Kanye West
ye


2.4
average

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
June 2nd, 2018 | 327 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: vs The People, vs The Man, vs The Ugliness.

This is the part where I'm supposed to implicitly defend my Kanye fandom while I justify why the music is still worth it. Oh, I probably won't go into too much detail why, skirt as well as I can around the awful things he's said and done in the media this album cycle, but there's a baked-in defensiveness anyway. It's as if I'm starting off on the back foot by being a fan, even with all the separating-art-from-artists arguments I can throw up. Thing is though, I just can't do it this time because there is no separation to be made. There's no separating the man from the music because they've become the same, and there's no ignoring his behaviour in the public sphere because it's coded into the music. It's all right there in the album title – Yeezus without the ego, no capitals because this is the untidy, real-time, unfiltered thoughts of Kanye West. This time, being a fan is being forced to reckon with a man we don't necessarily like behind the music we love.

Twitter has become our place of public exorcism over the last few years, a whipping pole where sexual harassers and predators are rightfully outed side-by-side with every end of the political spectrum (and most members of the presidential administration) sniping back and forth forever. Kanye, give the guy some credit, is probably the ideal candidate for your archetypal Twitter user because the man filters absolutely nothing. It all came out when he resurfaced: poorly researched political opinions, mixed feelings of loathing and forgiveness towards the plastic surgeon who operated on his mother, what seemed like a genuine attempt to extend love to people who have been pretty awful (and J. Cole, which might actually have been the biggest step). But the things Kanye said speak to a detached perspective that only comes from living at the top too long, surrounded by fellow people at the top; you can't love everyone when you're living in the streets, no matter how pure the intention might be. What seemed like a sincere desire for openness became alt-right tunnel vision in a truly 2018 way. Kanye's love has been twisted up, misguided and mangled into selfish and entitled ignorance which couldn't be further from where it began. Basically nothing could be worse for the kids who found culture in "Heard 'Em Say" or comfort in "Jesus Walks" or confidence to believe in themselves in "I Wonder". It's a sad, nasty thing and what it's given us is a sad, nasty album, one where all the good intentions and desire for cleansing honesty have been twisted into more self-delusion and artlessness.

The thing is, it's clear Kanye felt the catharsis moving through him when he recorded this album. "I Thought About Killing You" has the weighty, poetic self-seriousness of someone revealing their darkest secrets and desires to the world at large, though unfortunately the thoughts themselves are about as complex as unbuttered bread. Making things worse is Kanye's goofy delivery over Francis Starlite's autotuned gospel warble - not at all far from a thin mirror of "Dark Fantasy"'s opening moments, and performed by the knockoff Justin Vernon to boot – which is about as convincing as Jaden Smith's spoken word on that Childish Gambino EP. This disconnect between intent and delivery is explicit the entire album through. From the harried, unfinished-sounding "No Mistakes" which is built on a skeletal Slick Rick sample and almost nothing else, to the choppy breaks for chorus in "All Mine", to "Wouldn't Leave" which is basically a Francis and the Lights demo with a Kanye scratch vocal quickly added in. Worst of all is our first taste of the Kids See Ghosts project, the lumbering and clumsy "Ghost Town". Clearly Kanye hears a "Runaway"-style epic in this song, and the razor-sharp guitar wailing almost takes the instrumental to the next level, but it's tanked by a grand total of three all-time worst vocal features in the man's discography. It would have made perfect sense as a closer; 070 Shake's kinda nonsensical "I put my hand on the stove to see if I still bleed" has all the wannabe poeticism of the record's opening lines, but then again Kanye's never been all that interested in coming full circle.

