Guys, I’m worried about Kanye.
You know, Kanye West.
He’s a rapper. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
Either way, I think that young man is troubled. And I am basing these concerns on his latest album, Yeezus. This is not a happy album. Yeezus is the sonic equivalent of storm clouds on a summer day- it is the sound of impending doom. And no one really wants that.
Long gone is the care free Kanye- the Kanye back in his school days: The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation. Apparently like most college graduates in this current economic climate and unsettling times, he found post-college life difficult and retreated to a dungeon of synthesizers and auto-tune machines. If it’s not a dungeon, then it’s a cave. Kanye does not record his albums in well-lit rooms. I refuse to believe he lets sunlight anywhere near the recording console in which he sets up shop at. Placing bets now that he records his next album in Alaska…no wait, that would be a lot of sunlight. Sorry Sarah Palin. No Kanye for you!
Yeezus is an often confusing, slightly troubling, frequently disconcerting and generally unconnected album. There are some good parts, but there are mostly not so good parts. Or maybe they’re just parts I don’t get. Which is easy to grasp. Kanye and I don’t have much in common besides the fact that we’re both involved with ladies named Kim. But I’m not putting much weight into that. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I don’t see Kim and Kanye’s relationship lasting. Although they’re both involved with other people- themselves, so maybe it will last.
Back to Yeezus– when are you supposed to listen to Yeezus? I feel like there’s too much sunlight in my office to fully appreciate it while I’m working. It’s not driving music and it’s not chilling music. I wouldn’t do any crosswords listening to Yeezus. I also wouldn’t be lounging on my deck on a summer afternoon while listening to Yeezus. Half of the songs (i.e. “I am a God”) have parts you turn down because you don’t want people to over hear you and think you’re a psychopath. If anything, I could see myself hiding in the basement, nestled up nicely in the fetal position listening to Yeezus. But like impending doom, no one really wants that either. Basements are scary. So is Yeezus. Basements are full of random shit. So is Yeezus.
Yeezus is basement music.
Not settled- Kanye in social settings. Does he even talk in social settings and what the hell is pillow talk like between him and Kim?
Kim: I think we should re-decorate the kitchen.
Kanye: I’m a god.
The production on Yeezus is probably the best part of the album. Why? Because Kanye is still a hell of a producer. The rapping is probably the weakest part of the album. Why? Because Kanye is still a weak as hell rapper.
“Black Skinhead” is probably my favorite track, with Gary Glitter-esque drums that sound like Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People.”
Besides “Black Skinhead,” there isn’t really another song I’d even venture as far to say I like. I definitely wouldn’t press “like” if any other tunes were Facebook statuses. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. Yeezus is self-indulgent in the worst possible way. Ultimately we all want our entertainers (musicians, actors, directors) to be self-indulgent because we believe in them and want them to be the most them as possible. But within that construct is an unwritten law- don’t cross the line between self-indulgence that is beneficial to others and self-indulgence that has no worth outside of your own mind. There’s no point to that kind of self-indulgence, which is the self-indulgence exhibited in Yeezus. Am I just supposed to like this album simply because it’s a Kanye West album? I want to like albums because I genuinely like the content, not the name attached to it.
Unless the name is Jay Z.
And Justin Timberlake.
Oh, and David Simon.
But that’s it.
Kanye needs to get out more, get out of his own head more. Get some sun, son. Find some happiness. Stop deriving inspiration for your music from low grade haunted houses and get some bounce back in your step.
If you want to listen to Yeezus, then listen to Yeezus. Kanye has enough street cred built up to make you curious just by having his name attached. But no, he has not done enough to make it likeable when it isn’t.
Yeezus ain’t likeable.
Top Photo: Luke Jackson/Reuters