Original cover for Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This album is by a man possibly just crazy enough to come up with the ideas and with friends important enough to help him carry it out. Kanye West‘s fifth record was already in the news long before it hit stores and that isn’t even taking into consideration his “duel” with Taylor Swift and whoever else he has lashed out over the last year. This year, Kanye took it upon himself to release a new song on his website every Friday in what he called G.O.O.D. Friday., most of which ended up appearing on this record. Later on, the cover for the record ran into controversy when some music outlets announced they would refuse to stock the album unless an alternate cover was chosen. In Kanye’s case, all publicity is good publicity. The album’s first week sales were the true indication of that with nearly half a million sold.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy isn’t a typical rap record. Genre-wise, it’s almost hard to classify with an abundance of tracks containing non-traditional hip-hop instruments such as piano and strings. To be a rapper able to make songs that aren’t centred around beat-heavy loops definitely shows Kanye’s ability to conjure outside of the box. This ability, however, makes me wonder if Kanye is actually a creative genius or if he just has a lot of really good luck. Sometimes, the songs sound like he was just messing around to see what he could come up with and sometimes, it seems self-indulgent because when he does come up with something completely out-of-the-water good, he runs with it, and runs and runs some more. So what sounded awesome is now being dragged out or repeated too much.
On that note, there are good moments on the record. All Of The Lights is a huge collaborative effort with a handful of other artists including a couple of awesome lines from Fergie and a chorus from Rihanna. The entirety of Monster is the album’s best track with an awesome rap from Nicki Minaj who steals the song. Kudos to Kanye, known for his ego-centric attitude, that he can pass the mic on his own record to someone else and not just share the spotlight, but actually temporarily give it away.
There’s a throwback to some of his older records like on Devil In A New Dress feels like something from his debut album The College Dropout while Runaway feels like an extension of 808’s & Heartbreak, with a newfound ability to point out his own faults in relation to some of his more recent negative outbursts.
Does the album live up to all of the seemingly-impossible positive reviews it has been getting? I will ultimately say no. Do I think it’s a bad record? Definitely not. I think it improves upon his last record by quite a bit and sets the bar for his next pretty high.
1. Dark Fantasy
2. Gorgeous [featuring Kid Cudi & Kaekwon]
4. All Of The Lights [Interlude]
5. All Of The Lights
6. Monster [featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver]
7. So Appalled [featuring Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz and The RZA]
8. Devil In A New Dress [with Rick Ross]
9. Runaway [featuring Pusha T]
10. Hell Of A Life
11. Blame Game [featuring John Legend]
12. Lost In The World [featuring Bon Iver]
13. Who Will Survive In America