FULL COURT PRESS: "Yeezus" doesn't measure up

The Daily News




You will be nodding your head, and not because you’re tired either. Beat after beat will have you on the edge of your seat. 


Kanye West’s “Yeezus” opens with the bass-heavy track “On Sight.” The hook fits in as well as any in the entire album, which is not very well at all.


Some have called the album fresh, cutting edge, genius even. I think of said compliments to be covering up West’s blundering of an attempt to be all of those things.


Most every track has the essence of, at some point, two songs within one. Several hooks are extended to sound like short verses that just don’t jive. 


Perhaps you’ll like it, but it wasn’t for me. 


With the exception of two songs on the entire album, “Blood on the Leaves” and “Bound 2” West’s personal style went out the window. 


West’s auto-tuned voice works extremely well with the sampling of Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit.” “Blood on the Leaves,” which mirrors the title of Jeff Stetson’s 2004 novel about racial injustice in 1960’s Mississippi, implies that some deep message would lie within.


Instead, it merely addresses West’s past relationships. It does, however, speak to the fact that West has to deal with at least one of his exes in public. Such emotional stuff. 


The feel that fans, myself included, had come to love throughout West’s career is gone. “College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” “808’s and Heartbreak,” and his most recent album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” all delivered content with actual context. 


Lyrical substance is almost completely absent from this album. Most every track runs out of steam and climaxes with some group of one-liners about West’s sex life. Which, although I was concerned about, was not what I wanted the focus of this album to be. Especially once I knew that tracks like “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” would be featured. 


That reminds me, “New Slaves” is great. I have to give credit where it’s due. The bass line is probably the fiercest on the album, and with the fourth song, listeners get some actual lyrics.


West delivers a convincing message about today’s society.  The first line of the song, “My momma was raised in the era when clean water was only served to the fairer skin,” sets the tone for a track packed with controversial lyrics. 


West speaks to the racism he encountered before getting rich, “Don’t touch anything in the store,” and then the racism he encounters now “come in, please buy more. What you want, a Bentley? A fur Coat?  A diamond chain? All you blacks want all the same things.”


I was glad to hear West attack some real issues, and on top of solid beat, too. 


West closes the album with a series of slow beats, with softer bass lines that leave a hunger for more of the edgy music that was featured in the first half. 


The album’s finale is nearly a 180 degree turnaround from “New Slaves.” An acoustic sample dominates the song, and shallow lyrics just escalate the confusions that surround West’s relationship with Kim Kardashian.


He teases the potential for the two getting married with the lines “Maybe we could still make it to the church steps. But first, you gon’ remember how to forget.” 


To close the song, and the album, West says “Jesus wept.” 


So did I, Kanye. So did I. 


7/10 



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