Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kanye West Yeezus

So, no, I've not burned a copy. Let's get that out of the way. I know it's leaked. I plan on buying it. But, I'd be a nut if I didn't at least hear it, first. Kanye might be a sold out part of the problem, but he's also probably the most experimental mainstream pop star going. Who's his competition? Thom Yorke? Hardly mainstream.   Can you see, say, Madonna putting out a song called "I am a God"? With hard, unyielding power electronics of a type not heard this side of The Eugenics Council ? Seriously this is some harsh, challenging stuff.  But, in these days when Paul Mccartney is recording with the Bloody Beetroots, I guess things are changing.
Do I have problems with his lyrics? Of course, because I don't think you have to be a black man to see the hypocrisy in using derogatory terms for a black man in a song called "New Slaves". But, at least he's playing with ideas, which puts him head and shoulders above his peers. And musically he's on his own level. It's electronics of a type that only the most avante garde have used up until now.
But is it any good? Some bits definitely are. Songs like "On Sight" and "New Slaves"  are catchy in ways I cannot quite process. I know I'm thinking about the songs, yet I cannot quite say I'm humming the melodies. But then, a song like "I'm in it" I know why I like- harsh west coast gangsta meets deep dub? Yes, please. And LP centerpiece "Blood on the leaves" is a power ballad that turns Nina Simone into a rhythmic tool, with a synth line so bombastic you might think you're listening to some mutant remix of some mid-1980's Asia song, with a fairlight obsession.
But then we get to "Send it up". Holy shit. I've got no words. Both the most abrasive and the most catchy track on the LP- it puts Nine Inch Nails out of business, in a minute flat. Sinister, challenging, body rocking, it demands to be played at top volume and yes, it will annoy your neighbours and might just wreck your stereo and drink your beer.
So, I'm not ready to buy it, yet, but I'm pretty sure I will be.

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