Did You Hear? Kanye has a new album out.

If you’ve been to any music site, and even a lot of non-music sites, over the past few days everyone is talking about Kanye’s new record, Yeezus.  I’m putting off listening to the whole album, but I did listen to the one track a lot of people seem to be singling out as the “song” on the album, Blood On The Leaves.  The album as a whole has been getting some rapturous reviews, including a 9.5 from Pitchfork today and a mostly glowing review from Steven Hyden, who I think is one of the best music writers out there these days.

Taking a vocal sample from Nina Simone’s cover of Strange Fruit and a great horn sample from trap artist TNGHT, this has the makings of something that could have appeared on his last album.  That’s a good thing.  Kanye is autotuning himself again, that’s no surprise.  He adds in some piano around the edges and then he drops the TNGHT sample and a nice thundering bassline.  This is even better.

And then he just keeps adding stuff.  A tinny snare and highhat that distracts from the horn and bass.  The Simone sample apparently has been pitched up (Autotuned?) and gets annoying as the song continues (especially the “breeze” sample just grates on me).  Kanye, go ahead and autotune yourself as much as you want, but leave Nina Simone out of it.  I totally expect him to autotune his child’s first word at this point.  When he pushes all the fluff to the side, you have the makings of a great song.  But this is like 1/3 of a great song, 1/3 of a cluttered song, and 1/3 of a song that shouldn’t be part of the song (the last minute and a half).

Rick Rubin was brought in by Kayne to help streamline the album, as he’s been known to get a lot of sound out of spare arrangements.  I’m curious to know what he stripped out of this song because there sure seems like there’s a lot left.  It’s almost like he got Kayne to agree to cut the fat for parts of this song, but not the whole thing.

I’m probably being a little harsh, but when lots of people are clamoring after a few days of a release that this is the “BEST THING EVAR!” and coming from an artist like Kayne, I was expecting something better.  It’s a good song, but certainly not a great one, even in his own catalog.  Hopefully the rest of the album will be more consistent.


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One Response to “Did You Hear? Kanye has a new album out.”

  1. Sriram Says:

    Realistically, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was probably for me the best rap album since maybe Paul’s Boutique or thereabouts. That album is all excess like this, but it works a lot better. I am curious about the album as a whole – no way it will be “bad”.

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