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Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
What are you gonna do? It's the best.
Sure you want to be different, you don't want to be a sheep, blindly following the herd wherever it goes. You don't wanna be a "stan," unable to see any fault with the new work of an artist whose work you've loved before. But what are you gonna do? Lie? Just so you can be different, just to buck a trend? Just to prove a point? That'd be stupid.
Much like three years ago, when Kanye West topped every year-end list in the universe with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, and its centerpiece song "Runaway," we seem to finding a similar state of unanimity in feeling about this year's Yeezus and "New Slaves." You gotta give in. If you're gonna be honest at least. Kanye's operating at a higher level of artistry than any other artist on the planet right now.
It's apparent from jump. Right from the opening synth squalls of "On Sight." From the electro tick-tick-tick. From the bass turned way past distortion. This is something new. Sounds you haven't hear before. Like a spaceship crashing in your backyard. You can't help but look, you can't help but approach. Out of curiosity if nothing else at first. You're being pulled forward by your ears. Kanye's making a statement. "I'm from the future. I'm here to show you how it's going to be."
It's not all going to be pretty. It's not all going to fun. The sounds are discordant, abrasive. The lyrics harsh, abusive. It's nasty. But it's thrilling. Through the whole album. There's no let up. Song after song. Start to finish. (Only ten songs. That's all it takes.) Especially now, six months after its release, Yeezus has revealed itself to be one coherent set piece. With its sound, and its themes. On message, on point.
"My momma was raised in an era when/Clean water was only served to the fairer skin."
That's the world I'm coming from, he's saying. That's the world you made. I didn't make it, and I don't like it. So I'm tearing the whole thing down and starting a new one.
That's what art is, right? Making something new. Even if it's just a little different (and Yeezus is a lot different), making something new that can show people a different perspective, a different viewpoint.
Musically, Kanye is glowing right now. Like a piece of Kryptonite. Yeezus is something we've never seen before. It's a huge accomplishment. A triumph.
What are you gonna do? It's the best. —Dave Bry