* Prices may differ from that shown
An album comes around every now and then that is so different and so unique that you just get blown away and this is the masterpiece that Kanye delivered here. I only decided to review it after listening to his most recent effort Yeezus which unfortunately did not hit the heights of this album and it is time for me to honour this record.
The key with this album is that he has found the right balance. When you look at the chilled out flow of College Dropout and then the synthetic beats and auto tune of 808 and Heartbreaks, this is really the middle ground with layers upon layers of beats on top. In terms of tracks this only has thirteen however I will be reviewing my favourite's ones below.
The first track in the album and one that really sets the album off. It has a great melody with a soft piano but once the beat kicks in then Kanye really does his thing. No auto tune on this track and you really feel Kanye's flow. Apparently this song was based on a Mike Oldfield sample which explains why there is a familiarity. There is a really epic feel to this track and one of the best opening tracks on any album I have heard.
The teaser I saw on YouTube of this track is the first piece that introduced me to this album. I have heard that Kanye literally spent six months without stop composing this track. It really is unlike anything you have heard before but I am not sure if that statistic has any truth. Lyrically this is very powerful like the beat and he raps about his dominance but also doesn't mind mocking himself and how stupid he acts in many situations but at the same time he bigs himself up to new levels.
All of the Lights
Without doubt the most commercial track on the album but nothing wrong with this and of course he needs tracks like this to really promote the album. The hook from Rihanna is excellent and one of the best features she has made. Kanye really knows exactly how to utilise certain artists and their voices and this is no exception. Although Rihanna is the main feature this actually also contains features from a star studded line-up including Alicia Keys and Elton John so not bad for one track.
My favourite track on the album and the one that got me instantly hooked. There is a very melodic piano beat which starts of slow but builds up to a high. There is also a music film for this track which is over 30 min long and definitely worth a watch if you have some spare time. This one has an excellent hook from Kanye himself. I am listening to it right now as I right and I forgot how good this was. I would go as far to say it is one of the best tracks I have ever made. The composition with the beats is perfect and lyrically the flow and what he raps about really just work. It is one of his most honest tracks and definitely worth a YouTube listen if you haven't heard this or the rest of the album.
Overall this is a very strong album from Kanye and one of my favourite albums. I was sad to see Yeezus not match this but that was to be expected as it is very hard to match these type of levels. Kanye really blew all the competition out of the window and showed how to evolve your music and still appeal to the masses. Five stars from me.
Kanye west is a douchebag. His words not mine (runaway), but if he wasn't modern music may be a much different and far more boring place. For every moment of madness under the spotlight, see his outburst at Taylor Swift during the VMAs, there is a moment of musical genius only a mad man could produce. This album is no exception and ranks among his, and hip hop as a wholes, best.
The first thing to mention is the production on this album. Kanye overseas a mass of talented musicians and producers to mould some truly fantastic soundscapes. The Smoky Robinson sampling "devil in a new dress" is one of the best examples as kanye flips Robinson's romantic crooning so that it becomes something completely different. The album sounds like a mixture of Kanyes previous styles and stages of creative growth as his trademark soul samples, used on the college dropout predominantly, mix with the live orchestration of late registration and the electronic elements of Graduation. The emotional tones and some of the autotune remain from 2009's experimental 808s and heartbreaks and are added to kanyes hip hop. A style distinctive from any other hip hop artist to have ever picked up the mic.
Lyrically Kanye struggled a little through his first couple of albums after being shown up by a number of the greatest MCs to ever pick up a mic (Nas, talib kweli etc) but for this album he has significantly upped his game. The only featured artists that can claim to have stood toe to toe lyrically with Kanye are the star turns of Jay-Z's brag rap on so appled and raekwons appearance on the dystopic Gorgeous. Nicki Minaj turns up for one of her few stand out verses on monster creating a career high water mark she is so far unable to match, as she lives with Yeezy and Hov on monster.
