It’s not often I can’t physically listen to an album due to it actually giving me a headache. Yeezus is a complete racket; dogs barking, whistles, beeps, lasers, echoes, screams and every other ridiculous piece of production make up Kanye West’s latest creation. From the album cover, to the marketing campaign, Yeezus was never going to be straightforward piece of music.
On Sight, I Am a God, I’m In It and Send It Up all contributed to the aforementioned headache. West is trying so hard to create controversial, shock value fuelled tracks that everything is thrown at the songs resulting in ridiculous music that genuinely is horrible to listen to. Yet apparently this is what West wants, he doesn’t want radio hits, he wants a personal representation of where he is in music right now, if that’s what he wants he’s certainly achieved it. As well as this, it’s not just the production that is painfully ridiculously and ‘out there’, it’s also the lyrics. Verse two of last track; Bound 2 features the worst verse I can think of to come out of West’s mouth. Nowhere lines like ‘Hey, you remember where we first met? Okay, I don’t remember where we first met’ and ‘step back, can’t get spunk on the mink’ lack any real creation and intelligence and are the sort of rhymes you would expect to hear from Tinie Tempah or a 2Chainz guest verse.
Yet with all these criticisms there are still positives, New Slaves is one of the best Kanye West songs, rounded off by an excellent Frank Ocean cameo perfectly executed in the same way Runaway utilised guitar feedback and autotune. The deranged inclusion of Chief Keef and Bon Iver on the same track create a strangely brilliant combination that make for an exciting fresh sound. A Hudson Mohawke assisted Blood On The Leaves is one of the more listenable songs on Yeezus but still insists on being as obscure and different as Kanye intended.
After the near perfect My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch The Throne, Kanye wanted to go for a new sound. Not only did he achieve that, he went leaps and bounds to knock down the walls of the norm and break the boundaries of convention, he tries so hard to challenge the benchmark of hip hop and be a controversial figure in music, that what resulted was a mess of an album that really is the definition of The Emperor’s New Clothes.