GOOD Music
Cruel Summer


3.5
great

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
September 22nd, 2012 | 149 replies | 14,484 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The closest a sampler's ever come to satisfying.

It’s the hip thing to dig Kanye West these days, isn’t it? Ever since our favorite controversial rapper/producer defied expectations with his bombshell My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezy’s been everywhere in the music scene, from pop radio stations to obscure music blogs across the nation. We’re all interested in the man that broke down his shitstorm of a life into an unforgettable metamorphosis, playing back both his celebrated and lambasted moments from one track to the next. So when Watch the Throne dropped in all its gold-plated glory, we were hard-pressed to find the humility alongside the vanity, the delicate balance that was treaded so flawlessly on Dark Fantasy. There were great tracks contained in the collaboration with fellow artist Jay-Z, but the album suffered from a sense of overwhelming egotism, the elegant catharsis of Kanye’s latest solo work upgraded into a cocktail far too powerful to swallow. Regardless, though, we were still eager to hear what came next, because Kanye’s perceived by many to have the “magic touch”.

This, of course, led to us being confused with Cruel Summer. A quick iTunes search indicates that West is the “presenter” of the final product, yet it ultimately has less to do with him than we thought. Kanye’s role in Cruel Summer is that of an organizer; the album’s a sampler of his label’s crewmates. This is a) why the album’s by “G.O.O.D Music”, and b) why it’s inaccurate to compare this release to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, or to any of West’s major recent works for that matter.

Cruel Summer exists as merely a beginning template, a sampler for what we can expect from G.O.O.D Music in the future, and the album accomplishes this remarkably well. Kanye’s appearances are only a fragment of the fun here: “New God Flow” illustrates Pusha T’s rising success, and Big Sean actually lives up to the expectations set by “Clique”’s stellar beat. Cruel Summer is more consistent than expected in this regard, too; the first six tracks are all highlights, and the rest of the album bolsters quite a few tasteful songs. “The Morning” features lively production by Best Kept Secret, as well as vocal contributions from Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi, and D'banj. Exactly - there are a lot of artists at play here - and this can work both for and against the album’s overall power.

There exist even more collaborations in “Sin City,” but they're for naught; instead of existing as the ominous machine it desires to be the track is laughably transparent, and the song’s middle section doesn’t help matters. “You are all unwelcome to Sin City! Here the population still increases its density! And that increases its intensity!” Oh, please. There’s some beautiful vocoder work at play in the background that recalls “Lost in the World,” but it’s buried underneath layers of cheesy fabricated fright. It's a given that the lyrics here are more hit-or-miss than expected, but at least the witty moments are unforgettable. Kanye inserts himself in the recent American political landscape with his unsurprisingly controversial contribution in “To The World,” where he declares matter-of-factly that, indeed, Mitt Romney “pays no tax.” Good to know, Yeezy. Elsewhere, he cleverly tosses his hat to his VMA-littered past; “Spike Lee gon’ kill me but lemme finish.”

At least we have moments like these to remind us that West is at the top of his game, and maybe with enough coercion he can kindle a bit more promise in these cohorts he’s acquired over the last few years. For instance, Chief Keef ruins “I Don’t Like” with a clear lack of experience and could certainly use some instruction, established as the evident weakest link. At the worst, though, Cruel Summer is a necessary experiment to gauge exactly what G.O.O.D Music’s capable of as a whole, and at its best it offers quite a few strong tracks with impeccable production and successful lyricism. This album wasn’t going to be a home run, but still is an enjoyable voyage for those of us with personal interest in G.O.O.D Music. The label will only grow more comfortable, the co-conspirators will only grow more confident and capable, and we will only grow more satisfied as time passes.



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3.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



9993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The album's streaming here: http://prettymuchamazing.com/news/listen-kanye-west-presents-good-music-cruel-summer

Recommended Tracks: Clique, To The World, Mercy, Creepers, New God Flow.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Rev
September 22nd 2012



9379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yay

Shuyin
September 22nd 2012



11168 Comments


ah, i need to make a band called awesome music

good review, have a pos

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

tarkus
September 22nd 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dont like

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

really good review, i still dont like this though

Dunpeal
September 22nd 2012



3594 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

acronym for his label. not a band


and yeah not as good as an Omari solo project, obvi

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



9993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys! I want to sell this album to at least a few people. I know some will ignore this album, just because the collective rating isn't 4+.

And Aids, my review wasn't convincing enough? I'll have to try harder next time. =]

Recspecs
September 22nd 2012



9820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A SNITCH NIGGAA THATS THAT SHIT I DONT LIKE !!

Digging: Borgore - #NewGoreOrder

Recspecs
September 22nd 2012



9820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And great review dude pos'd, I can't wait to review Chief Keef's full LP.

SGGreenman
September 22nd 2012



814 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I still have to check this out. Don't really expect much. Good review though.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



14986 Comments


started listening to the first song and it wasnt good so i stopped

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



9993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks dudes! Luke, if you give Chief Keef any more publicity I may have to come to your area to have a talk with you.

And Robertsona, I like the first song a lot - if you didn't enjoy it, though, you should steer clear.

Spec
September 22nd 2012



27053 Comments


Kanye West sucks.

bloc
September 22nd 2012



34669 Comments


Listened to a bit of this on Youtube. Sounded like crap really.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



9993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

2012: The Year that Bloc Liked No Music

In theaters soon!

LifeAsAChipmunk
September 22nd 2012



4854 Comments


but bloc party had a new album!

LifeAsAChipmunk
September 22nd 2012



4854 Comments


Kanye West rules. Not sure what this'll end up being.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2012



9993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, and the new Bloc Party kicks ass.

bloc
September 22nd 2012



34669 Comments


Hey hey I liked a lot of albums this year ;)

LifeAsAChipmunk
September 22nd 2012



4854 Comments


blocs don't lie, omaha



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