Yeezus is no longer king: a review

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Everybody has feelings about Kanye West. Every person you will see doing person things in a normal fashion participating in society has heard of and has to some degree developed a codified  idea and opinion of Kanye West.

Throughout his 15 year bender-esque career, he has rubbed elbows with entire trunk loads of genres, reputations, styles, friends, enemies, lovers, and, perhaps most famously, haters.Yesterday he claimed George Bush ‘didn’t care about black people’. Today he bites his thumb at liberals and continuously inflates the biggest conservative culture bubble this side of the 21st century. It’s Kanye West.

Amidst his maelstrom of personality, West treats his music like a hot potato, tossing it from gospel based R&B to conventional hip hop to soup pop to synth pop to industrial to trap and the checkerboard in between.

At any rate, the make up of West’s image, currently consisting of a steel trap Christianity conversion trip, gloating included, has turned social media into a giant giddy mosh pit. His announcement of “Jesus is King” was the light at the end of an inestimably long tunnel, only understood as approachable moments before exit. At every blurted out date, I stayed up until 1 AM. Three times I went to bed empty handed.

When West missed his 4th midnight release and released “Jesus is King” at 11:30 in the morning, and once I had enough time to sit down and wrap my ears around this album, I felt like the roller coaster I had been riding slowly upward for 2 months went off the deep end as glacially as possible. Maybe this comes from a wholesome desire to genuinely spoil his fans with the best music he can possibly muster. Anyway, this album is not good.

First off, track one, “Every Hour,” kicks off the album like Kanye just decided to press play at some point on his Pro Tools timeline. This track is lively and the bass-piano combo is something I would have liked to have seen more. The southern baptist style choir harmonies are good as well. Though it ends as indiscriminately as it started.

But “Selah,” as atmospheric as it thinks it is, is preachy above all else. West’s agitated delivery of contrived anecdotes and biblical finger wagging doesn’t even have a good beat behind it to distract me.

“Closed On Sunday” has Kanye comparing his non-religious fans to Chick-Fil-A with a straight face.

From “On God” to “Hands On,” the album just falls through the floor. Any enjoyment I am able to gleam from these tracks is tangential. I can’t really appreciate a whole track, just production elements of a few tracks. “Water” might be the exception, but even then Kanye derails the track a minute and a half in with a robo-pastor delivery.

“Use This Gospel” is the unavoidably the best song on the album. The mixing of the choral Kid Cudi-esque humming is on point, perfectly supporting bars from Pusha T and No Malice. Oh and Kenny G has a sax solo near the last third of the track. Still, “Use This Gospel’s” goodness kind of gets buried by the fact that 90% of the tracks on this album can’t even approach it.

Maybe this is just something I value, but I was so prepared for the album cover to mimic Yeezus in some way, and I guess he did with the vinyl, but the cover seemed as lazy as the music itself in a way.

(To read the rest of the review, visit harberherald.com)