Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Album Review: Yeezus - Kanye West

  • Here's an album debate/review on Kanye West's Yeezus between Heartbreaker (aka Connor) and Brono (Chris), which turned into a Facebook conversation when our other form of communication fell out. Enjoy.



    Heartbreaker: Well, how'd you feel about the overall sound of the album? Extremely electronic, even some hints of trap
    Bronco: Yeah def
    Bronco: It's like My Beautiful Dark Twisted 808s
    Heartbreaker: I didn't like it much
    Bronco: Of course you didn't
    Heartbreaker: I thought it was too experimental
    Heartbreaker: Even for Kanye
    Bronco: Eh
    Bronco: I think on one or two songs yeah, overall I think it works
    Bronco: Either way that was obviously his intent
    Bronco: Going for that minimalist sound
    Heartbreaker: I mean it's the direction that music is going in so I can't fault him for taking that step, but I don't know how I feel about his voice on the electro
    Heartbreaker: Yeah very minimalist. Speaking of which, how about that run time
    Heartbreaker: 40 minutes?
    Bronco: I ain't mad at it
    Bronco: Again I think that's what he was going for
    Heartbreaker: I mean Illmatic was 40 minutes...but it costs 12 dollars for 40 minutes of music
    Heartbreaker: Especially 40 minutes that I won't be relistening to much...
    Bronco: True, probably should've been $9.99
    Bronco: at least
    Bronco: I remember there was talk that it would be a free album
    Heartbreaker: Could he be cheating the listener by being so minimalistic? Was there really>
    Bronco: That's pretty subjective
    Heartbreaker: In your opinion
    Bronco: I don't feel cheated at all
    Bronco: But I don't think the notion of feeling cheated here is so left field
    Heartbreaker: Haven't you ever felt cheated by an album before?
    Bronco: Hmm
    Bronco: Good thing I only paid like $4 for that slaughterhouse album
    Heartbreaker: Food and Liquor II, for example. Haha on the Slaughterhouse
    Bronco: Ugh I didn't even go near F&L2
    Heartbreaker: I downloaded Food and Liquor II and felt cheated of the 70 minutes I spent listening to it
    Bronco: Hahaha
    Heartbreaker: I didn't feel I got a real Lupe experience. And I feel like here I didn't get Kanye's best effort.
    Bronco: How do you define his best effort though?
    Bronco: Like I definitely wasn't expecting another MBDTF so I wasn't disappointed in that regard
  • Connor Hartley

    Oh ok fair enough. I guess I felt like in terms of lyrical content and song potential fulfillment, I didn't get the best Kanye. Like Dark Twisted Fantasy was experimental in sound, content and structure, but every song sounded complete, it had a sensical conclusion. I thought this was experimental for experimentation's sake. Like he tried something new, it didn't sound great, but he just continued to run with it. It's the same way I feel about Indicud. That's the album I would most compare this to.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Mmm Indicud was kinda disappointing
    Although I think that stemmed more from Cudi's determination to do everything by himself
    Like doing all the beats by himself really showed, in a bad way
  • Connor Hartley

    Agreed. I think Yeezus is equally disappointing though. We have such high expectations for both Cudi and Kanye, and I don't think either of them met them in 2013.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Just What I Am still knocks though
  • Connor Hartley

    Honestly, Yeezus makes more sense on Kanye's career arc than it does in 2013.
    Yes it does
    Like we can look back and say, yeah Kanye tried an all electronic album, just like we can look back on 808s and say "Look at the way Kanye tried this much softer album!" It doesn't make it any better though.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Idk
    It's hard to know what to expect from him anymore
  • Connor Hartley

    Anything but a normal rap album, I guess.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Except I don't think he just tried, I think he mostly succeeded
  • Connor Hartley

    Anyways, let's go song by song
    On Sight
  • Chris Culcasi

    K
    #1, On Sight
    Shout out to Daft Punk on the beat, that shit is gorgeous
  • Connor Hartley

    Effective intro?
  • Chris Culcasi

    Honestly I was listening to this in my car on my way home from work & I think that's the way this is meant to be listened to
    Definitely
    I think it kind of sums up the whole album nicely
    Short, cocky lyrics with a message, electronic/industrial production
    One of the more replayable tracks IMO
    What are your thoughts
  • Connor Hartley

