There’s a fine line between creative genius and being off the deep end. Kanye West has approached creative genius for quite some time, or has already achieved it depending on who you ask. His self-indulgence might be his greatest obstacle but beyond that, there’s no denying his style and technique are something uniquely original and boundless. Even though he isn’t the most likeable guy, his work has always been something that deserves and receives respect.
With The Life Of Pablo, he’s gone beyond that line by crawling so far up his own “bleached asshole”, he’s completely lost touch with everything other than his own ego. He’s self-aware, but also self-absorbed – as some of the greatest artists tend to be, but so much of this album is made up of half-finished throwaway sounds. The half-assed results of nearly everything are so painfully obvious that it couldn’t possibly be anything but?
Maybe that in itself is where the genius lies; that the only effort put into this project is how much effort he puts into actually finishing very little. The album cover is accurate and appropriate.
There are points when his lyrics are profound and show strength, but they get ruined either by terrible delivery, poor production, or minimalistic experimentation that come out like an incoherent mess, which is surprising given the many guest artists, producers, writers and interpretations of other songs featured throughout the entire record. Rihanna, Future, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, among many others, have guest spots.
Almost everything Kanye has done prior to this is gold. That’s what makes The Life Of Pablo so frustratingly disappointing. An album by someone of Kanye’s calibre can only be this bad on purpose.
1. Ultralight Beam
2. Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1
3. Pt. 2
6. Low Lights
8. Freestyle 4
9. I Love Kanye
12. Real Friends
14. Frank’s Track
15. Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission
16. 30 Hours
17. No More Parties In LA
18. Facts (Charlie Heat Version)