Hi folks, George MacPherson III here. I was talking to my grandson on the phone recently and I asked him what he was up to during these quarantine times. Myself, I am the ripe age of 85 and so I haven’t left my property in four weeks. My son said my frail immune system can’t even handle a trip to the local supermarket. But I digress.
My grandson, dear Clifford, said that he’s been listening to this Hip-Hop Rap artist named Kanye West. Now, I pride myself on being “with it” when it comes to the latest popular culture. Last time I checked, Mr. West had said something to another singer at some awards show on Much Music I believe or maybe it was the MTV? I like to know what my grandkids are listening to so I decided to look up this Kanye fellow. My grandson says that Mr. West is a god and he calls himself Jesus (although Clifford spelt it Yeezus, damn spell check). Now, when I went on the Youtube on the Internet, it seemed Mr. West’s most popular hits were from an album called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with some very shocking album art. My grandson also happens to be a fan of this little magazine at Corn Puff Records and he said I should do a “first listen review” of Mr. West and so here I am. It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of Mr. West’s album which makes this review even more appropriate! Time to dive into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Mr. Kanye West from 2010 on Rockefeller Records (must be named after old John D.!).
Wow, well I can say first off that this album is a tad long for my liking. Back in my day, the Beatles were able to keep Rubber Soul to a tight 34 minutes but this Mr. West album is over an hour! On track #1 called “Dark Fantasy”, I’m surprised to hear a woman’s voice. I always took Mr. West to be well a mister but maybe I was mistaken. The beat is quite funky at the start of the rapping portion. Ah, Clifford informed me that Mr. West is now the one rapping. Now, my hearing is not what it used to be so I have taken the liberty of reading the lyrics while I listen to the music. And my word. Quite a bit of profanity in this work. But I see Mr. West is familiar with the work of Celine Dion, he mentions my favourite French Canadian singer in the lyric “look like a fat booty Celine Dion.” Overall, this “Dark Fantasy” is quite good although I don’t particularly enjoy all of the cursing. There is a neat beat with a groovy piano near the end that I quite like. On to the next song!
I am not a fan of track #2 “Gorgeous.” Mr. West sounds like he is speaking through a bad microphone or perhaps my hearing aid is acting up. There seems to be quite a bit of static over the words and I can’t hear a thing! There is a neat electric guitar that reminds me of the 1970s. Oh what a time that was! Now, that was some good music! Track #3 “POWER” starts off with some exciting clapping but it gets quite loud. A little too aggressive for me. And again with the cursing! Perhaps I should stop reading the lyrics so closely, they’re quite upsetting, talking about “kissing ass [and] asshole.” No thank you. And what is a “21st century schizoid man”?! Now track #4 “All of the Lights (Interlude) starts quite nicely with some lovely piano and strings. I can get behind this, enough of the noisy effects. I believe this might be my favourite so far! I like the lady's voice on track #5 “All of the Lights.” She’s quite good at singing. Mr. West should include more of her in his work! The rest of the song is not to my liking. Too many voices and too many noises in the background. I can’t keep track of it all. On to track #6 “Monster”! I believe this is a favourite of Clifford’s, he likes to sing it in the car when I drive him to soccer practice sometimes.
Oh my goodness. This song is quite scary! A scream and a roar and “no good blood sucker” and “Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong/Lochness, Goblin, Ghoul!” No wonder it’s called “Monster.” When Mr. West sings it sounds like he’s speaking through a towel or something. Very difficult to decipher. And this Nicki Minaj simply talks too fast. How am I able to figure out what she’s saying?! I think “Monster” is also a little too aggressive for me. Why is everyone so angry? Track #7 “So Appalled” was a lot slower which I appreciate but all these other guys pop in without warning! I can’t keep track. And it’s far too long, 6 minutes and 30 seconds? Come on Mr. West! “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is only 2 minutes and 30 seconds! Now that’s a hit! Track #8 “Devil in A New Dress” is quite nice. Calm, collected, and Mr. West has cut down on the cussing. I believe I can also detect the song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” by Mr. Smokey Robinson although I think the Shirelles did it better!
Track #9 “Runaway” starts off quite nice with a simple piano. Mr. West feels quite sincere in this song and he is no longer yelling at us. I must also say this little piano ditty is quite infectious but why so long Mr. West?! But in track #10 “Hell of a Life” we’re back to the static and fuzzy beat. It all just sounds like noise to me. Where’s the melody? Where’s the rhythm? And I think he may have ripped off the chorus from Black Sabbath! Overall, quite a forgettable track in my opinion. Track #11 “Blame Game” starts quite nicely back with a piano melody and some lovely strings in the background. I also hear Mr. John Legend, what a crooner! I love his Christmas album. I sense some real vulnerability in Mr. West’s words here, underneath all the talk of “bitches” and sex. I think what Mr. West really needs is just someone nice to settle down with. That being said, the portion by Mr. Chris Rock is just too much detail for me, thank you very much. And who is this Yeezy?
We’re near the end now and listening to track #12 “Lost in the World”, I have to say, I am quite lost listening to it. I can’t understand what anyone is saying with all these wobbly effects they’ve placed on their vocals. They all sound like robots but the beat is quite groovy; that got my foot tapping. Regarding the lyrics, I have a few questions. Who is lost in the world? Is Mr. West? I feel like I need some Cliff Notes just to understand these lyrics! It moves seamlessly into track #13 “Who Will Survive in America” to the point where I didn’t even know the next song had started. That’s quite impressive, I think. That being said, I am Canadian and so I’m not sure I know enough about America to know who will survive in that country. Well that was the last track of Mr. West’s album.
What are my overall thoughts? I think I would give My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a solid 6/10. I think it is quite overrated and I don’t know why Clifford likes it so much. You can’t hear what Mr. West is saying half the time because of all the static and effects and when you can understand him, all he does is cuss! Not to mention the length. If Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band could do it in 39 minutes then so can Mr. West! I did enjoy the piano parts and Mr. Legend has a lovely voice. Some of the lyrics were a little too complicated for me. Who will survive in America? How should I know?! I’m not sure I’ll listen to another one of Mr. West’s albums.
Now, next I must figure out this whole podcast thing everyone keeps talking about! How can I watch these podcasts?