Review Summary: Make no mistake, I still love you.
Kanye West, what is there to say about the man that hasn't been said already? Weather it ranges from unbridled praise for some of the most acclaimed albums of the 2000s and even into the 2010s, or to relentless bashing over his actions and things he's said, and either way you can't deny that he's not only one of the most influential figures in music but also one of the most interesting. Year after year, he remains relevant whether it's for better or worse.
Before I get into Ye, it's probably important to get into the hype surrounding it prior to release. On April 14th his Twitter account was reactivated, and shortly after he began to start going back on the tyraids he normally would and for a bit there it seemed like he was 'normal' again. April 19th saw him Tweeting out information about the coming weeks for his label, GOOD Music. Four weeks of new releases back to back was to begin May 25th with Pusha T's "DAYTONA", to which there was much acclaim, and as such it was inevitable that the hype for the next coming weeks to skyrocket, even with the many remarks Kanye made prior that were... questionable, to say the least. Kanye was never one to disappoint, not even "The Life Of Pablo" is really that bad in retrospect. Within hours of the album being released, fans rejoiced and praised it. Some even claiming that Ye is the best album he's released to date.
So how is it really? Putting it bluntly, no, it's not. But it's not without it's own merits. Kanye isn't one to shy away from experimentation and changing it up, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Ye takes a different approach than Life Of Pablo. Ye is much more intimate, less bombastic, at numerous points there is even spoken word sections. Not to mention it's notably shorter than his other works. The opening track, "I Thought About Killing You", is mostly spoken word, touching on thoughts of murder and suicide. It's truly a somber way to start off the album, and then by the end of the track Kanye begins to rap, the beat picks up but doesn't become totally compromising to the tone. This is how the rest of the album plays out from here.
It's difficult to pick out tracks and talk about them individually. All of them are identical on initial listens, they build on each other. You could point out the controversial lines but overall throughout the album Kanye speaks of being bipolar, and even embraces it on the outro to "Yikes", as well as his own mental health on what I feel to be the best track on the album, "No Mistakes".
But with that it seems like I'm praising Ye, and I will say that as a whole it is the Kanye album to peak my interest the most, even though it is without a doubt far from my favorite of his. And it's hard to describe why I'm not feeling it so much, there's just something off. Is it the beats? No they're fine, is it the features? No they're passable as well, and it definitely isn't the lyrics because for every stupid line being said there's another more introspective one around the corner to add more depth to Kanye as we perceive him, as well as more depth to Ye as an album. Though if I were to take my biggest guess it's that the album is too short, not fleshed out nearly as much as it could've and should've been. What is on display here is something I do truly find intriguing, though the contents aren't enough.
But, as mentioned earlier, GOOD Music has more albums down the pipeline. Including another Kanye project. Maybe all the really great stuff is being saved for the Kid Cudi collaboration, or maybe Kanye is just flat out in a creative rut now