"ye" Misses the Mark
|"ye" album cover by Kanye West. All rights reserved.|
Kanye West, one of the most influential people in music, released his eighth studio album on June 1...but you knew that. It's almost impossible to not hear about the release of a new Kanye album. Up until early Friday morning, this was a great thing.
To call Kanye a musical genius wasn't a hard thing to do, everyone seemed to be in agreement that his work was unparalleled. Every single album had a distinct feel to it. Every single beat was a reflection of a master at work. It was a calculated series of songs that seemed to embody how he was feeling about himself and the world around him.
ye is a whole different story. It was a jumbled mess that sounded like it may have been thought of two nights before the album listening party. I can honestly say that this was the first miss of Kanye's career. The decision to drop seven songs after a two-plus year absence seemed disappointing when he announced it on Twitter. However, Pusha T took away my fears when he dropped one of the best albums of the last few years, Daytona, using the same amount of songs. Pusha showed that a body of work did not have to be extensive for it to be genius. Kanye showed why people often view shorter albums as inferior.
Looking back, I should have known this was going to be a mess by the cover. Learning that he took the picture for the album on the way to the listening party should have thrown me over the edge. But it didn't, because it's Kanye and I thought he could musically do no wrong.
Kanye took something that could, and frankly should, have been gold and turned it to dust. His lyrics were at the lowest level that I've ever seen them at (see: "I ain't finna talk about it, 'nother four centuries). I think I finally realized that Kanye's lyrics have been on a rapid decline, thanks to this project.
I went back and listened to Life of Pablo and ran into some of the same problem. The lyrics weren’t great but the production value was crazy. Maybe this project is what I needed to break the Kanye spell that I was under. He's been one of my favorite artists ever since I started listening to hip-hop.
But the thing is, it’s okay to point out when you think he sucks. There's no better place to do it than now, with this album.
In addition to all this, he showed that his ability to understand his fans and the people around him is at an all-time low. The weird murderous and adulterous fantasies alluding to Kim mixed with a very prevalent MAGA attitude totally lost my attention.
Dave Matthews Band is releasing a new album the same day as the joint Kid Cudi/Kanye project. I'm going to listen to Dave first and I’ve never heard a full Dave album. That's how disappointed I was in this body of work.
Maybe the saddest thing of all was the fact that the beats on this album actually were incredible and Kanye did nothing lyrically to support his work behind the boards. The opening song, "I Thought About Killing You", was boring and drawn-out. Yes, the beat drop was great and the last fourth of the song was good, but you can't screw around for almost one seventh of your entire album repeating the same spoken words and expect me to stay entertained.
The clear hit, for me, was "Ghost Town" and it had nothing to do with Kanye OR Kid Cudi. It had everything to do with 070 Shake. I think that she had the most memorable verse, although it was more of an outro, on the whole album. She gave a little life to the Kanye that doesn't completely suck. It made me feel like I was listening to a song off Yeezus or Graduation, rather than this jumbled mess he called an album.
I originally thought that “Yikes” sounded like a song that didn’t make the cut of Pablo, but now I think that’s an insult to that album. After a few listens, I realized that the only adult I want to hear talking about their DMT experience is Joe Rogan.
Maybe the most frustrating thing was seeing Kanye bragging on Twitter about how all of his songs were at the top of the streaming charts. That’s great monetarily for him, but you would think that his legacy would be more important at this point in his career. He did the opposite of what Jay-Z was able to accomplish with 4:44. I now fully understand why Jay no longer associates himself with Kanye. He ultimately seems like someone who has lost his roots and is now too much to handle.
At the end of my tenth or so listen, I just felt sad. I know that Kanye can do better…right? I really don’t want this to be the start of the decline of one of the most influential people in music. I want that Cudi/Kanye album to drop and for me to be hooked on everything he does again. I want to be wrong about saying that he's on a downward spiral. I just had so much faith after hearing the production value of Daytona and was left wanting something completely different than what I got.
Watching the livestream of the album listening party in Wyoming felt weird. You could see 2 Chainz, Nas, and a bunch of other people looking around, confused, wondering what in the world was happening.
That definitely would have been my reaction if I got flown out to the middle of nowhere to hear the messiest album in recent memory.