The number of features on the album is high with not a single song containing purely Kanye as artists such as Kid CuDi, John legend and Dwele make appearances. Often in modern rap this is counter productive as the features often distort the meaning of the song and distract from the headlining artist, however the true genius of this album lies in getting these musicians to work together to continue Kanyes vision. One of my favourite tracks on this album is a reworking of bon ivers lost in the woods to become Kanyes up tempo lament "lost in the world". This kind of unconventional move carries risks but more of kanyes come off than fail and the album is a monument to what can be achieved when a mainstream musician with Kanyes budget creates something out of the ordinary. A classic no doubt. The album ends in applause and you can't help but clap along. For all his flaws, what would we do without kanye?
Kanye and I have a fairly tumultuous relationship. When his first album, The College Dropout came out, I was at university and my roommate introduced me to the album and I was really impressed. I have a varied taste in music but at that time, I tended towards the more folky, indie, shy-boys-and-girls-singing-about-heartbreak type stuff. I wasn't so into the bravado that went along with a lot of mainstream hip hop. It seems ironic now, but this is what made me like that record - that Kanye seemed more vulnerable, soulful and intelligent than a lot of what was out there.
A couple of awards ceremony outbursts later, my opinion of Kanye West had completely changed. He is such an - I want to use the word 'arrogant' here but I can't find a noun to go with it that is suitable for a family audience - an arrogant so-and-so!
Okay so I haven't talked about the music at all yet but I'm coming to that. What is amazing about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is that it manages to be simultaneously arrogant, chauvinistic, sadistic and unapologetic, while also, remorseful, vulnerable, intelligent, self-aware and ultimately, oddly sympathetic. For the many people out there who find Kanye West a fairly repulsive character, I'm not saying you have to change your opinion of him, but as the subject for a work of art, a self portrait, he is pretty awesome!
In terms of song writing and production, it is another massive, innovative step forward from his previous album, 808s and Heartbreak, although in a similar vein - quite synthy, dark, twisted (why is it so hard to avoid those adjectives?). In the past Kanye has made some bad choices with samples (Touch The Sky ruined Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up for me) but he's on form here. We get a few fairly oddball choices; King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man is used to great effect on Power, and couldn't be much more apt. Using a track as beautiful as Bon Iver's Woods could have gone so wrong, but he manages to pull it off. The album's various contributors (Jay-Z, Rihanna, Justin Vernon, Nicky Minaj) are all used to great effect. Nicky Minaj's verse on Monster is I think the best thing she's done...aaarggh! That noise I just made was me realising I am boring myself and failing to do the album justice so I'm just going to bring out the bold claims and superlatives...
This is probably the best album of the last 2 or 3 years. Certainly one of my favourites. The album as an art form has been hit hard by the iPod generation but records as innovative, intelligent, and cohesive as this might just do a bit to buck the trend.
This album is incredibly interesting. And personally, I love it. Not because all the songs are incredible but because I like how Kanye has just done what ever he wants. If you're looking for an all star cast then look no further with contributions from Kid Cudi, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, John Legend and Bon Iver. This gives all the songs a good bit of variation and stops you from getting bored of one person. If you're looking for controversial lyrics then, again, look no further as Kanye has really not held back on this one. This album contains pretty much every swear word I've heard so if you're looking for an album to play at a kids' party then stay well away from this. You have to be quite committed to listen to this the whole way through as it lasts over an hour and the topics can be quite heavy but if you are up for it then it's well worth it. There's some really clever word play and some amazing bass lines to bounce to. There is a good variation of styles as well. With some songs such as 'All of The Lights' and 'Power' being released into the UK charts with reasonable success so these are not too heavy and most people should like these. Some of the others, however, are more of an acquired taste and are more 'artistic'.
In conclusion, if you're up for something interesting and approach this with an open mind this album is amazing. If you're looking for something popular, commercial and easy to listen to then I'd recommend Take That because this isn't it.
'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' is Kanye West's sixth studio album. His previous albums include 'Graduation' and 'The College Dropout', two albums of which I also absolutely adore. This one was released in November 2010 and went to number one in the album charts in America practically straight away. The four main singles, "Power", "Monster", "Runaway", and "All of the Lights" also went straight to the top of the charts. The main genre of this album is hiphop.
