After the worldwide video projections, the (evidently short lived) high security embargo and the general “Kanye” of it all, Yeezus had a lot to live up to.
So I was little disheartened- Kanye when the album opened with the overly synthy and strangely disconnected On Sight.
But Black Skinhead followed it up with a tribal beat laying the foundation to a textured and incredibly well constructed track, before the album moved on in a much more promising direction.
Yeezus has been praised as raw and stripped back but with its grating electro sirens and growls and unexpected bursts of what can only be described as noise, it’s questionable.
The album’s finale, Bound 2 inexplicably samples the opening of country singer Brenda Lee’s Sweet Nothings throughout it, dropped in a way that is so disjointed and random it’s like listening to a DJ who hasn’t quite figured out how to make a smooth transition.
In saying that, as fragmented as it may be at times, it’s obvious that someone has painstakingly sat in the editing booth very deliberately working at these sounds and the experimentalism (thankfully) works more often than it doesn’t.
Yeezus has a fair handful of incredibly strong tracks, some harking back to classic Kanye and some showing a more developed and accessible side to the artist.
One such track is Blood on the Leaves which boasts a mix that really should be jarring but somehow flows surprisingly well, going from hard and raw to soft and melodic all the while sitting on top of the kind of strong rhythmic beat alike to those that many of Kanye’s hits have been built on.
Whether the down sides of Yeezus are due simply to over-experimentalism being different for the sake of being different or good ol’ Kanye ego, it’s definitely challenging but as a record, undeniably amazing.
I can’t guarantee fans or any specific type of listener is going to like it, but I can promise you it’s worth a listen.