Being an 'innovator' means that Kanye constantly has to stay ahead of the curve, an exhausting job. Given that most of the audience is way too far away to see his face, they provide a vivid, readable visual. These rants are almost psychedelically self-referential. Don't expect this to be a top-down-and-cruising summer album either. There is a mountain in the arena! In truth, he sounds like he's drowning in his own life.
Regular holiday pageants aren't twisted enough for your family? The whole show sounds like luxury. As for Ye being at least some kind of genius? Still, his anti-consumerist lyrics are hard to swallow given his love for all things luxe. He digs into emotional places that are dark and weird and sad maybe explain why he prefers to wear a mask. One technology we forgot to mention in that list: the snow. .
The best tracks on Yeezus are those that try to make peace between the Kanye that was and the Kanye that could be. But the main thing that makes the Yeezus show totally riveting? Halfway through the show, that, too, turns into a mountain. But you also probably wouldn't have dropped a bunch of cash on Kanye tickets. But they never show, the song just clangs to a disappointing end. Your grandma would dig it. The interviews he's given in anticipation of its official release today read like the rantings of mad man shouting from the rooftops, throwing a tantrum and pounding his fists until everyone shuts up and listens.
To recap, there are two mountains in the arena. It has the slow, soulful wave-your-hands groove of his first three albums. At times, the song sounds unfinished, but that may be because Yeezus is wisely minimalist. And there's a second stage that looks like an iceberg, bringing to mind a trapped polar bear floating out to sea. If you want to see every state-of-the-art arena concert technology in one show, this is the show. Late in the show, the mountain splits in half and becomes a volcano. Yeezus is about Kanye going for your jugular, and at times it works and at times it simply doesn't.
They clearly loved every minute. No one has gotten this avant-garde in an arena since Sonic Youth's opening set terrified Neil Young fans in 1991. But judging from his shows at Brooklyn's Barclays Center arena this week, we don't quite get the hate. Not only does Kanye have a joint album with Chance The Rapper on the way titled Good Ass Job, which he confirmed Monday night in Chicago, but Ye is also readying a new solo album called Yandhi, or so it looks like. The show is crazily entertaining, hugely ambitious, emotionally affecting really! The album itself is just as strenuous.
Kanye was going for something you've never heard before, but different doesn't necessarily mean successful. Unsurprisingly for the control-obsessed producer, Kanye gets the little things right. It's not like he isn't aware that he's being provocative. Kanye also compared himself to inventor Nikola Tesla and Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose way-out-there 1973 movie The Holy Mountain is a key influence on the show. It's sampled for a song about baby mamma drama with possibly the most pithy lyrics on the album. Which seems like an okay metaphor for what it must sometimes feel like to be Kanye West.
Not only does Kanye's aesthetic exist in the nexus of art, money and fashion embodied by events like Art Basel, the rapper is clearly one of the architects of that aesthetic. Which is fitting, because the Yeezus tour totally does have all of the lights, and they are all flashing pretty much all of the time. Over the last few years, Kanye has pioneered a new form of superstar entertainment: the Auto-Tune rant. As for the people who actually wanted to be there? Don't expect Rihanna hooks or sing-alongs, because you'll get none of that. If you were inclined not to like him, you'd find tons of reasons to confirm your dislike in this sprawling, indulgent, emotionally messy performance.
Yes, Yeezus shows a more sexual, animalistic side of Kanye's personality, but aside from that, he is still talking about the same things — money, fame, clothes, and women he wants, lost, or can't have — in basically the same way. At Barclays, he laid into a former head of a multibillion-dollar company who has been giving him dubious advice about how he presents himself publicly. Here are 11 things about the tour that prove it: 1. He originally teased the album hours earlier on Monday when he shared the cover art with no caption. To paraphrase The Big Lebowski, he might be an asshole, but he's not wrong. The moral of the story? But we would love to see Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze turn it into a movie. The music is trying really hard to move forward, but the man stays in exactly the same place.
See the corny Sunset Strip-style metal noodling that opener Kendrick Lamar's guitarist occasionally unleashed on Tuesday night. Sonic flourishes, like guitar solos courtesy of his supremely musical partner Mike Dean who alternated between a large bank of synths, bass and guitar were tasty in a way that other rappers don't quite get. Just keeping track, so far we have two mountains, one devil, one White Jesus, and control of the weather. Whatever they were doing, it was totally riveting. For fans of Kanye's older sound, the last song on Yeezus, 'Bound 2' is a thank you card for sticking to the end. West, in the case of Yeezus he's mostly running on a treadmill, soaked in sweat, chugging on electrolite riddled sport drink as he tries to catch up to the man he wants to be. Because of that, there are moments in the album where what's being said sounds incredibly silly compared to the hard sounds in the background.
It is hard to take Kanye seriously while he's barking out an order for a croissant. Kanye's team of female backup dancers, clad in nude bodysuits or weird fur bibs, don't dance as much as creep in discomfiting, slow processions around the stage, like priestesses in a bizarro mass. It was a departure from what they understood as his sound, an envelope pushing hip-hop album, but like on Yeezus, the best songs are the ones that sound most effortless. Here, melody is not a priority. Another issue with Yeezus is that these hard sounds aren't necessarily backed up by hard or evolved lyrics.