The tracks on this album are:
1. Dark Fantasy
4. All of the lights
6. So Apalled
7. Devil in a new dress
9. Hell of a life
10. Blame Game
11. Lost in the world
12. Who Will Survive in America
My favourite song on this album is definitely 'Runaway'. It starts with a piano being tapped one key at a time, which sounds haunting on its own and sends a chill down your spine. Then the music kicks in, and the chorus follows that. Ifind this song really catchy and I keep listening to this one on repeat, I can't get enough of it. Kanye sings most of this one. He is a rapper and not really a proper singer but I still think he sounds great when he sings in this. I like the sound of his voice when he raps in this, too. This has a sad, despairing feel to it but I still love it.
The Blame Game has a similar sound to Runaway, it also has a haunting tone to it. Lost in the World reminds me of Kanye's older songs, as there is some auto tuning and robotic type sounds in it. Monster is another great tune, its full of swearing so be warned!! But it is a brilliant track, featuring Jay Z and Nicki Minaj who I think both sound great in it, especially Nicki in her verse, she really makes the most of her fantastic voice.
I personally feel that this album is very original. I haven't always thought of Kanye West as being a unique artist; before I listened to his songs properly I thought he was just like all the other rappers out there. But when I gave them the chance I became a huge fan of his material. Personally I think he is much better than other rappers. He raps with emphasis and I really like the sound of his voice. It won't be to everyone's taste but I really like it.
The lyrics in Kanye's songs seem sort of like poetry. I enjoy listening to what he is saying. He is definitely what I would call an artist and not just a rapper. I should probably warn you his lyrics are pretty explicit though.
There are some weak tracks, I love the soft chorus in 'Blame Game', but the end of that song gets on your nerves after listening to it a few times, as it is a bit repetitive.
Overall I love this album and would definitely recommend it to any fans of Kanye West or just hip hop or rap as a whole.
Following his controversial antics concerning Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMA's (Video Music Awards), West became somewhat of a human punching bag for members of the press and public alike. His egotistical personna had been digging his own showbiz grave for quite a while and with his last offering, 2008s 808's and Heartbreak, being met with lukewarm reviews from hip hop fans and critics, it seemed the world was all but ready to hammer the last nail into West's coffin and bury him in under the failed careers of rappers past. However just as the hammer was about to fall, West threw from his casket a silver disc that glimmered so brightly as to distract our attention as he fled from our clutches to rap another day. The disc in question, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West's latest, and in my view greatest, studio album. Containing 12 full tracks of utter brilliance this is no doubt one of the most classic hip hop albums of the past review years, here is my track by track review.
The first track of the album is essentially the title track, albeit in paraphrase. Produced by West himself along with Wu Tangs RZA among others, the song is a combination of intricate and clever verses by west coupled with a sample of In High Places by Mike Oldfield, an interesting but fitting choice which creates a layed back and chilled sound fitting with the albums mellow tone.
9/10 - The strongest opening track of any West album to date, a perfect way to open the album.
Following a great opener Goregeous, featuring singer/rapper Kid Cudi, raises the bar even higher. Over a melodic beat, reminiscent of late 60s vietnam soundtrack, West once again takes the helm as producer. Combining elements You Showed Me by Gene Clark and Roger Mcguinn, West, along with Cudi's short but poetic hook create fluent a linguistic song with themes of redemption and loyalty.
8/10 - An uplifting and strong collaboration with an interesting and unique sound.
The first single from the album is more up beat and club ready than the first two tracks, it is nevertheless a brilliant track and no doubt West's strongest single since Graduation's Stronger. Produced majoritively by S1, with some input from West, we launch straight into a tribal sounding beat mixed with medolic intermissions of chanting. West raps with venom in his voice as he attacks everything from former president Bush and the war on terror to Saturday Night Live.
9/10 - A perfect single choice and could very well become a club anthem in time.
All of the Lights
Two singles in a row with All of the Lights, featuring rihanna, following Power of the line with and epic and emotional beat from, yet again, West himself. Definately one of the more mainstream offerings from the album, aiming more for fans of Rihanna, who more than holds her own between West's fast flowing verses with an enchanting and beautifully sung chorus.
7/10 - One of the weaker songs in terms of the album, but still better than anything West's previous album had to offer.
Three singles now back to back as Kanye teams up with friend and mentor Jay-Z along with Rick ross, Nicki Minaj and interestingly Bon Iver to create the first posse joint of the album. I should probaly stop crediting Kanye as producer but yet again he takes to the studio to create a rather intense beat to which the four take turns to spit out their verse in an attempt to upstage their predecessor. For the most part it is hard to say who comes out on top, but Jay-Z certainly struggles to keep flow as his younger contemporaries rap circles around him.
