Kanye West - Yeezus [First Listen]
It's streaming now, track-by-track first thoughts.
1) On Sight - What is this, before Kanye jumped balls deep into some vocals it was sounding like some weird spaceship elevator theme music. Not really any beats, and the same electronic noise throughout. Daft Punk produced the song, so something like this was probably likely.
2) Black Skinhead - If you can get past this title, well done. Ironic, but it's been done before. Again, a distinctly electronic feel, the beats sounding somewhat tribal and loud. Then the bass synth comes through all distorted, almost like you would hear in a fucking Lightning Bolt song. The lines he's spitting are distinctly Kanye 'I'm Fucking Awesome' West. But I dig this track, it's kinda noisey. Neither of these tracks are radio-friendly singles, which I enjoy.
3) I Am A God - Yeezy does it again, self-proclaimed everything. This song again has a pumping bass throughout the background, a little trappy, but not trap loud. "I Am A God, get the Porsche outta' that garage". He's waxing lyrical about how good he is again. I like the feel of these first three tracks, there's this weird vibe, they're slow and pumping. Beat minimalist again, with lots of bass. Weird breaks throughout the back quarter; he's screaming and running from something?
4) New Slaves - Another title referencing Black History in America. Again, this track is very electro. "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" Kanye proclaims, OOOOkay. So he's comparing 'We' as being the new slave. So, is this referring to recording artists? Yes. Which I suppose is a little correct, record companies generally give artist's a pittance. There's basically no drums in these first four tracks. Held down by electronics. Towards the back of the track, there seems to be some kinda' sample. Not sure how well it fits in initially, but the track ends nicely.
5) Hold My Liquor - Auto-tuned vocals overlayed to another minimalist synth beat. I really dislike this intro. But then it comes into Kanye making pop-culture references over the same slowly growing synth beat, with a noisey screech every bar. It's a stark change in direction from Kanye's last album. Then the chorus comes through, fucking slow, with a strange beat and an electric guitar sounding synth. The chorus is almost a little bit James Blakey , especially the vocals. It's certainly an ambitious track, don't think it was pulled off though. The back end turns into a weird psych-electro jam soundscape, which definitely adds to the overall feel of the track.
6) I'm In It - The sixth track opens with an ominous bast of place and some octaved vocals. Kayne's talking about how many chicks he picks up. Which is pretty fantastic, since he's with that lady with the huge butt. I'm In It is sleazy as fuck, balls to the wall trap. The music and vocals suite perfectly, Good thing I'm listening to the explicit version, otherwise this track'd be as censored as the third verse of Eminem's Stan. The drums finally commence on this album at the end of the track. Rejoice.
7) Blood On The Leaves - The intro is soaked in auto-tune... over some keys in the background. Then the trap bass again. There seems to be no cohesiveness to the track, which makes it sound really all over the place and unorganized, reflecting the themes which seem to be about a relationship turning sour, and his questioning of the situation. It's a fucking long trap, which changes tact about half-way, the auto-tune dissapears and Kanye's normal voice prevails. The relationship is now over, and things are getting angry. Althoug h Yeezy is clear in his thoughts, she's lied through the divorce and taken his money and cocaine. It could've ended about, 2 minutes before it does, it lingers like a bad smell.
8) Guilt Trip - Appregio synths over the ominous sounding bass again. I'm starting to think that this album is an open letter to his formerly beloved, "lets break up". The subtle auto-tune is annoying, because it just messes with the flow of the track. The album is very well produced, but is minimalistic overall. I don't really know what else to say about the track, since it seems like every 30 seconds is just the previous 30 seconds repeated. It could've been an okay 2 minute track.
9) Send It Up - Another trap heavy song. I mean, it's getting a little old by now. Kanye comes in after a minute and a half of practically nothing. A little bit of syncopation in the beat toward the end doesn't make you forget about the time you've already wasted on the track. A Shaggy-esque vocalist comes in at the end of the song, singing indistinguishable stuff, but it sounds cool and this is I think the third track which has featured the same guy.
10) Bound 2 - Finally, a different sounding song. This one is sample heavy, with an old-school sounding sample of Ponderosa Twins Plus One which create the most Kanye sounding song of the album. I enjoyed it, changed up from what was becoming a little stale.
Kanye West has definitely created a dark album with 'Yeezus '. I feel like it will starkly polarise public opinion, but it is good to hear that he has, instead of producing a bunch of singles, taken the challenge of creating something different, which he has done quite well. Although the trap-esque feel of the majority of the album, there is probably just enough change up throughout each piece such that it doesn't bore the listener too often, with the exception of a couple tracks which just stay around for too long. It's an ambitious effort, but for it to be good, it will have to age well, because on first listen, it was just, okay. Look for our full review coming soon!