Kanye West
Yeezus


2.5
average

Review

by Vincent A. USER (10 Reviews)
October 19th, 2013 | 23 replies | 2,102 views


Release Date: 06/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yeezus shouldn't be faulted for its ambition- but instead, should be faulted for its lazy attempt at ambition.

Kanye West has always been meticulous. In 2003, when The College Dropout leaked a few months ahead of schedule, he didn’t panic- but instead used it as an opportunity to fine-tune the album’s nuances and tighten its lavish production. When Kanye was 75 percent of the way finished with the anticipated follow-up Late Registration, he decided to bring in producer Jon Brion to help expand the album’s sonic template- and indeed, the additional orchestral arrangements helped elevate the record’s depth and complexity. While My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was largely produced by those other than West himself, his influence was evident in nearly every facet of the record, complete with sporadic touches of autotune, soulful production, and of course the bombastic egotism we have come to expect from a Kanye West album.

Yeezus is the darkest of West’s albums so far, and others will also cite it has his most “challenging” or “ambitious.” There is certainly an emphasis on a more serious tone this time around, evident right from the get-go with opener “On Sight,” where a tinny, grating synth-driven beat that sounds like it was produced on Fruity Loops (courtesy of Daft Punk) fails to provide a worthy backdrop for West’s aggressive lyrical approach. In the center of the track, West raps “How much do I not give a ***?/Let me show you right now 'fore you give it up” before the song briefly explodes into an immaculately produced soul-sample for just a brief few seconds. The implication here is that West truly doesn’t care about the expectations his fans have for him, he’s looking to be daring, innovative, and challenging.

At times, however, Kanye’s idea of challenging the listener plays out like a one-note gimmick and a slap in the face to the long faithful. Yeezus’ recipe for complexity isn’t reliant on controversial statements or even sonic ambition. On “I Am a God,” a lazy bass-heavy beat finds Kanye demanding his croissants and proclaiming (over-and-over again) that he is, indeed, a god. Toward the track’s conclusion, the song throws in vocal-samples of screaming women, which is likely Kanye’s attempt at giving the song an art-house inspired aesthetic. “Hold My Liquor” is a dull and thematically weak auto-tune heavy track, and West’s verses are equally lifeless and uninspired. “I’m In It” and “Send It Up” are two more sonically “challenging” tracks that prove particularly irritating.

Yet, Yeezus is not some tragic misfire or failure. At times, West’s sonic ambitions align with a desire to actually say something of worth, like on the politically charged tracks “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves.” “New Slaves” in particular opens with the lines, “my momma was raised in an era when/ clean water was only served to the fairer skin.” West’s delivery is forceful and chilling- where on past records he had danced around serious thematic material with his sharp wit, he now seems fed up and willing to lay it all out on the table in as direct a fashion as possible. Both tracks also feature a minimalist beat that serves to highlight West’s vocals and message in a way much of the album fails to do. Elsewhere, the six minute track “Blood on the Leaves” is the auto-tune epic that Kanye has always been striving to make, as blaring horns and sampled vocals inspire one of the album’s most exciting moments.

It is precisely these moments on the record where things fall perfectly into place that expose the majority of the album as relatively inept. Kanye’s attempts to be daring and complex feel unusually cheap, particularly from an artist with so many ambitious works in their canon. Kanye has nothing to prove, and perhaps that’s where Yeezus goes wrong. It has been said that much of the album was recorded in a two-hour session where Kanye was rushing to finish the record. West has always been ambitious- only this time, Yeezus feels like an album lacking the obsessive attention to detail present in its predecessors.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Pavelboca
October 19th 2013


82 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Whoops, struggling with italics tags. Will fix that now!

Also, just looking to weigh in on what many feel is the best album of this year.

sniper
October 19th 2013


19049 Comments


another solid review, pos.
use brackets, btw. [ ] [/ ]

Pavelboca
October 19th 2013


82 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thank you!

gosk8n
October 19th 2013


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

great review pretty much agree w/ everything too

Digging: Jonny L - Magnetic

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2013


14305 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Almost 20 fucking reviews come oooooooon

Digging: We Will Fail - Verstrung

RadicalEd
October 19th 2013


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Amount of attention proves that Kanye is the only retarded genius I've seen.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2013


1624 Comments


"but instead, should be faulted for its lazy attempt at ambition."

Pos.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2013


3449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Obviously disagree but great review nonetheless

KILL
October 19th 2013


71743 Comments


u wd

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Gwyn.
October 19th 2013


15071 Comments


ya'll niggas can't fuck wit ye ya'll niggas can't fuck wit ye

i'll move my family out da country so you can't see where i stay

sniper
October 19th 2013


19049 Comments


i'm kind of lukewarm about this album. it's okay.

climactic
October 19th 2013


18872 Comments


nice review. agreed with a lot of the points you made, although i ended up liking the album a fair bit more

Gwyn.
October 19th 2013


15071 Comments


seriously though review is solid, I like it, straight and to the point no matter what I think of the album


pos, br0

BigPleb
October 19th 2013


36524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That summary is pretty much spot on.

Pos.

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

LambsBread
October 19th 2013


3352 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

On “I Am a God,” a lazy bass-heavy beat finds Kanye demanding his croissants and proclaiming (over-and-over again) that he is, indeed, a god.
lol

It has been said that much of the album was recorded in a two-hour session where Kanye was rushing to finish the record
lol

5/5 review

Funeralopolis
October 20th 2013


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

aoty

Digging: Sugary Sweet Machines - Controlled Breathing

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013


3449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

lambs I don't actually think those two lines are lulz-worthy

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013


6108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

nice summary, good review

saw this nigga last night, album is pretty much made to be played live

also there's only a handful of people (all of whom seem to be on this page already) who feel this is aoty

Timeizillmatic9
October 20th 2013


256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

totally disagree but tight review

BigPleb
October 20th 2013


36524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet av dude.



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