    That reminds me of another issue with this album. Some electronic music uses notes that are out of the range of most speakers. A lot of drum and bass, for example, uses basslines too low for regular speakers to pick up, so the only good way to hear it is at live shows where the speakers have the range for the songs.
  • Connor Hartley

    Kanye uses a similarly huge spectrum of notes in this album, enough that I noticed it. I first listened to it riding in my friend's car, which has terrible speakers. The album sounded awful!
  • Connor Hartley

    Then I played it on my computer, which has a better range of notes, and it sounded a lot better, notably different.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Good thing my car has amazing speakers, as you know
  • Connor Hartley

    Finally, I listened to it on an iHome with ok range. It still doesn't sound right compared to my computer. The point is, along with the minimalism, this is NOT an accessible CD to the average listener.
  • Connor Hartley

    You do have fantastic speakers, which probably helped the sound quality.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Then again I feel like the average listener wasn't really his target audience here
  • Connor Hartley

    Someone playing the iTunes demo on their Macbook Pro isn't going to enjoy it the same way.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Like he explicitly said he was trying not to make music you could hear on the radio
  • Connor Hartley

    I suppose. A little conceited of Kanye?
  • Chris Culcasi

    It's one thing to say fuck mainstream radio and do your own thing
    It's another to be like my music is too good for this bullshit
    I feel like he's somehwere in the middle
  • Connor Hartley

    I think Kanye went the second way with that.
    We know how he feels about his own music. Aren't we eventually going to see him descend into narcissistic insanity and make the worst album of all time while he insists it's the greatest CD ever?
  • Chris Culcasi

    Well let's not pretend he isn't egotistical
  • Connor Hartley

    By the way I'm only half kidding.
  • Chris Culcasi

    I don't think so because he's so damn talented
  • Connor Hartley

    Did you watch Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story?
  • Chris Culcasi

    No but I've heard about it
  • Connor Hartley

    After a long and successful career, singer/guitarist Dewey Cox begins to work on creating the perfect song, parodying some of the super long songs in the 70s. His song ends up being over an hour long and includes like 200 instruments. It sounds horrendous. Kanye will one day drop the rap version of this album.
  • Connor Hartley

    Hopefully no time soon though.
    Anyways, On Sight. A lot of swag on this one.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Haha we'll see
    Yeah def
  • Connor Hartley

    You're right, it was the perfect intro for the album. For me, that's not the best thing.
  • Chris Culcasi

    I guess that depends on how much you like the album as a whole
  • Connor Hartley

    The electo is present right away and he uses a mid-song change up, but On Sight already has me tired of the insistent bragging and references to banging random chicks.
    I thought it was whatever.
    Black Skinhead
    This was a good song until he said "I keep it 300 like the Romans"
    Whoops
  • Chris Culcasi

    Black Skinhead also sounds fucking amazing in my car
  • Connor Hartley

    And on my computer, but the distortion sounds really bad on a lot of sound systems.
    Is there another version of this song?
  • Chris Culcasi

    I like this version a lot more
    I remember when he premiered it on SNL I could hardly understand what he was saying
    I believe there was a leaked version that sounded a lot more rugged
    Could be wrong though
    I mean like when he performed it live there was a lot more screaming
    And a lot less clarity as a result
  • Connor Hartley

    I see. Possibly. I think his flow is good in it, one of the few upbeat tracks.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Definitely a highlight
  • Connor Hartley

    Where were his friends to tell him that 300 did not feature any Romans?
  • Connor Hartley

    Overall rating, out of 5, for the song? And On Sight as well
  • Chris Culcasi

    I'd give both somewhere in the 4 range
  • Connor Hartley

    Ok. I'm giving On Sight a 2.5/5 and Black Skinhead a 3.5/5
    I Am a God
  • Chris Culcasi

    How did you feel about this?
    I know you're a bit more religious than I am
  • Connor Hartley

    Super dark, sonically rendered for your enjoyment
  • Chris Culcasi

    Did it offend you at all?
  • Connor Hartley

    Um, as far as its blasphemy level, I mean it's relatively high. But I think the song is hilarious more than offensive
  • Chris Culcasi

    I mean I definitely don't think he's trying to offend
    This song bangs though
    Three songs in a row that I enjoy
  • Connor Hartley

    We've seen this from Kanye before. Remember the Power video where he puts his own face on the sphnix?
  • Connor Hartley

