at the very least we're all yelling at each other and aint that just the beauty of human existence"


kinda


it'd be boring without it


Like without Robertsona existing I'd probs feel 5% less superior cause he's so silly

Adabelle
06.24.13
Wicked

wabbit
06.24.13
andcas you're so fucking dum

ethixx
06.24.13
bingo

Cygnatti
06.24.13
"funny thing is, if kanye west wasn't such a polarizing character, aka. king of all douchebags, I highly doubt people would make even the slightest fuss about his music as if it's some work of brilliance."

you're wrong there.

wabbit
06.24.13
yes, very

robertsona
06.24.13
O_O

scissorlocked
06.24.13
great article

Gyromania
06.24.13
"my favorite part of this is the underlying irony that even though you don't care about Kanye you still care about not caring about Kanye"

john hanson - winning

Electric City
06.24.13
gyro can you tell lara "you should link to your website on the front page of your facebook so that its more easily accessible"? she'll know what it means

Aids
06.24.13
"hardly! id even say the opposite but at the very least we're all yelling at each other and aint that just the beauty of human existence"

the haters are definitely more vocal, you just spend too much time talking to lewis and conrad and not enough time interacting with your real life friends, 90% of whom probably think it's utter shit. Maybe our social circles are different in that respect but, yeah, most of the people I hang out with think it's such a piece of shit. I have two friends who like it.

cagedescending
06.24.13
illuminating thread

i like kanye and this album but this is certainly well-written at least

Electric City
06.25.13
"Maybe our social circles are different in that respect but, yeah, most of the people I hang out with think it's such a piece of shit. I have two friends who like it."

my irl friends are all sort of into it but cant decide why they dont love it AND THATS WHERE I COME IN

Aids
06.25.13
don't do that Adam

don't turn into Hanson

Electric City
06.25.13
oh my god im so sorry adrian i shall diminish and go into the west

Gyromania
06.25.13
catty remarks aside, this is actually a pretty great writeup.

oh and i really dgaf about that little spat you with you and lara. she misinterpreted your tone or w/e and overreacted

wabbit
06.25.13
ADAM DOWNER JUST MADE A CLEVER JOKE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

wabbit
06.25.13
'cept if sputnik was LOTR downer would be Ungoliant



I would be both Feanor and Fingolfin

wabbit
06.25.13
and Ringil glittered like ice

Electric City
06.25.13
quoting lord of the rings is miles' definition of clever i finally understand him perfectly

wabbit
06.25.13
oh


I think I read too deep into your comment


and thought you were more clever than you are #lewisreviews

wabbit
06.25.13
cuz hanson's username'n shit

Electric City
06.25.13
oh

no youre right im brilliant wow i surprise even myself

theacademy
06.25.13
TIL Korn and Skrillex collaborated once and change the world

wabbit
06.25.13
^you would be tom bombadil

Irving
06.28.13
I do not believe I can ever reach this level of thoughtful, nexus-of-the-zeitgeist writing.

wabbit
06.28.13
You would probably be Faramir but book Faramir not movie Faramir.

Iluvatar
06.28.13
i would like to point out i inspired the best in everyone in this thread

wabbit
06.28.13
u sure can SING A SONG!




clander270
06.30.13
I've already done a pretty good job of ignoring Kanye, it's not hard to do. All you have to do is not be friends with any of his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.

Havey
06.30.13
...

Cygnatti
06.30.13
you must be so proud of yourself, huh?

Havey
06.30.13
his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.his fucking retarded, musically oblivious fans.

HolidayKirk
06.30.13
Writing off Kanye completely puts you on the wrong side of history, which is going to suck in a few years. I dont like Yeezus either but declaring his fans "musically oblivious" is really stupid.

ncguitar
07.08.13
There might be more interpretations of Yeezus than of all western philosophers' works added up.

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