I mean, how do I chose between BMTH, ADTR and Yeezy?
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I had a hard time choosing this. And if it was any other year, Bring Me the Horizon would probably have won it. But damn, Yeezy is good. Really Really good.
The album's opening lines spoken by Nicki Minaj give the listener the impression they're becoming involved in something like a fairy tale. It's like your descending into some bizarre dream, like something you've never experienced before. In terms on albums with this tight of production, masterful, thoughtful, humorous lyrics and a cavalcade of guest stars, you haven't seen an album like this. The opening line he spits, "I fantasized this back in Chicago" is Kanye's indication that this CD has been on his mind for a long time.
808's and Heartbreaks is one of my favorite CDs. It's low key, its subtle, its honest and it's sounds really good on some nice headphones. Yeezy took some flak for it. America seemed to be stunned that we had liked Kanye for so long and his ordeal with Swift made him hated by almost everyone. West set out to prove that he was that good and that we were wrong. He was. All of our hating made him better.
Dark Fantasy is phenomenal way to start the CD. His lyrics in this song are up to the Kanye standard ("Sex is on fire I'm the kind of Leona Lewis", "Refresh the page and refresh the memory, respark the soul and rebuild the energy") and he still does very well by rapping himself, putting to rest the accusations that he surrounds himself with better rappers in order to succeed. He proves here he doesn't need other rappers. He can rap. He brings them in because it makes the songs better. Dark Fantasy succeeds at bringing us into the world of MBDTF and by the time the end of the song comes around, the listener isn't ready to leave and wants to see what's down the rabbit hole.
Gorgeous was not a song I immediately liked. The guitar in the beginning always left a bad taste in my mouth and Kid Cudi doesn't really add a lot to it. However, almost every time that I get past the opening, I remember that Kanye's lyrics are again in top form here ("got caught with 30 rock the cop looked the Alec Baldwin", "face it Jerome gets more time than Brandon" "I treat cash the way government treats aids, I won't stop till and my nigga's get it, get it?", "is hip-hop just a euphemism for a new religion, the soul music for the slaves that the youth is missing", "But what is a black beetle anyway? a fucking roach. I guess why that's why they got me sitting in fucking coach"). Put those together with Raekwon's good verse, the piano's and mellow beat, its good.
POWER may be the best song on the CD. It's not the longest, most diverse or have the stellar guest performances, but it encapsulates everything that was bothering Kanye before this CD dropped. It has one of the most arrogant lines on the CD ("I guess every superhero needs his theme music") and it fits wonderfully. His versus are just full of anger and bravado (to borrow a word he used earlier). He is simultaneously proclaiming himself the greatest of all time and that he shouldn't be so amazing. It's that mindset of, "man I'm fucking cool. but its all so stupid" that I love about West. and it's got that line "I don't need yo pussy, bitch I'm on my own dick. I ain’t gotta power trip, who you going home with?".
All of the Lights has the most guest appearances on the CD. La Roux even called it big and bold and complimented West for doing what he wanted to do on his CD. He isn't afraid to share the limelight with anyone. He shares it with 11 other people. And yet, it doesn't sound cluttered, or forced at all. Kanye said that he wanted a unique texture for the song, even if you can barely here it. It is almost to hear the other vocal backgrounds, even when you are listening for them. But I think that actually bodes well for the song. It doesn’t sound like a bunch of people talking. It’s just Kanye being different. It's a song about wanting to show someone the wonderfulness of the world. The lights serve as a metaphor for splendor and glory. And he wants to show them to this person he is addressing. He wants what is best for them and seems willing to do whatever it takes to give them that. It's a touching song. It shows Kanye's softer side. And the power of the instrumentation adds to this sentiment. The emotion is materialized through the music.
Monster is one of my personal favorites. The driving beat behind is amazing. The keyboards sound like something off of 808s but it works for the song. It comes off as more vicious when coupled the rest of the beats. The production here is amazing as well. Samples cut in and out based around the current flow of the rapper. But the highlight of this song is the verses themselves. Kanye raps with ferocity and amazing intensity. What always impressed me was Kanye’s ability to keep the “theme” of the song in his verses. He doesn’t wander a lot and finds very clever ways to continue to talk about the overall message of the song. Lines like “The best living or dead hands down, huh?”, “bought the chain that always gave me back pain”
It took me a while to actually start liking So Appalled. I realized that even though a lot isn't happening in the beat, its still an emotionally charged song. It's flow still works really well and Kanye's spit is just spot on. Jay-Z appears for the second time in two tracks, but his presence isn't unwelcome. He does well and has one of my favorite lines of, "The fuck am I saying, the fuck am I saying, not only am I fly, I'm fucking not playing". Then the other two rappers on the track do really well as well. Especially the line "If God had an iPod, I'd be on his playlist". I also really like the word play in the lines "I met this girl on Valentine's Day, fucked her in MayShe found out about April so she chose to march".
Devil in a Red Dress- This song sounds like a dream. Like a nightmare. I can't quite decide between the two. The tone of the music is haunting, just like how this girl seems to haunt Kanye. It's strange and eerie, but I think it adds a lot to the CD. Especially how it leads amazingly into Runaway with those few piano keystrokes.
Runaway - Amazing. Enough said. I don't know how I can really describe how good this song is. Hip Hop is art and if anyone disputes that point, show them this. The introspective nature of lyrics clash with the tone of the music. The piano and the drum beat come together for a happy feeling, driving hook. Then the lyrics are sad and self deprecating. The layers to the vocals are astounding. He speaks the words under his own sang vocals. The auto tune voice box solo at the end is a stroke of genius. Who thinks to use auto tune as an instrument? a crazy person named Kanye West. Even the solo has layers!
Hell of a Life - Full of auto tune again. However, the chorus is really catchy, with its hypnotic ryhmes of "mind", "line" then "me" and "need". The lyrics in the song are also very good. Kanye in this song is trying to become a better person. He is reforming and this happy song is him building and moving on.
Blame Game - Slow song. Very Emotional. The Chris Rock spoken word at the end borders on vulgar, but I don't hate it. Which is weird. Usually something with that much profanity just appalls me and somehow the piano and the way Chris Rock says it, it makes it sound sincere. It makes it sound like he cares. Like it means something. Not just someone saying a bunch of crude things. I understand this song. I've been in this situation. You want to blame them. It's what it is. Props to Kanye for nailing the emotional side of relationships.....again.
It's really hard for me to not say that Lost in the World is my favorite track on the CD. But it isn't. All of the Lights just encapsulates the attitude of the album so well. But this is a close second. But it's very difficult to even have a favorite. Every song is unique and has its own tone and atmosphere. Each one does something different in terms of a direction for the theme of the album. Lost in the World is a beautiful song in this regard. It's resignation. It's sad, but it's still hopeful. Bon Iver's perfectly auto tuned vocals combine with Kanye's own lyrics and they mix right into the first verse. It's glorious.