Review Summary: Kanye West does whatever the hell Kanye West wants to do.
One of the more peculiar things about an ironic release is the ability to cater to two audiences simultaneously. Make no mistake, Yeezus
is the absolute epitome of “going off the deep end”, taking everything that made its predecessor, the arguable magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
, and rather than falling into the oft seen trap of attempting to emulate that which made it so successful, it runs in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Kanye entirely strips the self awareness and isolation that made his last release so distinctive, all to fuel his ego's new pinnacle. Whether the artist has finally snapped and come to believe his own larger than life persona, or has merely elevated himself to the point of meta narrative is now somehow irrelevant, your reception rests entirely on your interpretation, and damned if he cares on which side you place yourself.
is more than a controversial label to get his *** talkers *** talking, it is a stance, and one need only look so far as the opener for a portent of things to come. Where “Dark Fantasy
” was a nursery rhyme with soaring vocals, “On Sight
” provides the antithesis: gritty, disjointed synths underlying a front and centre, rasping delivery by West, proudly waxing lyrical about his status and exploits.
“How much do I not give a ***?”
The release then transitions into two highlights in the name of "Black Skinhead
" and "New Slaves
". West directs his messiah complex twoards the external, obnoxiously placing himself as the forerunner against his reception and a population engrossed by advertisement and consumerism respectively, his focus now on the external whilst retaining his trademark myopia. The tone unfailingly continues along its darker path, the former's driving percussion and deep exhalations paving the way for West to make his statement. Even when it's the rest of the world, it's all about him.
"I am a god."
Throughout the record, hedonism and indulgence is embraced rather than repelled, yards of verse dedicated to soulless sexual deviation in the way of “Hold My Liquor
”, “I'm in It
” and “Send it Up
", the words leaving the listener with no doubt Kanye has no moral qualms or regrets for his actions, and the pervading atmosphere making a similarly concrete assertion that West is all too aware of their negative repercussions. The humility, if any, can be found in King Louie being allowed a verse in “Send it Up
”, a concession relative to the remainder of the release. Where Dark Fantasy
could almost be seen as a group project, with Kanye as the orchestrator, Yeezus
refuses anything but the spotlight, centre stage, a podium for the man himself.
”, however, remains a conundrum. Effortlessly catchy, soulful, the track could not be less fitting amongst the egotistical mire of the rest of the album, verses dedicated almost apologetically to a specific love interest, the Heatmakerz assisting with a sound that could have been pulled directly from roots harking back to the decade it's been since The College Dropout
. What message is West trying to convey with such an understated closer? Is it to his fans, reminding them he's the same artist that he always was, or to himself, as a reminder that he's the same person he always was? Whatever your interpretation, only one thing's for certain: Damned if he cares what your interpretation is.
”Jerome's in the house, watch your mouth,
Jerome's in the house, watch your mouth.”