Everyone has different opinions about Kanye West’s new album, Donda, but one thing is undeniable: it’s long as hell. The final tracklist has 27 songs on it, including four tracks with alternate versions, and the total runtime is a whopping one hour and 48 minutes. It’s longer than a lot of feature length films.
Three years removed from his 7-song album experiment, Kanye has changed his philosophy when it comes to brevity. Instead of focusing on making a concise body of work, he went the opposite direction and gave us everything.
In the streaming era, many people interact with albums differently than they used to. After an initial listen to a new project, a lot of fans save their favorite songs to playlists and rarely revisit the rest of the album. So with Donda, Kanye offered up as many options as he could. Don’t like the version of “Jesus Lord” without The Lox? That’s OK, you can listen to “Jesus Lord Pt. 2” instead. Tired of slogging through a two-hour album and don’t want to hear songs like “Donda chant” and “24”? Copy the album over to a new playlist and remove them. We’re in a new era where you can customize albums to your liking.
A lot of complaints about Donda have revolved around its length, and a common narrative has surfaced: “There’s a very good album hiding under there if you trimmed some of the fat.” With that in mind, four members of the Complex Music team—Andre Gee, Jessica McKinney, Eric Skelton, and Jordan Rose—put together our own custom tracklists with the goal of creating alternate versions of Donda that we’ll want to keep listening to over and over.