Kanye West- ye Album Review
(By: Thomas Rodriguez)
Amid Twitter and TMZ drama, Kanye West releases an incredibly short yet deeply personal album.
Kanye West is an interesting figure. On one hand he is seemingly maniacal, egotistical, and outspoken in what he supports or what he thinks; on the other, he is an advocate for unique ways of thinking, is incredibly forward thinking for musical production, is a capable rapper, and has one of the most consistently amazing discographies of modern music. Whether they agree with his pro-Trump views, gawk at his equally confusing and inspiring Twitter, or miss the “old Kanye”, people can at least agree that Kanye can put on one hell of a show. The rollout for Kanye’s newest album amidst all of his recent controversial interviews and tweets was definitely a spectacle: people were calling for a boycott of the album, many internet figures simply called Kanye a moron, and Kanye seemed more and more unhinged despite recovering from a mental breakdown. He even made a song about….poop? After these past few turbulent months, Kanye’s project was released, a short 7 track album titled ye. Through all of the craziness, all of the doubting and skepticism, Kanye somehow surmounted the odds and has delivered one of his tightest, and most emotional projects to date.
Many Kanye fans can be divided into two warring camps: the “Old Kanye” fans that miss his polo-wearing, backpacker days of conscious rap, and the “New Kanye” fans that dig his outspokenness and experimental methods of production and album creation. Ye is definitely an album that can be enjoyed by both, especially if you look at the way it is produced and written. While there aren’t any mirror-rattling “bangers” on this album, ye still excites based on how seemingly crazy yet down to earth it is. Kanye’s lyrics are self-focused as usual, but they’re incredibly revealing as to what is actually going on in the Louis Vuitton Don’s life. The opener “I Thought About Killing You” is an amazing introduction into the album’s themes of mental health, love, and indulgence. Amidst some gorgeous, electronic vocal layering in the background, Kanye takes center stage to speak about his suicidal thoughts and openness to being controversial in order to stay true to himself. It’s a ballsy move, especially considering how many mainstream listeners won’t normally appreciate a bit of spoken word. Once the synth-bass kicks in, however, Kanye begins an incredibly confident and passionate flow that just makes your head bob along. The head bobbing definitely continues into the next track, “Yikes”, which displays another equally personal side of West as he talks about his bi-polarity, but has a sticky hook that just stays with you alongside some solid sample and handclap beats and hilarious bars (especially the hospital band line). Consistency is often key in an album’s success, and ye succeeds on both fronts most of the time. The only time that a few cringe-worthy bars appear is on “All Mine”, but the Yeezus-esque beat and Valee’s hilarious but catchy hook save the song and make it the closest thing to a banger on the album.
Ye, unlike some of Kanye’s recent albums, has a surprisingly fluid flow from track to track. Transitioning from “All Mine” to “Wouldn’t Leave” is a freaking genius move; tonally and lyrically they’re opposites, with the former being about hunting for some hoes while the latter is about loyalty by loved ones, but their inclusion next to each other shows Kanye’s awareness of his strengths and flaws with women (alongside addressing his recent rants with TMZ). It’s an incredibly heartwarming moment that is complemented by an equally heavenly beat and an actually good PARTYNEXTDOOR feature. The great flow continues into the depressingly short “No Mistakes”, but the song is so damn positive and uplifting with its lyrics and beat that you can’t help but love it. It sounds like a soundtrack to riding a droptop convertible into the clouds, especially due to Charlie Wilson’s great vocals. “Ghost Town” is absolutely beautiful. Guitars, an amazing Kanye verse (with singing that is actually good!), a great message on being human, and a wonderful 070 Shake outro are a recipe for a delicious serving of Kanye goodness that is honestly tear-inducing. Even if Kid Cudi’s singing is a bit shaky here, the good outshines the bad, leading to a simply wondrous track. “Violent Crimes”, as a friend best put it, is Kanye’s “4:44”, especially in regards to its maturity. Talking about his daughter, Kanye raps about his overprotective nature towards her growing up, and his fears about her not doing good things (like sticking to doing “piano” or “karate”). It feels like someone tucking you in at night with how sweet it is; the instrumental may be a little too slow, but the song is still a net positive. Not everything is perfect on ye, but even when there are flaws, there’s always something quality to find with repeated listens.
So, how will ye stack up to the rest of Kanye’s discography? It’s too early to say, but the album as a whole is extremely consistent in quality of writing and production. It’s a magnifying lens into the mind state of a seemingly insane man that, despite all odds, still makes excellent music. Many have been hating on Yeezy for his short album length, or lack of control over his crazy words, but ye proves that someone who may be mentally troubled can still make great work.
“Name one genius that ain’t crazy” ~ Kanye West
Tracks to Save: “I Thought About Killing You”, “Yikes”, “Wouldn’t Leave”, “No Mistakes”, “Ghost Town
Tracks to Skip: N/A
Listen to ye here!
What did you think about this album? Any comments or criticism? Comment down below and let me know; I’d love to hear what you think!
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