Thursday, December 23, 2010

CD Review: Kanye West - My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy

I don’t think when Kanye West sits down at his piano or computer or wherever he noodles out his songs, he’s thinking about a 43 year old, middle class white guy enjoying his product. If I cross his mind at all, it might be that he’s hoping I have a fly daughter for him. To be fair, when I sit down at my music store or computer or wherever I buy songs, I’m never thinking of him. I know of Kanye more for his name and as a pop culture reference more than I know of his music. Sure, I liked Gold Digger a couple years back, but when I heard Kanye had a new album out and that he was the musical guest on SNL, I really couldn’t care less.

A little later, I kept hearing positive reviews of My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy capped by a 5 star review in Rolling Stone. More than any other publication, I respect Rolling Stone’s music reviews. 5 stars?? Rolling Stone usually reserves that only for re-issues of Lou Reed albums or the latest Bob Dylan album. I don’t know if I have ever actually heard an album they have given 5 stars to. I am usually pumped if they give an album by an artist I like 4 stars.

While diligently working on the Monday after Thanksgiving, I somehow found myself helping the American economy by surfing I had typed "amazing real estate deals" into Google. What can I do? Amazon was offering the download of MDBTF for $3. I was being dared to give it a try. I was glad I did.

There are a large number of musical guests and a variety of samples on this album. Most of whom, I don’t know. One of the best is Rhianna, who I like best when she accompanies Shy Ronnie. In this album, she is excellent on All of the Lights. Perhaps the best guest appearance is the very profane Chris Rock monologue in the last 4 minutes of Blame Game. Rock is talking to Yeezy’s girl. She is seeing Rock, who plays the "neighborhood (n-word)" and is the beneficiary of all the things Yeezy has taught her. One of the only clean sentences he says is one of the best - "I gotta thank Yeezy. Ima buy his album. I’m gonna download that (MFer). Ima shoot a bootlegger! That’s how good I feel about that (n-word)". OK, so maybe that wasn’t even close to clean. Here's just the Chris Rock part of the song:

The album is really put together well. The songs flow into each other and complement each other. The only thing that stops me from absolutely loving this album is Kanye. I didn’t think I liked him before. I liked the album right away and figured if I listen to the lyrics more closely, I will be able to uncover all his fronting and see a likable guy. Nope. He is self-referencial in every song. Even when it seems as if he is calling himself out on the wonderful slowed down jam, Runaway, he ends up being a prick. On the song it sounds like he is apologizing to his girl for having to put up with all of his crap. But in the end it is really more of a realization that he is a prick but what is she going to do?? Leave him? (N-word), please!

The other way Kayne’s over inflated ego hurts this album is many of the song’s lengths. Most of the songs would be better serves chopping off the last several minutes. There are a lot of people who love Kayne’s music, but Yeezy is Kayne’s biggest fan.

When it is all said and done, My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy is a diverse and wonderful piece of music. It is likely my favorite rap/hip hop/whatever the kids are calling this type of music nowadays album of all time. It is really well done. If it weren’t for Yeezy, I’d probably like it even more. But if it weren’t for Yeezy, I’d probably not like it at all.

Here is the 35 minute video/mini-movie for the album. Great production value, but good-god, is he a bad actor. Did I mention he loves himself? You’d think he’d go blind for all of his self pleasuring. Actually, this cuts down a lot of the overlong extensions of songs that are not needed.

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