Stupid Opinion About Yeezus

24 Jun

I hate reviewing albums. It’s the worst. Music is so primal, and takes so many skills that I lack like motherfucker, I feel absolutely like a boob every time I attempt it. And that was before I read Outliers and had all the hard-bound second-hand coffee-stained facts about how people can’t really tell good music apart from familiar music presented in such an easy to digest way. (The music that middle America and tweens call “good” is really just stuff they don’t have to think about) I’m basically paralyzed when it comes to writing about music. One tip I was given was to listen to an album seven times before making an effort to review it. I’m not sure if this is to combat or co-conspire with the familiarity principle or not, but it is slightly better than forming an opinion after the first listen.

Kanye-Yeezus

The first listening of Yeezus had more questions that anything resembled a stupid or otherwise opinion about it. The album felt important, seemed unique and had just a hint of genius behind it, but it was nothing like the powder-keg blast of excitement from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. After that album my jaw was on the floor over the creative explosion my ear drums witnessed. I couldn’t hit the loop button fast enough. Everyone that crossed my path for the next two months was subjected to high praise and hyperbole about it. It was my main topic of conversation from everything from job interviews to opening remarks at my grand-aunt wake. Going in to the first play of Yeezus I knew I didn’t want the same thing as MBDTF, but I wanted something that I could at least wrap my head around. I took my time to dwell on it and figured I’d give it a few days before returning to it and forming a stupid opinion about it, but then a text message in the middle of the night from a family member asking me with sincere concern if I still liked Kanye made me cranked up the iPod to put in the next six listens.

The second time through the beats didn’t seem as abrasive to me and I warmed up to the jumps in thematic tone from the beginning of one song to end of it.  I thought about the idea of this being an album that could be appreciated, but not played regularly. It didn’t hold much weight though. Music needs to be heard to be appreciated, and pop music is no place for a John Cage think-piece concert. The more I listened to it the more I appreciated it, now was this due to familiarity or genuine appreciation of the music? I couldn’t say. It was somewhere around the fifth listen it was announced that Kim and Kanye had named their baby North. I tried to look at it with a fresh perspective of fatherhood and hoped the whole thing would suddenly snap into perfect sense, but it didn’t. The revelations through the next few spins didn’t open any doorways to understanding either. By this point well after my seven listens, I just kept thinking about it even after the record was off. Where’s the Rick Rubin’s influences? Is Kanye shying away from the spotlight? Did he burn too bright? Does he hold place a higher price on growth as an artist than he does on making popular music? I couldn’t tell what it was with the album. I still can’t.

So, ten plus listens later and I’m still full of questions. I do know that Kanye still has a god-complex and loves challenging himself artistically.  He could love challenging his audience too. Yeezus may be an attempt to offend people in the most post-post modern way possible, by challenging people to think about their music. It isn’t easy, and I’m sure the last thing people need is an album that will challenge them to think when all they really wanted was another summer album to dance to in the club, but my first impression stands; The album feels important, seems unique and has just a hint of genius behind it. If you allow me a stupid analogy as my parting thought, if Kanye West albums are like Charlie Kaufman movies, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is The Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind, while Yeezus is Synecdoche, New York.

-C. Charles

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2 Responses to “Stupid Opinion About Yeezus”

  1. Carl Wells June 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Was there a lit candle somewhere in the room while you were listening? Apparently that’s another unwritten requirement for a first listen to an album upon reviewing. Maybe it is just assumed that something is usually lit and smoking where music critics are involved.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Stupid Opinion About Comfort Albums | Stupid Opinions Written Poorly - September 3, 2013

    […] music doesn’t interest me and partly because the only music I find worth talking about is Kanye West. It was pretty straight forward, I’d let Caitie tackle all the hard-hitting stupid opinions […]

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