I miss the days where an album release was a big deal. Tuesdays used to be special. Working in music retail back in the day, I loved checking out all the big new releases.
Some were awesome, but you could’ve guessed that going in. Some were pleasant surprises. Some were big disappointments. Some were just meh. The discovery was always my favorite part of the job though.
For every disappointing Lauryn Hill “Unplugged” album where she could barely play guitar, there was a Remy Shand who you had never heard of…
So, back to the present. I’ve always been a fan of Kanye, he’s constantly pushing the envelope and trying new things. Even if I don’t always love the result, I can respect his work.
I’ve been able to avoid (mostly due to just being super busy) hearing any of the new songs. I’ve been holding out to sit down with the album and a pair of headphones and try this writing experiment.
Well, here goes…
That’s a wake up call in the headphones!
Feel like I’m playing laser tag with this track, until the abrupt sample. Nice call to action though, setting the tone for this album.
Sometimes the best album openers aren’t exactly ordinary songs, feel like that’s what he’s going for here. Definitely an attention grabber though.
I had heard the title coming in, but hadn’t heard the song. Love the track from the jump. Definitely anthemic, track reminds me of Jesus Walks a bit.
Lyrics hint at all sorts of stuff, but don’t really follow through. Not nearly as provocative as the title. Good jam for sure though, great song to be blasting on a drive.
I Am a God
He isn’t messing around with the song titles here at all. Another strong track off the bat. Lyrically reminds me of “Can’t Tell Me Nothin”, a plus in my book.
Kanye does the brag song better than anybody out there.
He’s getting a little too tricksy with all the jarring elements though, but I think that’s his intention to mess with people. Wish he had just continued with the main groove of the song, loved where it was headed.
The second half of it is interesting in its own right, but a disappointment after the promise of the first part.
This track is really different, digging the intro. He’s got me on this one.
So far the main constant through the record is anger.
And now the big change that doesn’t fit the rest of the song, he’s doing that too much on this record. It loses the effect after a while. I like Frank Ocean, but he feels kind of like he’s being wasted here.
Hold My Liquor
Intro’s got me interested, here comes the track. I’m back on board with him here.
It’s like he’s turned the club banger on it’s ear with this one. It’s a deconstructed club banger.
He’s pissed off again, but this one seems a little more focused.
Wow, a hook! Well, as close as we’ve had so far. It works.
Can’t say I’m a Chief Keef fan, but he’s a good choice on this.
And it gets weird again in the middle, but doesn’t drift too far from the first part of the track. Goes up tempo just before the 4 minute mark, I like this.
Definitely my favorite overall song so far. Instrumental bit at the end doesn’t feel as out of place as some of the other songs.
I’m in It
Not feeling the effects on the vocal here.
Like the track when the drum comes in though.
This is just weird.
The verses are just weak, he can do better. I like the hook and the track as it’s building up though. I could do without the dancehall bit.
Only 3 minutes in and it feels too long, I’ll be skipping this one next time I listen.
Last verse is an improvement, but he’s already lost me.
Blood on the Leaves
Intro is cool, I’m intrigued to see where this goes.
The interplay between the rap and singing is nice. Love this when it starts blasting. Back to nodding my head along with it.
It’s still weird, but it works this time. Loving everything about it.
Love the C-Murder references. Really cool use of “Down for My N’s” track.
Favorite song here for sure.
He’s definitely challenging his listeners, which I can appreciate it. I wonder about the appeal to listen to it again though. I remember feeling the same way about Nine Inch Nails’ “The Fragile”, but wasn’t really interested in listening to that whole album again. Maybe it’s because this one is only ten songs, but I’d definitely play it straight through again… maybe skipping “I’m in It”
Back to space or the laser tag game.
Strong track again.
Ha, Shabba Ranks reference. Bonus points.
Great song, loving it. Feels like this could be a hit on radio and the clubs. Not a cookie cutter by any stretch, but feels like the most mainstream song here.
The strings seem out of place in orbit with the rest of this track.
Send It Up
Nodding my head again, he’s closing out the album strong.
The jagged feel of the track works really well on this. He hasn’t always nailed it on the record.
Singing at the end brought a chuckle.
Feels like a bit of throwback for ‘Ye here, liking the sample. Always liked that side of his production.
Charlie Wilson comes in strong, nice interaction with the sample.
Some lyrical missteps in it, but a decent track to end the album. Feels kind of out of place though.
I give Kanye credit for going in his own direction and not chasing hits. Doing that, you get some unevenness. This album definitely shows that.
It feels like going into it, he had some clear visions of where he wanted to go with the tracks, but maybe not the lyrics. I don’t think it’s his best day on the mic, but some of the tracks are killer.
I wonder what the mainstream hip-hop crowd will think of this one. It doesn’t seem geared towards them at all, there isn’t a whole lot that I see fitting in on radio. Not saying that’s a bad thing though, I don’t think Kanye really cares.
It’s a good, strong record. Does it live up to the hype? I’m not so sure. I think it accomplishes what Kanye wanted it to though. He definitely wanted to go in his own direction and challenge the listener. Credit to him there, Yeezus is not something you would just throw on in the background.
Kanye makes you pay attention to him. There aren’t a lot of artists in any genre right now that can say that.