Single Review – Kanye West – Champions

With the chaotic release of The Life of Pablo only a matter of month ago, Kanye West is talking of the release of another album from the G.O.O.D music selection with Cruel Winter. This track is full of collaborating artists with 2 Chainz and Travi$ Scott to name just two. The track is outrageously crowded and with massive conflicting lyrical content from the meaningful to the material. The instrumentation is a primitive version of Drake’s much used style and the track lacks the flair and message of Kendrick Lamar’s recent efforts. I know it is said often, but this is again proof as to why Lamar is ahead of the game musically and lyrically. West did have his moments on this years album, but this won’t be one from the next.

Owen Riddle

Sunday Suggestion – Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney – Only One

Since this is the week of Kanye and all that… here is a look at a track from over a year ago that would have made The Life of Pablo sound quite different had he kept that direction. ‘Only One’ with Paul McCartney is a gentle and lapping track by Kanye’s standards and is an intimate and personal track that’s about family close to him from his Mother to his daughter. Such personal and intimate lyrics require music to compliment and respect it them and calling upon McCartney to help capture that was a wise move from Kanye. This is brought about by the soft, nudging organs and a more subtle auto-tune upon his vocal that is a little less ridiculous than it has been in the past. The chorus still gives way to a refined piece of joyousness with McCartney’s electronically charged backing vocal. It’s a close and emotional song, but one that builds up to more happier climbs too. Though his credibility as an out and out musician may always but questioned; Kanye West’s ability to produce a well made and layered track is becoming less questionable.

 

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Kanye West – Life of Pablo Review

There is no greater enigma on this planet right now, than Kanye West. Recently he has been treading the fine line between genius and stupidity and I for one have no idea which side he’ll stumble. If this wasn’t a music review site I’d give the album 0 just for being exclusively on TIDAL. Such devices only serve to alienate and make music even less accessible. It is no solution for allowing fledging artists to flourish either as quite simply no one wants or needs to listen to TIDAL. It has been a well publicised flop. It almost seems that this album has became all bout saving TIDAL rather than being about Kanye himself. That is the real tragedy here as Kanye is at his best when he is self-indulgent. The complete improvisation of the finishing and release of this album is a little troubling and it feels like the fans have been the last priority in this saga. Nevertheless, comments on his debts and mental health should be left outside of any conversation about his album. Lets just hear Kanye.

‘FACTS’ is primarily a teasing of Drake and the song itself is not too dissimilar from him. With an opening of soulful and cinematic quality, the song quickly gets into the low beats and percussion samples. He boldly spouts “Yeezey Just Jumped Over Jumpman” as well as attacking Nike and running the 2020 election. Lyrically the track is full of recent relevancies and just sheer aloofness. His delivery ranges from more sustained half-notes and more rapid-fire deliveries. This song hints that Kendrick Lamar isn’t about to overshadow him yet and that Kanye still has it. Speaking of Lamar, he features on ‘No More Parties in L.A’. The track plays off the more casual style of Lamar against the louder, shouting style of West. Musically it is more evocative of West’s earlier work and that of Lamar last year with the use of smooth Jazz and Soul. Lyrically it deals with West’s disillusionment of the celebrity lifestyle of Los Angeles and the attitudes of other Rap stars in general. These are set against his own biographical accounts of the very celebrity lifestyle he complains about. ‘Real Friends’ features soft, muted synths and echoed beats. This brings the focus upon Kanye’s clear and isolated vocals and the lyrics they provide. It is a little more melodic and tuneful than other singles from the album, and offers up a change of pace from other tracks from the album.

’30 Hours’ is musically chilled with soft beats and rhythms along with warped backing vocals. This offers up a perfect foundation for West to fire off his lyrics with his typical meandering approach. ‘Waves’ with Chris Brown on lead vocals is stark in its lack of quality against the aforementioned tracks. Nothing makes it stand out from any other hip-hop inspired pop hit and there is no substance or flair to any of it. It just sounds like a Chris Brown track and there is nothing good about that. ‘Father Stretch my Hands’ from part 1 to 2 sees spaced out and pitch-shifted vocals at one end and sharp, chopping beats on the other which at the more garage end of hip hop. Tracks such as ‘Famous’ or ‘Highlights’ are a little lazy and unoriginal for Kanye’s standard and hint alternatively that Lamar is the more relevant artist for this generation. ‘Wolves’ temper this feeling amongst the core album tracks with shifts of imaginative instrumentation from rumbling beats to vocal instrumentation. The album on the whole is truly mixed. It is split between the brilliant and the mundane with some tracks acting as deadweight to accommodate some poor collaborations. It is still an album worth your attention, but Kanye, for all the talk could do better than this.

 

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo = 7.5/10

 

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995