Kanye West falls short: Hip-Hop Weekly

Posted by Jenna Postler

Chances are good that you've heard about it, read about it and probably even listened to it all by now: Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." How could you have accomplished all of these things since its release on Nov. 23? The answer is simple. It leaked.

Kanye West's newest album leaked a solid two weeks early on Nov. 9. Consequently, all the big names in music have had a chance to review it. Given all its hype, West's extremely favorable reviews are not surprising. Critics and fans alike expected this album to bring back the sound that we heard from his 2007 album, "Graduation."

I don't agree. Unlike widely respected critics, I don't think that West's new album is revolutionary or even amazing. This is partially because it sounds repetitive. There, I said it; West's new album already feels old to me, and I've owned it less than a week.

Five of the 13 tracks on the album (counting interludes) should sound familiar. Fans will recognize his first two singles, "Power," featuring Dwele, and "Runaway," featuring Pusha T, as well as three tracks from West's popular "G.O.O.D. Friday" series. I had already downloaded "Monster," featuring Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver, "So Appalled," featuring Swizz Beatz, Jay-z, Pusha T, Cyhi The Prynce and RZA, and "Devil In A New Dress," featuring Rick Ross, which West personally released for free as part of the weekly program.

I expected what new material was left on the album to be spectacular. Fans thought that West would completely leave behind the auto-tune that filled "808s & Heartbreak," but, alas, this did not happen.

Unfortunately, while some of the unreleased tracks were amazing, a few fell short. "Gorgeous," featuring Kid Cudi and Raekwon, attempts to exploit Cudi's immensely popular slow, methodical voice on the chorus, but just ends up being boring.

However, West does push himself artistically in this new album. With "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," West takes a theme and runs with it. He reinvents himself as both classier and more complex.

On one of the best tracks of the album, "All Of The Lights," and its interlude, West teams up with Elton John for a hauntingly stunning piano orchestral mix.

Easily featuring the largest number of artists on the album, "All Of The Lights," delivers five minutes of solid talent. The song features Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Tony Williams, The-Dream, Charlie Wilson, John Legend, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Fergie, Ryan Leslie, Drake and Ken Lewis.

West also trys to bridge genres, employing the talents of folk artist Bon Iver on two tracks. West samples and remixes Bon Iver's "Woods," to suit his needs for his own track, "Lost In The World."

The first 60 seconds of the song is comprised entirely of Iver's "Woods." West's background as an extremely gifted producer comes into play in the track as he takes the mellow folk song and mixes in tribal drums and hip-hop beats to create a spirited, interesting and unexpected track.

While I do respect the views of those behind Rolling Stone, XXL Magazine and the collective ratings of Metacritic, a strong determinant in album quality is how long you can listen to the album without becoming tired of it. In the past, I have listened to West's albums on and off for months, but the way things are going now, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" may need to retire a lot sooner.

Jenna Postler is a sophomore from rural Vermont who knows what's hip (hop).

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