Friday, December 10, 2010

"don´t pay attention to anything you see in the news"

this came kind of late, i decided to read kanye west´s review on pitchfork out of curiosity. i thought it was a pretty brilliant psychoanalysis of our times, and how almost about everyone i know feels this way even if they don´t know how to say it. i´ve never been a huge kanye follower, but you can´t deny the ego this one wears.

With "Runaway", he rousingly highlights his own douchebaggery, turning it into a rallying cry for all humanity. Like many of his greatest songs, it's funny, sad, and perversely relatable. And while the royal horns and martial drums of "All of the Lights" make it sound like the ideal outlet for the most over-the-top boasts imaginable, West instead inhabits the role of an abusive deadbeat desperate to make good on a million blown promises. "Hell of a Life" attempts to bend its central credo-- "no more drugs for me, pussy and religion is all I need"-- into a noble pursuit. As a woofer-mulching synth line lurks, Kanye justifies his dreams of not sleeping with but marrying a porn star, peaking with the combative taunt, "How can you say they live they life wrong/ When you never fuck with the lights on." Inspired by his two-year relationship with salacious model Amber Rose, the song blurs the line between fantasy and reality, sex and romance, love and religion, until no lines exist at all. It's a zonked nirvana with demons underneath; a fragile state that can't help but break apart on the very next song.

The haunted, Aphex Twin-sampling "Blame Game" bottoms out with a verse in which Kanye's voice is sped up, slowed down and stretched out. The effect is almost psychotic, suggesting three or four inner monologues fighting over smashed emotions. It's one of many moments on the record where West manipulates his vocals. Whether funneling some of his best-ever rhymes through a tinny, Strokes-like filter on "Gorgeous" or making himself wail like a dying cyborg in the final minutes of "Runaway", he uses studio wizardry to draw out his multitudes. Tellingly, though, he doesn't get the last word on the album. That distinction goes to the sobering tones of Gil Scott-Heron's 1970 spoken-word piece "Comment #1", a stark take on the American fable. "All I want is a good home and a wife and children and some food to feed them every night," says Scott-Heron, bringing the fantasy to a close.

On "POWER", Kanye raps, "My childlike creativity, purity, and honesty is honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts/ Reality is catching up with me, taking my inner child, I'm fighting for custody." The lines nail another commonality between the rapper and his hero. Like Michael, Kanye's behavior-- from the poorly planned outbursts to the musical brilliance-- is wide-eyed in a way that most 33 year olds have long left behind. That naivety is routinely battered on Twisted Fantasy, yet it survives, better for the wear. With his music and persona both marked by a flawed honesty, Kanye's man-myth dichotomy is at once modern and truly classic. "I can't be everybody's hero and villain, savior and sinner, Christian and anti Christ!" he wrote earlier this month. That may be true, but he's more willing than anyone else to try.

Ryan Dombal, November 22, 2010
for pitchforkread the rest.

at some parts shallow but a shallowness full of honesty. all i can say is that even if we are or have been all over the place, there will come a time where we´ll have to choose.

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