    I'm more offended by his sense of self-worth than anything else. And those mid-song screams.
    Those make me think this is kind of for shock value.
  • Chris Culcasi

    I don't really know what he's going for with the screams
    But I don't mind them
  • Connor Hartley

    Reminiscent of the random feedback throughout Coldest Winter
    But yeah, I like the song. 4/5
  • Chris Culcasi

    Yeah I'd give it that too
  • Connor Hartley

    But he still hasn't given us an honest emotion until track four
    I like New Slaves a lot
  • Chris Culcasi

    I love New Slaves
    Probably my favorite on Yeezus
  • Connor Hartley

    The bass is so distorted and so low, it's beautiful
    It does NOT sound good on bad speakers though.
  • Chris Culcasi

    I haven't experimented with speakers so I couldn't say
  • Connor Hartley

    But I'd agree, probably my favorite song too. He really goes at this song. He sounds like he wants it in the lyrics.
  • Chris Culcasi

    He definitely does
    Great beat too
    I love the breakdown at the end with the Frank Ocean cameo
  • Connor Hartley

    To me, the first three songs he coasted by on swag. Here, he makes the effort. Yeah the breakdown is a nice addition.
    This is really a producer's album.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Mmm
    I think the 'rather be a dick than a swallower' line is really important
  • Connor Hartley

    Hahaha why's that?
  • Chris Culcasi

    It's like he'd rather be the asshole he's known for than swallow his own words
  • Connor Hartley

    Fair enough
  • Chris Culcasi

    And the blowjob context makes it hard to blame him
    Personally
  • Connor Hartley

    That's Kanye wrapped up in one sentence
  • Chris Culcasi

    Pretty much
  • Connor Hartley

    Not much polish, but not really gritty either. Charismatic and offensive, honest and contrived.
  • Chris Culcasi

    So poetic
  • Connor Hartley

    Anyways, for the song, I can't decided on a 4.5 or a 5
    Probably a 5
  • Connor Hartley

    I Can't Hold My Liquor
    I like the use of Chief Keef
    It's dark, just like the past two songs
  • Chris Culcasi

    This was the first misstep for me
  • Chris Culcasi

    I like Justin Vernon on it, I'm not really sure what purpose Chief Keef serves here
    I guess I was just hyped to see those two artists on the same track but the result is nothing special
    Also the song is too long
  • Connor Hartley

    It's just his voice and his presence. Ever since Hate Being Sober, any song about a lot of drinking has to include Chief Keef. He's like the Guardian Angel of getting fucked up.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Which is really sad when you realize he's like 17
  • Connor Hartley

    Still on house arrest I believe
  • Chris Culcasi

    He's fucking crazy
  • Connor Hartley

    This song strikes me as an industry favorite, kind of like Drunk and Hot Girls was a huge hit amongst rappers
  • Chris Culcasi

    I think the last minute and a half could've used another verse
    The beat builds up to nothing
    And I still hate that song so maybe this one just isn't for me
  • Connor Hartley

    I don't mind this one
  • Chris Culcasi

    3/5
    Average when it should've been amazing
  • Connor Hartley

    Then again, if you really listen to Drunk and Hot Girls and think about it in just a college context, Kanye nails that concept haha
    3.5/5 for Hold my Liquor
  • Chris Culcasi

    True, that doesn't make it a good listen though
  • Connor Hartley

    I can't decide on I'm In It
    I hate it and love it
  • Chris Culcasi

    At first I was like this is pretty cool
  • Connor Hartley

    It's a horrible song...and yet...
  • Chris Culcasi

    Then the hook drops and I'm like wtf
    Then this dude Agent Sasco comes in with his heavy accent and I fall in love
  • Connor Hartley

    That's true. See tell me he's not just throwing out random shit in the chorus.
    The fucking dog barking?
  • Chris Culcasi

    I love Vernon on the chorus
    Otherwise yeah it's pretty bad
    Overall a great song though
    After Hold My Liquor I needed this to restore my confidence in Yeezy
    4/5
  • Connor Hartley

    I didn't like Agent Sasco on here
    And at first I hated the track because I was tired of hearing about Kanye's sex life
  • Chris Culcasi

    His verse is so dank
  • Connor Hartley

    But besides the chorus the beat is beautiful
    And I love that he uses the deep voice in the backdrop
    Last thought, the last line sucked
    "I be speaking Swagheli"
  • Chris Culcasi

