I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to it. There could be two reasons for this. First reason: I’ve been busy. That’s not true, so that’s not the reason. I have been busy, but not so much that I can’t write a few hundred words about an album. The second reason seems to be the most true: I haven’t felt like it. I respect myself enough to respect how I only do things when I feel like doing them. That is true in all of life. Sometimes my desire to do work coincides with the work’s due date and when that happens that’s great but when it doesn’t, pfft, whatever.
There could be a third reason: It might have taken me months to absorb Kanye West’s latest album, Yeezus, and create the mental space in my brain to talk about it. Let’s just go with all three.
Yeezus is a good album on its on merits. It’s creative, interesting, innovative and strangely addictive. If you don’t like it, it’s probably because you don’t like Kanye West, which is a completely valid reason not to like something.
I’m not great at writing about music, so I won’t waste time trying to describe a musical album with words (it always feels like trying to describe a smell). But, I guess I should try. Yeezus is an assault like meeting your best friend’s boyfriend for the first time. It’s loud. It’s obnoxious. All the jokes fall flat and it spends most of it’s time talking about how awesome it is. But, around the half way mark, the album becomes sensitive and soft, a bit quiet in a way that a rap album can be quiet. There are some real revelations that the album gives you, most noticeably from the tracks “Hold my Liquor” and “Blood on the Leaves.” But other songs are also a bit revealing, like “I’m in it” and “Guilt Trip.” None of the tracks have a chance of becoming this Summer’s jam and none of them will be considered “hits.” It’s a concept album of how a very talented artist can pretty much do whatever he wants after a while and if they don’t like it, they being the world, then fuck them, who cares. Some of the most interesting lines: “soon as they like you, make ’em un-like you,” “Hurry up with my damn croissants!” and my favorite, “She asks if I can get her friends in the club. I ask if I can get my Benz in the club? If not, treat her friends like my Benz and park their ass outside till the evening ends.” Classic asshole Kanye. God love him.
That’s the biggest problem with the album. Kanye made it and people generally just don’t like him. He’s arrogant. He’s weird. He says the most insane things anyone could say during an interview.
I think what Kanye West (HE’S TALKING IN THE 3RD PERSON!) is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
People only like arrogance in very small amounts. When it becomes the most dominate personality trait, it becomes hard to like the person. We hate arrogance because it feels like gloating. Look how amazing I am, world! I am the best! No matter how much we might not act like it, life is a game and most of us are losing at it. Except Kanye. He’s winning at it. And that pisses us off.
But, I mean, he is awesome. He is. Listen to any of his albums and you know he’s awesome. It’s true. It is impossible to not like any of Kanye West’s albums. Unless you don’t like him.
Not liking an artist’s work because you don’t like the artist is fine with me. Some disagree but I disagree with their disagreement. Think about it. If you don’t like someone, why would you like something they created? The parts that you dislike are the parts that helped them make the product. My best example is Orsen Scott Card, the homophobic dickhead who wrote Ender’s Game. Is the book good? I heard it was good and I heard the movie is going to be great. I won’t read the book or watch the movie because Orsen Scott Card is a bigoted piece of shit. Is that rational? Not really. Do I care? Not really.
So if you don’t like Yeezus because you don’t like Kanye West, that’s fine. But don’t be a lying jerk and say it’s because the album is bad because that’s not true. Feelings are by their very nature illogical. Take your ignorance and biases and wrap them around you like a thick blanket. They’ll keep you warm. They keep me warm.