Kanye West
Yeezus


5.0
classic

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
June 20th, 2013 | 148 replies | 6,657 views


Release Date: 06/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kanye's downward spiral

Looking back now that the dust has settled a bit, Kanye West's interview with The New York Times set the stage perfectly for Yeezus. The interview was a case of 'Ye's massive ego run rampant, a piece of work which inevitably caused both fans and detractors of the producer and rapper to shake their heads in disbelief (or lack thereof) and pity. West's focus on self and lack of perspective angered many, and the popularity of the interview and analysis thereof (see Vulture's "The Sixteen Most Amazing/Ridiculous Things Kanye Said in His New York Times Interview") was indicative of the polarizing nature of Kanye's personality. The cynical among us may have assumed the interview was nothing more than a publicity stunt, meant to sell copies of West's then-upcoming album and create hype where there was (apparently) not enough before. It's entirely possible this theory is true, of course, though as Pitchfork astutely pointed out in their analysis of the album Kanye is "now making a point out of rejecting corporate sponsorship."

Whatever the reason for West's attitude during the interview, though, it seemingly meshes perfectly with Kanye West the rapper during the runtime of Yeezus. 'Ye keeps the persona he showed with the Times, describing his sex life in graphic detail almost too many times to count and continually referring to his "god"-like status (when "talk[ing] to Jesus", he muses "I know he the most high / But I am a close high"). He's apparently confident in himself to the umpteenth degree, the self-deprecating nature of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy completely absent in the lyrics of these ten songs. Taking these admittedly blunt raps by themselves, Kanye comes across as an arrogant asshole with few redeeming qualities. In response, some point to the line "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower," arguing that Kanye's never sold himself as anything else and his confidence is beneficial because he's pushing the limits of what's acceptable in rap.

While this is true in theory, it misses the reason why Yeezus is one of the best albums of the year: the ugly juxtaposition of Kanye West the rapper and Kanye West the producer explores the mind of a genius spinning out of control. It's appropriate that Yeezus finds influence from industrial, because much like Trent Reznor's famous chronicle on The Downward Spiral, West is breaking new ground to tell his story about the beginning of a collapse (whether it be his own or that of another character he's creating). Nowhere is this more evident than potential track of the year "Hold My Liquor." As a rapper, Kanye celebrates the self-destructive attitude he exhibits with lines like "One more hit and I can own ya / One more *** and I can own ya" and "You love me when I ain't sober / You love me when I'm hungover." Chief Keef's hook says it all: "I can't handle no liquor / But these bitches can't handle me / I can't control my n***as / And my n***as they can't control me."

As a producer, though, Kanye is terrified. The looming, monolithic bass, industrial guitar squawks, and distorted kick belie the confidence his words show - West is scared of the beast he's become, highlighting his deleterious behavior with a lonely, black-as-night track and an extended, almost unbearably stressful instrumental solo. This is the genius Yeezus displays: the stark contrast between the words and the music is beautiful in its repulsiveness, and makes for one of the most engaging listens in a long time. "I'm In It" furthers this idea, as rapper Kanye's flippant usage of civil rights imagery to describe his sex life in a way that, as Pitchfork puts it, "makes previous come-ons like 'Slow Jamz' come off like Disney theme songs" turns from offensively confident to grotesque with producer Kanye's pitched-down vocals and lonely hip-hop beats (interesting to note is that the second half of the song is the first time West seriously delves into said hip-hop beats over the course of the album, and the lack of standard 808s and beefy bass demonstrates 'Ye's versatility and skill). Again, the beautifully hideous dichotomy here is nothing short of incredible.

I suppose it's a little unfair to cite this single (albeit impressive) point as the sole reason Yeezus is an incredible album. West's brilliant, schizophrenic production definitely helps - it's difficult to imagine anyone else save for the absolute best weaving together patchwork samples so raggedly that the result is near-perfect. The rapping itself is also impressive, helped no doubt by the fact that the music was tailor-made for Kanye's voice (would anyone have expected anything different?). However, it's when these two are combined in a lustrous display of songwriting and knowledge of structures that the album really shines. As a summary of this amazing concept, look no further than "I Am A God." West as a producer understands the monster West as a rapper cannot comprehend, as proven by well-timed screams (as if people are running away from said monster?), cutouts, and record skips. The ego Kanye has demonstrated so often finds a perfect home behind a total lack of ego - and this lack of congruency is breathtaking.



Recent reviews by this author
Todd Terje It's Album TimeSkrillex Recess
NickBee Empty Your MindDisney Soundtracks Frozen: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
We Roll Like Madmen The Kids Must DieThe Glitch Mob Love Death Immortality
user ratings (1265)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2013



2997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Originally posted at www.muzikdizcovery.com (sorry this is my 3rd cross-post of the month, but no one else had this album claimed over there and everyone basically ignored my 1st cross-post)

Let the shitstorm/circlejerk begin. My longest review ever, so feedback is appreciated (though Jacob already gave me some)

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Hep Kat
June 19th 2013



13992 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

didnt read but would neg if could

Digging: Casanovas In Heat - Belvidere b/w Destiny St.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2013



9464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

*starts jerking the circle / storming the shit*

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

DotEight
June 19th 2013



5434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Jizz over this guy more rofl. Such an overrated artist on this site.

demigod!
June 19th 2013



40970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good read and i rarely read reviews

ILJ
June 19th 2013



6536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Nowhere is this more evident than potential track of the year "Hold My Liquor.""

NO

NO NO NO

this is the worst song on the album.

cinaedus
June 19th 2013



26194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hold my liquor is amazing. people seem to be very divided on pretty much every song

sixdegrees
June 19th 2013



15707 Comments


circle takes the jerk

Digging: TIMO DA LEGEND - molsom love/my life

demigod!
June 19th 2013



40970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is one of the most divisive albums i've witnessed the release of i think.

oltnabrick
June 19th 2013



29282 Comments


hold my liquor is one of the best songs lol

Digging: Ben Frost - A U R O R A

cinaedus
June 19th 2013



26194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

weeaboo takes the tentacles

ILJ
June 19th 2013



6536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

black skinhead is the best song how is this an argument

sixdegrees
June 19th 2013



15707 Comments


lakes takes the dick

Hep Kat
June 19th 2013



13992 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Only good song is bound 2 and the one before that might have the worst beat I've ever heard

Gwyn.
June 19th 2013



13948 Comments


"weeaboo takes the tentacles"

ok this post has now redeemed you

cinaedus
June 19th 2013



26194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

black skinhead has nothing on new slaves

mindleviticus
June 19th 2013



7932 Comments


This album is so bad, man.

Cygnatti
June 19th 2013



19946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

aoty guys.

Digging: Lo-Fang - Blue Film

DotEight
June 19th 2013



5434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree mind. This is nothing special at all.

demigod!
June 19th 2013



40970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gary



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy