Review ·

For a pop star, Kanye West has always been shockingly transparent. His debut album, The College Dropout, dissected the highs and lows of the twentysomething worker bee with relatable everyman charm. When his mother passed and his girlfriend dumped him a few years back, he took to the airwaves with 808s & Heartbreak, which was one long Auto-Tuned emotional meltdown. His persona has always thrived on his weaknesses as much as his strengths -- and his awareness of them. He knows his limitations, and if nothing else, his decision to write and produce his last few albums by committee communicates that. Only Jon Brion could’ve given Late Registration the orchestral, Ivy League pomp it deserved. DJ Toomp and Mike Dean’s bleating synths brought Graduation greater depth of musical character. Kid Cudi’s dejected but tuneful songwriting carried much of 808s & Heartbreak. Kanye is forever in service to the song, willing to call on whatever stable of talent and deliver whatever level of public self-flagellation that is required to get the point across.

For that reason, watching Kanye’s meteoric rise has always carried a hint of voyeurism. When things were going well, Kanye’s albums were all-access passes to his newfound celebrity. Recently they haven’t been going so well, though. In the wake of his drunken gaffe onstage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye quickly became the music industry’s biggest heel, enduring the ridicule of everyone from laymen to bloggers to fellow musicians to the president of the United States. Kanye seemed to vanish after the Taylor Swift fiasco, but it turns out much of the duration of West’s supposed exile was spent in Hawaii recording. West returned with the snarling, King Crimson-sampling “Power” in May and began a track-a-week music series called G.O.O.D. Fridays that gifted fans epic posse cuts that packed many of the music industry’s best and brightest into six- and seven-minute workouts. The G.O.O.D. Friday tracks were fantastic publicity: Not only did they slowly worm Kanye back into the good graces of the public, but they also prepared us, step by step, for what he had in store for us.

That next step is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a lushly orchestrated, regal gala of an album that is every bit as outsized and jumbled as its adjective-engorged title. The album benefits from the shared production and songwriting talent of a pantheon of artists from all over the musical landscape. On the first song alone, RZA supplies a sinister two-note groove punctuated by gorgeous choral breakdowns, vocals from Bon Iver, and a narrative from Nicki Minaj in a faux British accent. Elsewhere Kanye tricks out Bon Iver’s “Woods” on “Lost in the World," adding tribal chants and percussion and a pulsating house beat. Bink’s beat for “Devil in a New Dress” peters out midway through, and a live band plays a sultry, emotive take on that beat.

 

That is to say, Dark Twisted Fantasy is an album full off melodic ideas, copious guest features, winding songs, unexpected twists, and improbable pairings. Its ethos is “more is more,” and where similarly extravagant outings have failed on the wings of their own excess, this one gets over for being rooted in Kanye’s most tuneful and accessible set of tunes in ages. The simple piano melody at the heart of “Runaway," the triumphant trumpet fanfares of “All of the Lights," and other flourishes cement Kanye’s skills as a talented pop architect with an undeniable ear for melody.

 

Sweet as it may sound at times, though, this album is called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy for a reason. The lyrics chronicle the flip side of the “Good Life” Kanye toasted on Graduation. Anger is its currency. Surface friends, hangers on, and doubters are decried on “Monster” and “So Appalled." The first verse of “Gorgeous” is a bilious rant about racial inequality. “All of the Lights” details a man's struggle to restore communication with his family after domestic abuse. There's a lot of douchebaggery here, "Runaway" notwithstanding. “I embody every characteristic of the egotistic," he rhymes in “Power." Dark Twisted Fantasy is very much a reflection on what it means to be the bad guy. Ever aware of his own reception and bad press, Kanye skulked off and crafted his response: a meticulously constructed, bombastic fuck you.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, like 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak, derives its intrigue from the shortcomings of its creator. It’s a meditation on fame, on everyone thinking you’re the shit, knowing you’re the shit, and knowing everyone knows you think you’re the shit. It’s a sobering trek through the dark stretches of the mind of a notoriously hot-tempered musical visionary with a star-studded Rolodex. But all of the hands on deck are cast into roles that take advantage of their various strengths. Everyone involved in this thing kills, and Kanye has again pushed the envelope, filling these songs with instrumentation and structural elements that have more in common with progressive rock and the blues than with hip-hop. With My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West has lurched to the vanguard of modern mainstream music. Let’s toast the asshole.

 

***

Artist: http://kanyewest.com

Label:http://www.islanddefjam.com/runaway

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/kanyewest

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KanyeWest

 

  • Hell Of A Life
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Power
  • Chain Heavy
  • Ghetto University
  • That’s My Bitch
  • Runaway
  • Lost In The World
  • Gorgeous
  • Monster
  • Holding Me Back
  • Devil In A New Dress
  • The Joy
  • So Appauled
  • Blame Game
  • Sweat On My Face

Details remained scarce for a while about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, even to the point it was thought by most to be called Good Ass Job. But apparently it is his best hip-hop record yet, at least, that's what Drake implied in an interview with GQ Magazine. And it finds Yeezy is making his return to hip-hop and leaving the Auto-Tune behind after 808s & Heartbreaks. But don't be surprised if the vocal effect makes an appearance here or there as it's been featured on every one of his albums in some way or another.

 

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy features Jay-Z, Pusha T, Big Sean, Drake and KiD CuDi, among others who appeared on West's series of G.O.O.D. Friday music leaks. The album will also include beats from outside producers, something West had done before but never to this extent. This time around, he will be joined by Q-Tip, No I.D., RZA, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier, the last of whom provided scratches on "Everything I Am" off Graduation.

Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The album title is kinda ridiculous, but I like it.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Can't wait for the stanwave to flood this page with flattering comments.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

KANYE #1 BEST EVER GOAT A+++++++++++++++++++ WOULD BUY AGAIN

/site_media/uploads/images/users/GM_Omnis/CURLS.jpg OMNIS

Roffle.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Funny how you left the bait, LW, and the stans just can't resist but take it... a mere 9 minutes later. That's a Good Ass LOL.

Anyway, it's really good that Kanye's coming back to hip-hop. It's still up on the table if '808s' is a revolutionary force in the popular music industry, so it's better that he get back to his roots (circa TCD) if he can. Then maybe people will forget about "Imma let you finish..."

PenaltyKillah

Didn't need LW's bait to make flattering comments. Kanye is a genius. 4 amazing albums, 14 grammys, the man is a beast. I don't think the 5th classic will be called Good Ass Job though.

Sheiv

Looking forward to Kanye's return to hip hop. And i know he'll tear it up again he's a genius.

Sonny Farias

can't wait. Good Ass Job: he already has a good ass job

KA

finally mr .west has come back to hip hop

ant

The College Drop Out > Late Registration > Graduation > The G.O.O.D Ass Job ( back to hip hop )

"April 13, 2010 at 6:07 p.m.
ant
finally mr .west has come back to hip hop"

Lilo

Cnt w8 2 get hold o' diz one....I noe yeezy go kill it, 4sho

Frank O'Lu-Wi

He gets a wave of flattery because he deserves the wave. Why not show support to someone who you respect? It is the dumb insecure remmarks I don't understand.

er0ck

This album better live up to its name...
Hopefully He redeems himself for all the foolish things
he's done....

Vin

Its Still In Order College Dropout..Late Regristration ..The graduation...And Whats b4 The Graduation...PROM!...(808's In Heart Breaks)...And before all that A Good Ass Job...He'll Prolly Stop At Birth!! lol

DontWorryBoutIt

DontWorryBoutIt... are you an idiot? Graduation is referring to a College Graduation, not High School... dumbass.

mikejack

There is to main artists for me KANYE WEST & MICHAEL JACKSON. I can't wait for the new album.

Ashley

Its Still In Order College Dropout..Late Regristration ..The graduation...And Whats b4 The Graduation...PROM!...(808's In Heart Breaks)...And before all that A Good Ass Job...He'll Prolly Stop At Birth!! lol

----------------------------

Or not. Dropout of college -> Go back to college -> Register Late -> (look up the lyrics to "Late" by Yeezy) -> Graduate from College -> (808's was during a bad time in his life, it's not part of the theme) -> He is telling himself he did a good job... probably because his mom wanted him to go to college, but he dropped out instead and them went back.

KanyeRulez

Noooo. A Good Ass Job refers to Kanye getting a good ass job after he has graduated! It fits the theme or tetraology.

Jay

what is the actual release date of the album???

Jason

The first single off of his album is called Power, look it up it's so awesome!

Austin

I can't wait for this album.
College Dropout is my favorite album of all time.. And Late Registration is up there too..
Graduation was pretty good, but I don't listen to Anything off of 808's.
Great to know Kanye is going to release a hip hop album.
And Power is a pretty decent song imo... He's done better though.. I usually like the songs off his albums that aren't singles more.

Guy

Release date updated to September 14.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Ye is the best. i cant wait till he drops his new album. everyone is going to love him. his comeback was amazing last night also. go kanye!

MJ

Ye is my favorite rapper in the game, but he better come REAL hard with so many cats dropping this year B.o.B and Eminem has already set the bar super high (No, I didnt forget about garbage ass Drake) not to mention T.I. and Common both dropping later this year. Hip Hop is here in full force my friends! And for the record 808s was a great album as well, and Storytellers for it was amazing. But in order (my opinion) College Dropout, Late Reg = Graduation (Good Life is his greatest track to date IMO, right alongside Let me Down), 808's...I hope Good Ass Job surpasses CD, because then it will truely be a Good Ass JOB!

Marty

I'm really looking forward to this album and hope Kanye comes back stronger than ever!

musicluvr

Rumored track list posted.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

i already know 2 of the certain guests and they are monster ft RICK ROSS and NICKI minaj (unknown song she will be on)

KANYE IS THE SHIT

1. "Hell of a Life" (feat. Lil Wayne) Kanye West, DJ Toomp  
2. "Dark Fantasy"   RZA  
3. "Power" (feat. Dwele) Kanye West, S1 4:53
4. "Chain Heavy" (feat. Jay-Z, Datshyt, BradPiff and Eminem) Kanye West  
5. "Ghetto University" (feat. T.I. & Miley Cyrus) Kanye West, DJ Toomp  
6. "That's My Girl" (feat. Kid Cudi and Katy Perry) Kanye West, Jon Brion  
7. "Runaway"   Kanye West, Q-Tip  
8. "Lost in the World" (feat. Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj) Kanye West, No I.D.  
9. "Gorgeous (Ode to Kardashians)" (feat. Drake, Game, Benzino and Ludacris) Kanye West  
10. "Monster"   Kanye West, DJ Premier  
11. "Holding Me Back" (feat. Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Phonte of Little Brother) Kanye West, Madlib  
12. "Devil in a New Dress"   Pete Rock  
13. "The Joy" (feat. Common and John Legend) Kanye West  
14. "So Appauled" (feat. Drake and Jamie Foxx) Kanye West, No I.D.  
15. "Blame Game"   DJ Toomp  
16. "Sweat on My Face"   DJ Premier  

Nathan

Nathan I hope you're lying about track 5

u

Its great Kanye is back but I wouldn't care if he did another album like 808's. I love EVERYTHING by him. SouthPark was right that he was a and I quote "MuthaF**kin lyrical genius." I love this man. Its just I'm jumping joy.! He did do a gud ass job. LOVE YOU KANYE

Mary

Kanye is number one. hands down. And this album will be number one for years.

thLAXstatechamps

@Daba "good ass job" u have "college dropout"//"late reg"// "graduation". these were the titles to his first 3 albums. after college u get a "good ass job" somebody help this dude out. Kanye's gonna tear s**t up again. all good albums!!!!

brownboy

i was slow when i wrote that. good point brownboy

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

First, they said it would be released on June... WTF?!?!?

DimanZee

sum1 huk me up wit da link wher i cn get da album...

alca

It's dropping Nov. 16, and as of now it's untitled. "Good Ass Job" has been canned as a name.

patronparty

Drake, Kid Cudi, PR, Primo, and RZA...Holly sh*t! If this is true, I want to hear this album right now!!!!

Sam Rala

I got to hear Chain Heavy with Jay-Z and Eminem on it, that's going to be fire.

jgriff

Runaway, Kanye West. performed at the vma's. its pretty sick!

yeezy

Me downloading this album instead of paying for it will be a Good Ass Job!

The Almighty Anthony Analog

supposedly his new album title is dark twisted fantasy. dont no how much is true seeing as it doesnt fit the theme at all.

Yeezy > Wheezy

yep. new album title is reportedly My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

added the new album cover

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

You're missing All Of The Lights... Just saying

Agatha

Good point Agatha. The official track list is not out, but "All Of The Lights" is suppose to be on the album. I'll update the list now with the latest that's known.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

OFFICAL TRACK LIST

dark fantasy
gorgeous
power
all the lights
monster
so appalled
devil in a new dress
runaway
hell of a life
blame game
lost in the world
see me now

Mikeshy

Can't wait to buy this album!!!

MyFreeYoga

Agatha "All of the lights" is Gehtto University....... Btw.. Has this album leaked yet? lol

LuSiick

Aww.. I love it (: Devil in a New Dress is my fav <3

AshleyMarie

This is great review.

This is a big album, and it has become second nature to praise it. So a lot of things I have been reading sometimes forget that you have make a case for that, while really digging into the meat of the thing. This does great job of that. Totally one of the best writers here. Cheers!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/drivera/a-milhouse-divided1png.png drivera

Excuse me:

*This is *A* great review.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/drivera/a-milhouse-divided1png.png drivera

Thanks, Dan!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Agreed, good review Jenkins. I still dislike the yeezy show, but I do enjoy flippancy of this record.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Al/batmulletjpg.jpg Al

Nicely done Craig.

I can only offer this additional reflection: this is hip-hop's London Calling

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Ethan/nirvana-corporate-rock-whoresjpg.jpg EStan

Man this album is hot ive heard all the songz but iam still on song 1 iamma take this album slow lol

Zaryon

kanye west has got to be the worst rapper...he is a great producer and should stick to that. he didnt even write his debut hit song "through the wire". i give kanye some credit but not a lot. kanye stick to what your good at and leave lyrics to the real writers.

Critty

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