What I hear in ye is a man who, after burning through his righteous anger with the American Dream (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), the oppression of black Americans by white America's industries (Yeezus), and all the various ways family and friends can screw you over (The Life of Pablo), was finally left with nothing to be angry at except some sort of emptiness inside himself. Yes, I applaud the honesty about mental health, and the message at the end of lone standout "Yikes" where Kanye refuses to allow bipolar illness to negatively define him is a good and respectable one. But jesus, when it's coming hand-in-hand with lines about Russell Simmons getting #MeToo'd like it's an STI and not a vital social reckoning that's been years in the making, or saying "if you whip her ass, she move in with him / then he whip her ass, you go through it again" about his daughter North (currently five years old)?It's a childish, trivialising scribble over the image of any positive, uplifting messages the Love Everyone era was trying to send. The album is ugly, not just on the surface – although plenty of off-key warbling choruses see to that – but at its core. All of this is why ye is not a good album, and it doesn't become good even if you retool the beats or do a second take of the abhorrent singing on "Ghost Town" or fix any of the other musical mistakes. It doesn't change anything because this is an album with a fundamental hole inside itself, a grand canyon between the purifying, cleansing art Kanye clearly wanted to make and the deluded, ugly one he ended up with. Maybe Kanye West exorcised all his demons onto the tape for ye, and that's great for the guy, but at the end of the day it's as hollow as a rich rapper telling you to love everyone over twitter, and the guts he's spilling still stink.



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user ratings (629)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


2756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

oh boi

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


40495 Comments

Album Rating: 2.4

good mornin'

Digging: Foxing - Nearer My God

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


23293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hey rowbro how ye be?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


40495 Comments

Album Rating: 2.4

how Ye doin?





he survivin'

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


2756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

i was drinkin earlier



but i'm not gonna drive because i'm a good boy

DoofusWainwright
June 2nd 2018


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

This actually reads more like a 0.5 review than my one



Very numerically forgiving of you

Flugmorph
June 2nd 2018


18743 Comments


wait what is this
why havent i heard about this coming out
not that i would be a fan or anything lel

Digging: Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

DoofusWainwright
June 2nd 2018


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

Think this review came too late, people already digested this and moved on, the rice paper wafer of 2018 albums.



What does this latest piece of shit from Kanye taste like again? I can remember it tasted shitty but shitty nutty or shitty fruity. Damn I can't remember. What's next?

Flugmorph
June 2nd 2018


18743 Comments


is there even the brilliant poop song on here
if not i wont even bother

romulanrancor
June 2nd 2018


7410 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah dude, no scoopety whoop



my disappointment is immeasurable

Flugmorph
June 2nd 2018


18743 Comments


rip

DoofusWainwright
June 2nd 2018


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

0.5, rest in poop

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


2476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Genuinely beautiful writing here, Rowan... I quite like this, perhaps for the reasons you don't. Not directly, of course, but I enjoy the intimacy between Kanye and the music here. It is yuck at times, but I think there's something endearing to it.

Digging: Jazz Cartier - Fleurever

MadKungFu
June 2nd 2018


516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Savage review. Don't agree with a lot of it, especially the musical criticism but the line about being "forced to reckon with the man we don't necessarily like behind the music we love" is spot on. But hasn't that been Kanye's schtick for the past 8 years?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


4547 Comments


Really strong review! This guy has become a joke and unfortunately, the music he releases is still marketed as the work of a genius trendsetter.

Digging: Demonauta - Temaukel, the Spirit Before Time

nolerthebowler
June 2nd 2018


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I love this review thank you. Kanye can no longer separate himself from his art, so thusly his art is now shit

DoofusWainwright
June 2nd 2018


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

did it bowl you over?

JeetJeet
June 2nd 2018


5330 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wish I could pos this a hundred times.

Digging: Travis Scott - Astroworld

0GuyMan0
June 2nd 2018


1377 Comments


Yikes is so fucking good.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2018


40495 Comments

Album Rating: 2.4

But hasn't that been Kanye's schtick for the past 8 years?




hmm... I don't think necessarily but I see why some would. he's always been a shit-stirrer but calling out Taylor Swift at an award ceremony is fairly different to uh, supporting Candace Owens and all that. even if he had always been a bad person, I've always been able to listen to his art as a separate piece until now



the music he releases is still marketed as the work of a genius trendsetter.




I don't think he's set any trends since Yeezus really, but that doesn't really matter to me too much because the music was good. interesting that he's on sort of a throwback kick now - working with Pusha T and Nas (DAYTONA getting his most old-school soul treatment in years), collaborating with one of his first prodigies in Cudi, this album itself which is almost a mix of 808s and TLOP. I wonder if there's a motivation there or if he just can't switch up style every album anymore?



It is yuck at times, but I think there's something endearing to it.




this is how I really wanted to feel but :shrugging_guy:



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