6/10 - Still not a bad song but at times it becomes a bit cluttered and the differing styles of the artists make it struggle for a definative sound.
Back in business with another, and the strongest, posse cut from the album. Jay-Z returns once more with the likes of RZA, Swiz Beatz and Pusha-T to create an utterly immersive and emotional cut which in turn covers the themes of fame and the current declining state of the hiphop industry. This one really does speak for itself.
10/10 - Perfection in my opinion, everyone brings their A game and with no weak links this song is a flawless piece of art.
Devil in a new dress
Another layed back almost trance orientated piece, for once on this album, not produced by west but an unknown to me Bink. West raps in his more common swagger and bigging up style and eventually hands off to Rick Ross who, to be honest, in this one fails to fit his deep raspy voice in harmoniously with the smooth and melodic beat.
6/10 - A little tiresome in places and very little replay value.
The final and best single from the album. Starting with the simple sound of a piano key sounding slowly, soon a flurry of sound erupts through your speakers creating a simply transfixing sound to the song. West demonstrates some of his keenest and well thought out word play from the album in his verses and delivers a catchy and rhythmic hook which only adds to cosmic tone of the piece.
9/10 - The best single without a doubt, West at his best.
Hell of a life
This is what i would consider a comedic track, and definately one of the more light hearted cuts from the album. Again over a West composed beat, containing obvious sampling of Sabbath's Ironman, he raps 'pussy and religon is all i need', even if he isn't always the greatest speaker, at least he's honest.
8/10 - Simple and fun, nothing spectacular but contains some memorable one liners.
Another sad song about an unfaithful woman of West's past. Featuring John legend who sings an utterly heartwrenching chorus, this is definately the closest thing we get to a ballad from Kanye this time around. The song itself is not that long but their is an interesting skit involving Chris Rock that is worth a listen in the closing minutes of the track.
9/10 - Another well done emotional piece from a man said of having no heart (Subliminal: Taylor Swift Sucks ;P).
Lost in the World
And finally the last full track of the album featuring once again Bon Iver. Sampling the latters song Woods, West create an enticing and beautiful final track. He raps smoothly yet frantically over Bon Iver's high pitched delivery, harmoniously creating an almost operetic sound.
9/10 - A great end to a great album.
One of the best Hiphop/ Rap albums i have heard in a very long time.
For those of you who had written off Kanye West as a has-been, he's back and he's here to prove you wrong. I know a lot of people think that he is an egotistical maniac, and he's better off just keeping his mouth shut, but just look at the music. The man knows exactly what he's doing when he puts his words behind a microphone. Though I have some issues with Kanye West as the man who interrupted Taylor Swift's speech, I must respect Kanye West the artist, especially when I listen to things like his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
This album is huge because he collaborates with almost every big artist in the game. He's a master at coming up with the best collaborations and a star producer, so West obviously knows what he's doing. He was able to bring artists like Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Rihanna, John Legend, and Rick Ross together on one album. I think it's absolutely great what he does on this album. It's clear that he's going back to where he started in songs like "Gorgeous" and "Hell of a Life". However, it's the new Kanye sound that really makes this album really worth listening to. When I hear, "Power", "Monster", or "All of the Lights", I soon come to find that it's a new Kanye sound that combines what we saw in The College Dropout and 808 & Heartbreak.
I am excited as to what the future can bring for Kanye West. He needs to prove a number of critics wrong, and he's starting by doing what he does best: rapping. Buy this album if you miss the Kanye of old and want to hear something fresh by Mr. West.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Dark Fantasy
2 Gorgeous feat. KiD CuDi & Raekwon
4 All Of The Lights (Interlude)
5 All Of The Lights
6 Monster feat. JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver
7 So Appalled feat. JAY-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz & The RZA
8 Devil In A New Dress feat. Rick Ross
9 Runaway feat. Pusha T
10 Hell Of A Life
11 Blame Game feat. John Legend
12 Lost In The World
13 Who Will Survive In America
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Runaway - The Movie