What's the story?
Kanye West's new album
So Help Me God Swish Waves The Life of Pablo's been almost three years in the making. It sort of goes without saying, too, that the follow-up to 2013's Yeezus has courted more controversy than your average episode of Ex on the Beach. The album title's changed approximately a gazillion times, Wiz Khalifa had quite a lot to say about one of 'em along the way *and* he's faced criticism for is misogynistic lyrics referencing Taylor Swift and wife Kim Kardashian.
Oh, and all this without the album even being properly out there yet. Only 'Ye, eh.
Now we're not gonna lie, the early lyric leaks from The Life of Pablo didn't exactly fill us with much hope given their pretty gross message; but since we've been fans of Kanye's MUSIC for years we went into this with an open mind and a pair of open earholes. So let's see what all the fuss is about, shall we?
How does the album pan out?
What with this being Kanye's eighth solo studio album (we're not counting Watch the Throne or the Cruel Summer compilation), you sort of know what to expect but also have NO FRICKIN' IDEA what to expect all at the same time. You know you're gonna get ridiculous lyrics, you know you're gonna get a whole load of ego and you know you're gonna get some pretty experimental shit. What you don't know, though, is what form it's gonna take as a BODY OF WORK (ooh, get us.)
Kanye basically has an album for all emotions. Whatever stage you're at in your life, whatever's going on, whether you're on top of the world and sassy af or feel like the world's just swallowed you up; he can provide a suitable soundtrack.
Ready to slay each and every basic bitch around you? Yeezus is your record. Feeling pretty down and a bit of a melancholic mess? VOILA: 808s & Heartbreak. Somewhere in between? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is your friend. So how does The Life of Pablo hold up, then? Well it kinda feels more...confident and carefree than the rest of his back catalogue. That doesn't mean it sounds like he's put in less effort; but now he's a father of two and seems to have (sort of) found his way in life it just feels a bit less 'LISTEN I'M REALLY CONFIDENT HONESTLY BELIEVE ME I'M AMAZING' and more 'Yeah, this is me. Deal.' Less try hard, basically.
Tracks most likely to top the charts:
Oh HERE WE GO. Essentially 'Famous' is the standout single on the album - what with its Rihanna feature and the fact its one of the more melodic moments of the record. The thing is, though, this is the one that caused *that* Taylor Swift drama (the lyrics are ridiculously misogynistic, which is a shame 'cos otherwise it'd be an absolute bop.)
Elsewhere, opener 'Ultralight Beam' doesn't scream single but is another standout song, 'Highlights' is catchy af (again, the unnecessary slut shaming Kim Kardashian lyrics let it down) and FML's one of the more commercial tunes on there.
Kanye isn't really a singles artist these days though, is he? Y'all ain't getting a 'Gold Digger' or 'Stronger'-style smash on The Life of Pablo. Soz.
We'd listen to it...
Like we said, there's a Yeezy album for all moods - but this record kinda crosses over and covers 'em all on one record. It's pretty chill compared to, say, Graduation or Yeezus; but it's loads more upbeat than 808s. We'd probably say it's more along the lines of Late Registration.
Sat around our room with nowt but pizza for company? We'd whack 'Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1' on. Getting ready to go out? 'Waves' is the one. It's pretty versatile in that respect, really.
The album summed up in emojis:
Really great songs sometimes let down by lame, unnecessary lyrical content, basically.
Rating out of five:
4 stars ****
Kanye West's best album will probably always be 808s and Heartbreak (followed by Yeezus.) Sorry 'bout it. The Life of Pablo's still pretty brilliant and does show signs of pregression, though; and that's gotta be hard when you're eight albums in and have a *lot* to say day-to-day, right?
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