Kanye West
Yeezus


2.5
average

Review

by William Lim USER (20 Reviews)
June 18th, 2013 | 100 replies | 5,871 views


Release Date: 06/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Inconsistent.

20 of 23 thought this review was well written

It's an interesting thing to see Kanye West do something so counterintuitive to what he evidenced on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: the songs on his 2010 effort had a sense of motion. It was a poppy album, sure, but it was less predictable or formulaic as much as it was instinctive. It knew where to put hooks, where to drift in and out of the framework, and most importantly where it needed to go emotionally at any given time, whether it was to depress its musical density or expand into booming choruses or hype verses or whatever. I'm not saying that Kanye doesn't know where to take a song, which is exactly the problem with Yeezus: it doesn't go where Kanye seems to know it's supposed to go.

Take "I'm in It" for instance. The combination of Assassin and Justin Vernon--a powerful, visceral, beautiful contrast--peaks halfway through the song and comes right back down to where the song started: nowhere. It's like half the song is the outro. "New Slaves" is the same: it builds itself up, knocks down the whole structure like a game of Jenga with that awful "dick than a swallower" hook, and then realises it was doing the right thing beforehand and rushes into back into its monumental second verse, trying to pretend like nothing had happened even though the momentum has already been pulled from under its feet. Like I said, it seems kind of counterintuitive that Kanye keeps f**king up crucial points on the album even though he's on point at many individual moments, but at least half the songs on Yeezus feel rushed, carelessly constructed, and rampant with honest-to-God mistakes. It's ridiculous that the worst thing about this album is that there are mistakes on it; they're like mistakes in Yeezy's maths working, like he screwed up one line of his equation and it sends the answer into the s**tter even though the rest of his method is technically correct. Unlike school, marks are not given for working. What the song does as a whole is important, and if it hasn't arrived at a satisfying conclusion, it may as well have not done anything at all.

Having said that, several of the songs on Yeezus do come to a satisfying conclusion: "On Sight", "Black Skinhead", "Hold My Liquor" and "Bound 2" work. It's because they feel fully realised: rather than simply recycling earlier sonic motifs in an effort to keep things "minimal", they build off them subtly. "Black Skinhead" is the perfect example: it does basically the exact same thing twice--intro, verse, chorus, intro, verse, chorus--and with basically the exact same instrumentation. However, can you really say that the second verse of the song is at all the same as the first verse? Instrumentally, yes, but aesthetically and emotionally, it's completely different. It's herein that Kanye taps the true meaning of minimalism: however much you may use the same musical idea again and again and again in a song, it's never "the same" for the entire piece. He takes this to heart for a good half of the album, and it clicks.

Too bad the other half of the album is dogcrap. Altogether, once "Bound 2" has left you behind, looking back on Yeezus is like that moment in Kung Fu Panda when Po collapses on the stairs in exhaustion, only to realise he's barely walked up them at all. For its forty minute length, more than enough time to fill with great moments, Yeezus has travelled almost nowhere. It's ten songs that don't really stick together as an album because the album's flow is interrupted so very often with hiccups that ruin otherwise solid songs. And individually, even the worst songs aren't too bad, but Yeezus as an album trips over too many times and tries to get back up and make it to the finish line. It gets there eventually, but the gratitude of the listener has left long ago.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
dimsim3478
June 18th 2013



4735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

EDIT: This review was rewritten on the 26th of July, 2014, and all comments prior to that date regard the previous version of the review, which was written very differently although the principles were the same.

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KILL
June 18th 2013



70586 Comments


rock on

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

1MicLight
June 18th 2013



80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Even though I disagree with you, I like your review. Pos'd.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a massive step down from Twisted Fantasy. It's just disappointing. The tracks with autotune are unbearable. Solid review.

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Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
June 18th 2013



1588 Comments


For me the tracks don't fall flat due to the auto-tune but due to other factors. At least the auto-tune isn't overbearing like it was during 808s etc. which haven't really aged well.

lou1000
June 18th 2013



909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually didn't mind 808s, yes it wasn't rap but as an r&b album it was good imo.

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Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
June 18th 2013



1588 Comments


As for review, disagree on some points such as Kanye's rapping being at its weakest on this album.
Overall though good write up on the album.

Curious as to what EDM influences you saw and where?

dimsim3478
June 18th 2013



4735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Curious as to what EDM influences you saw and where?

Yeah, I think I meant to write "electronic" there. I'll edit that out.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

His rapping is mostly good on this. I also dig the first couple of tracks that show some industrial influence. The album gets tedious for me in the second half. The autotune is not used nearly as effectively as on his previous LP.

FourthReich
June 18th 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

your best review since the shape of punk to come, great work dim. it's all good sput this guy doesn't deserve to be a contrib or anything

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tommygun
June 18th 2013



23572 Comments


very good review pos

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

dimsim3478
June 18th 2013



4735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks Reich but I'm pretty sure you gotta write pretty regularly to be contrib.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
June 18th 2013



1588 Comments


Kanye is at his best rapping when he respects his limitations as a rapper.

FourthReich
June 18th 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

yeah but the quality of your writing is better than that of many of the contribs on here

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013



21575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

His rapping is mostly good on this. I also dig the first couple of tracks that show some industrial influence. The album gets tedious for me in the second half. The autotune is not used nearly as effectively as on his previous LP.

basically this although I don't like the first track that much either and there are bits here and there which are kinda cool

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Sleaper
June 18th 2013



3320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this review is by far the best on here. Im not just saying it cuz i agree on ur rating. You pretty much sumd up my experiences with it. lots of valid points, Posd

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Buzzkillr
June 18th 2013



1541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so if someone didn't have the same experiences as you when listening to this album, their review is bad?

Funeralopolis
June 18th 2013



11013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how the hell can you not like bound 2

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Sleaper
June 18th 2013



3320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

no, if someone has a different opinion than me with an album and reviews it, obviously i wont totally
understand his points. This makes perfect sense to me.
ive posd a few other yeezy reviews that have the opposite view as me, but they were well written. Dims
just nailed this one.

bound 2 is the reason i slightly enjoy this album. Its fucking rad

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013



21575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

bound 2 sucks



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