    Swaghili lmao
  • Connor Hartley

    Not a fan.
    Still, 4/5
  • Connor Hartley

    So many highs and lows on one song!
  • Chris Culcasi

    Blood On The Leaves?
  • Connor Hartley

    I really don't like the mixture of the trap and the vocal sample/piano
  • Chris Culcasi

    Very 808s on this one
    Maybe if it had been half the length I'd like it a lot more
  • Connor Hartley

    The way he changes perspective is pretty cool
    Yeah the length is wild
    Longest on the CD
  • Chris Culcasi

    Idk I don't find this one particularly memorable
    Agreed
  • Connor Hartley

    It's growing on me, though. 4/5
  • Chris Culcasi

    I'd give it 3/5
  • Connor Hartley

    Guilt Trip?
  • Chris Culcasi

    I hope Kanye and Cudi continue to work together for a long time
    I love Cudi's bridge
    Kanye's verse is good, not great
    I almost didn't notice the sample at first, think it really adds to the song's atmosphere
  • Connor Hartley

    Yeah Kanye's part doesn't stand out to me at all
    Plus the whole one verse thing is tough to deal with
    It's got that really deep sound again, but I wasn't too big a fan of this one.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Yeah I'm not the biggest fan of it
  • Chris Culcasi

    I dig it
    4/5
  • Connor Hartley

    Send It Up
    Worst beat on the album
  • Connor Hartley

    And King Louie KILLS Kanye on this
  • Chris Culcasi

    The Pitchfork review said this song is the most likely to be a radio hit, not sure how I feel about that
  • Connor Hartley

    Agreed, due to a lack of other options.
    But New Slaves will be the most popular song on this CD
  • Connor Hartley

    This is amongst my least favorite Kanye verses on this CD
  • Chris Culcasi

    Agree that King L goes in
    He sounds like a literate Chief Keef
  • Connor Hartley

    Yeah
    Or SB
    hahaha I like that Chief Keef comment
  • Chris Culcasi

    I feel like as the cd progresses I'm listening to it less for kanye and more for the overall sound/atmosphere
  • Connor Hartley

    I'll say that, due entirely to King Louie, this song can get a 3.5/5
  • Chris Culcasi

    4/5 from me
  • Chris Culcasi

    This is the most vintage Kanye we get on the album
  • Connor Hartley

    Yeah
    A good send off, but not one that matches the CD
  • Chris Culcasi

    I'm not totally sure why it's even here but I love it regardless
    Lyrically he's on point
    Only part I don't care is the beat switch up during Charlie Wilson's part
  • Connor Hartley

    See I liked that. The "1 good girl is worth 1000 bitches" line is great as well, but totally opposite what Kanye has been preaching this whole album
    I'll give this one a 4/5
  • Chris Culcasi

    Yeah it really doesn't fit the album which is a shame cause it's such a great song
    4.5/5
  • Connor Hartley

    And the hidden track?!?
    I think it's a fun addition
  • Connor Hartley

    There's a hidden song. A Teck Teck Tonic remix with the first verse from The New Workout Plan on it
  • Chris Culcasi

    What
    Where
  • Connor Hartley

    Good luck finding it!
    I got the CD online so it was just its own track
  • Chris Culcasi

    Huh???
    Pretty sure it's not yeezus affiliated
  • Connor Hartley

    Maybe not, but it should be
  • Chris Culcasi

    Any good?
  • Connor Hartley

    It's fun, not necessary though. Ok so give the album an overall score out of 5 and where you rank it amongst Kanye's albums.
  • Chris Culcasi

    Overall I give it 4/5
    I'd probably put it above Graduation, College Dropout and 808s, below MBDTF and Late Registration
  • Connor Hartley

    Dayum
    And top 5 tracks, in order?
  • Chris Culcasi

    Shit
    New Slaves, Black Skinhead/Bound 2/On Sight, Send It Up
    / denotes a three way tie
  • Connor Hartley

    haha fair enough
    I'm giving this album an overall 3.5/5, which puts it above College Dropout and 808s but below the other three
    And I'll go New Slaves, I'm In It, Blood on the Leaves, Bound 2, and Send it Up (only because of King Louie)
  • Chris Culcasi

    I was debating between Send It Up and I'm In It for #5
    King L won out
  • Connor Hartley

    All right, any parting thoughts?
  • Chris Culcasi

    Dope album

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