Kanye West’s highly anticipated seventh studio album, “The Life of Pablo,” released Feb.14, is the most interesting mess of 2016, thus far.
From his debut record, “The College Dropout,” to his previous effort, “Yeezus,” Kanye West has produced some of the past decade’s most influential hip-hop.
“The Life of Pablo,” however, seems to being a culmination of everything he’s done in music up until this point, as opposed to something that pushes forward and doing new things.
For instance, one could find that some of the songs contain a dash of soul, similar to the aforementioned “The College Dropout,” or the pop-appeal of West’s third album, “Graduation,” and others. However, due to bad tracklisting, this does not come together as well as it should.
Before diving too deep into the negatives, I’d like to point out some of the good things that do come out of this album.
First off, the production on this album is incredible, and features some of West’s most diverse work in terms of sounds, as he really does grab from every album he’s done for different songs, and they’re not all bad.
The intro track, “Ultralight Beam,” is one of Kanye’s best, due to its gospel elements along with a star-making verse from Chance The Rapper.
Also, the moody “FML” delivers a sample of West’s strong writing talent, detailing his struggles with faithfulness and more in his relationship with his wife, Kim Kardashian.
Furthermore, I mentioned earlier that this album is a mess and it really is. The song transitions, for example, are extremely rough, and overall sonically and thematically the album can’t seem to find a singular point.
While this album might have some of his best writing to date in songs like “Real Friends,” “30 Hours,” and “No More Parties In LA,” it also features some of his worst lyrics to date.
This includes the cryptic opening verse of “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” and the intensely misogynistic lines heard on “Famous,” “Highlights,” and “Waves.”
After getting married and having two kids, one would think that Kanye would calm down that type of behavior. At the same time, though, I feel like he’s using his music to vent his frustrations, which he did to near-perfection on “Yeezus,” I just think it didn’t work as well this time around.
Overall, I’m really split on this album. While I like a lot of the elements at play here, they don’t come together that well and it’s pretty disappointing. For an artist who was prided on his cohesive pieces of musical art, this album decides to go against that for no real reason. I’m going to give this album a B-.