I’ve put off reviewing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, mainly because I’ve been racking my brains for how to give it justice. Basically, there’s no possible way I can put into words how good this album is, it’s the closest thing to perfection and really is one of the greatest albums of all time. This will probably be my longest review as I’m going to review each and every song, it’s the least it deserves.
Opening track Dark Fantasy is introduced by Nicki Minaj quoting Roald Dahl in an English accent, what follows is a crescendo of vocals which somehow remind one of angels and demons singing in unison, it immediately illustrates every aspect Kanye’s going for including the beauty and the darkness detailed in the title. A gritty middle 8 sits profoundly against the instrumental and echoes out with the returning vocals.
Follow up track Gorgeous features a probing, intruding guitar which Kid Cudi harmonises against, again making for the contrasting sound found in the opening track. This acts as a platform for Kanye’s first lyrical onslaught, targeting society, ‘inter century anthems based inner city tantrums, based off the way we was branded’, the influence of hip hop in modern day ‘is hip hop just a euphemism for a new religion? The soul music of the slaves that the youth is missing’ as well as taking shots at South Park. A Raekwon guest spot wraps the song up with the instrumental altering appropriately while a guitar solo finalises the song.
Power for me is one of the lesser songs on the album despite being the lead single, and as you can imagine is Kanye’s opportunity to rightfully brag. Power possesses one of those lines in rap you are blown away by ‘they say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation’, it is simply genius. A welcomed Dwele outro is an elegantly fitting way to end such an egotistical track.
Track 4, despite being only an interlude is simply put, beautiful and I wish it longer than just over a minute. Because of which, it’s strangely disappointing that All Of The Lights interrupts it, enlisting near enough everyone from Fergie to Elton John to help with the middle 8, it’s of course a fan favourite.
What follows are two posse cuts in the form of Monster and So Appalled featuring Jay-Z [on both], Pusha T, CyHi Tha Prynce, Rick Ross, RZA, Bon Iver, Swizz Beatz and Nicki Minaj. The former interestingly features no samples and is a direct creation from Kanye West’s ‘twisted’ mind,it’s the basis for some great spots from Jay-Z and Rick Ross but it’s Nicki Minaj who really comes into her own and drops arguably the verse of her career, it’s up there with the best on the album and one of the guest spots of rap history ‘you could be the king but watch the queen conquer’, Nicki is going at this song with everything she has, putting herself up there with the best ‘so let me get this straight, wait, I’m the rookie? But my features and my shows ten times your pay? 50k for a verse, no album out’. Her incredible verse makes Jay-Z look mediocre. Despite an annoying hook, So Appalled is home to a peak verse from Kanye as well as an outstanding guest spot from Pusha T, a vicious ‘fucking ridiculous’ outro from RZA is a suiting ending to the two tracks that follow each other perfectly.
At track 8 is where My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy hits even greater highs and somehow exceeds the already excellent songs. Devil In A New Dress is one of the best rap songs of recent times. Everything is perfect, from the beautiful Smokey Robinson sample, to Rick Ross’ incredible verse in which he brags about ‘getting Tupac money twice over’, that’s not to mention Kanye’s verses, of which are home to lines like ‘I ordered you jerk she said you are what you eat’ and ‘text message break ups, the casualty of tour’. It’s one of my favourite songs, period.
At which point, you think the album couldn’t get any better, of course you’d be mistaken because what follows is Runaway. A chillingly isolated piano is nurtured to the point of explosion with drums and violent screams demanding to ‘look at ya’, I could be here all night quoting outstanding lyrics from West himself but it’s Pusha T’s verse that stops you in your tracks. ‘Every bag, every blouse, every bracelet comes with a price tag, baby, face it’. Of course the song could easily end there, but oh no, this isn’t your ordinary album, in the way We Major revitalised itself, Runaway isn’t done yet. What follows is a barrage of autotune, guitar feedback and ‘chugging’ chords that drag it along. It’s simply staggering that it works as well as it does. Only Kanye.
Following from the vicious ending to Runaway, Hell Of A life follows in suite with a disgusting [ly incredible] sound that does the lyrics justice in painting a picture as vulgar and graphic as possible ‘Make her knees shake, make a priest faint, uh Make a nun cum, make her cremate, uh’. But, like with most of the music on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye still isn’t done, in this instance he finishes with a semi pornographic recording blended with a metronome, once more, such a daring risk is pulled off.
The John Legend helmed Blame Game is one of the more measured and redacted tracks on the album and the lyrics are of course as sensitive as you’d expect by now, they come crashing down with a perfectly utilised cameo from Chris Rock in which Kanye’s love interest accidentally rings him during a sexual liaison with Rock. It’s both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, something again that is an incredible feat to achieve.
Lost In The World/Who Will Survive In America finalises the album as near enough perfect, sampling Bon Iver’s Woods while injecting it with a bit of Kanye fire. It’s progressive and starts with just Iver’s voice plus a little vocal accompaniment, much like opening track Dark Fantasy it explodes into a concoction of drums and rhythm with only Kanye West’s vocals able to tame it. Kanye himself is quoted as calling the lyrics on Lost In The World some of his best ever and he certainly as a strong point.
As I said, my review of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was going to be a long one so for the those of you who stuck around to read it all, I thank you, but it’s the only way I could ever do the album any justice, by being as in depth and thorough as possible. It’s easily Kanye’s best album. It’s easily the best rap album of the last five years. It’s easily the best album of the last five years and it’s probably one of the greatest albums of all time, at least in my opinion. The word ‘perfect’ has been thrown around a lot during this review but it’s the closest word I can think of to describe My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy