It happens to a lot of megastars in the music industry: eventually, everyone shifts gears and releases music that turns everyone's head. Kayne West did exactly that with “Yeezus,” his not-so-pop latest release.
After a recent controversial interview with The New York Times in which West compared himself (in order) to – get ready – Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, and David Stern, he dropped his best, and most interesting piece of music to date.
No, West is not the second coming of Jobs or Disney, but like them, he doesn't take long to impress you when he creates something. About thirty seconds into “Yeezus,” he greets the listener with a crash of abrasive electronic noise, fuzzy low-register synth tones, and harsh drum machine tapping. He puts us a universe away from the spoken words, welcoming piano notes, and gloriously stacked vocals that opened “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Laced with chilly synths and thumping beats, its song structures fractured by jarring starts and stops and shifting dynamics and moods, yet teeming with melodic and soulful interludes, “Yeezus” is not the EDM record suggested by early rumors and his collaboration with Daft Punk (just try dancing to one of these songs). It's hard to even pick a radio single or chart-topper, with “Bound 2” being the closest guess.
“Yeezus” is a sprint forward, with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's” lush grandiosity far in the rearview. Kanye West doesn't give the listener a second to realize the album is more a masterly response to a masterpiece than a masterpiece itself. With one sweep of the hand, West brushes away expectations. And then he sticks it you, squarely across the face.
Kayne West 'Yeezus' Rating: W W W W V