By now almost everyone in the entire world has heard that Pitchfake gave Kanye West’s latest album a perfect score, which I believe is one of only a few albums ever to achieve such high status from the site. Since this is quite the occasion, I have decided to review this album a little differently than I normally would. Instead of cuing this up a few times and gradually picking out my likes and dislikes, I am going to simply write this review as I listen to it straight through. After all, it is supposed to be perfect.
(Note: I am seriously doing my best to keep and open and fair mind through this review, regardless of what I think about Kanye as a person or Pitchfork.)
01. Dark Fantasy
Whoa, high pitched vocals. I’m paying attention now. Chicago name drop! I actually like the “Can we get much higher” chorus part. Musically this is alright, and the rhymes are clever at times and stupid at others. This song is pretty repetitive, which sits in the same vein as most mainstream rap, so I’m not surprised. Overall, this song was mediocre but not very impressive.
02. Gorgeous feat. Kid Cudi & Raekwon
Raekwon is the shit. Srsly. Sounds like the vocals were recorded off of a cellphone call. I don’t hate/love it. This track is pretty slow. Kanye just made sure he remained hipster relevant by mentioning American Apparel. Some of these lyrics are insanely lame. This song bores the hell out of me. I’m currently thinking about a pulled pork sandwich. I also just ran out of beer, which is sad. 😦 <– Sad Face
This track picks up the energy a bit and samples a clip from King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” which kind of irritates me. KC was hella awesome. I wonder if Pitchfork knows who King Crimson was, or if they think Kanye came up with that on his own. Another mediocre track.
04. All of the Lights (Interlude)
Instrumental. So far my favorite song on the album.
05. All of the Lights feat. John Legend, The Dream, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Elton John, and a Bunch of Other People
This song has an anthem rap feel to it, which seems fitting with Rihanna’s voice. Do you think she thought Kanye or Eminem was hotter? I like the snare hits on this track. Fergie is on this. Yup. Meh. For that many people to be on this song, it’s surprisingly cohesive, but still just alright.
06. Monster feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver
Bon Iver? Really? Alright, whatever. Remember that Dntel album where he tried to get every person in the world on it, and it ruined the record? Remember how it just looked desperate? I give you exhibit B.
07. So Appalled feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz & The RZA
I like Jay-Z, I like RZA. Swizz Beatz is dece. This song has a slower feel to it, but I think it works. I would venture to say I could actually listen to this song and enjoy it in the future.
08. Devil in a New Dress feat. Rick Ross
I’m seriously running out of things to say. This album just drags on. It generally stays at one pace, and that pace is boring. Nothing about it has been terrible, but it is not exciting at all.
09. Runaway feat. Pusha T
This is pretty catchy. Actually has some emotion it. Kanye and Pusha are letting me know how it is with women. I gotcha, guys. Just realized this song is eight minutes long. Hopefully it switches up a bit, because while it is one of the better songs on the album, eight minutes of it will be a bit much. The last two and a half minutes of this make things more interesting. Thanks, bros.
10. Hell of a Life
Nice fuzzed out bass. I can get down with that. “No more drugs for me/Pussy and religion is all I need.” Ha! A lot of time was just spent talking about ass-fucking and gang bangs. Sounds like dinner with my grandparents. Overall, best song so far.
11. Blame Game feat. John Legend
More John Legend? My dreams have come true! Is there a font for sarcasm? No? Oh. Nevermind.
12. Lost in the World feat. Bon Iver
This song flat-out sucks. Bon Iver should just go away.
13. Who Will Survive in America
Decent ending track?
Wow. This album has mediocre written all over it. There were few parts that could be considered bad, but there were also few parts that could be considered amazing. This album has made its way onto a number of mainstream “Best of the Year” lists, and that honestly just shows how desperate the big business publications (the Pitch included) are for something/anything to talk about. I don’t want to instill too much of my own opinion in this review, but it is really disappointing that so many rap/hip-hop albums out there are so much better than this. Coming close to perfect in this genre would be albums like Aesop Rock’s Labor Days, Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, Deep Puddle Dynamics’ The Taste of Rain… Why Kneel? or Company Flow’s Funcrusher. Kanye’s latest offering is not even close to the caliber of these releases. In fact, there are multiple other rap albums that came out this year that are much better. Gucci Mane’s The Appeal is ten times better than Twisted Fantasy. Big Boi’s Sir Lucious deserves more attention. Let’s be honest, Kanye’s album is what it is: a safe, mediocre release meant for the masses.
*Author’s Note: I have edited the statement about the number of albums Pitchfake gave a perfect score. I originally thought it was only the Kanye and that crappy Wilco album, but Kenny Bernat (a fellow aDeadKid write), pointed out my mistake.