Review: Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

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Kanye has successfully created a messy and reflective album, which showcases his talent as an artist.

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Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar, Kanye West… With fans waiting nearly three years for another album, Ye released The Life of Pablo on February 14th exclusively to TIDAL.

West initially premiered and broadcasted his 7th solo album and YEEZY Season 3 collection at a live, sold out fashion and music show in Madison Square Garden on February 11th. Yet even though TLOP is now officially out, it seems as though Ye is still not finished working on the album as he took to twitter to say ‘ima fix wolves’. But at least, for now, fans are given new material to listen to.

The first song on this diverse, 18-track album is ‘Ultralight Beam’, which features Chance the Rapper, The-Dream, Kelly Price and Kirk Franklin. When first listening to this song it becomes clear why Kanye referred to TLOP as a gospel album. It opens with a young child preaching, an organ accompanying in the background and a church choir singing in harmony. Yet ‘Waves’, featuring Chris Brown, has a very different electronic and synthesised feel to it. ‘Waves’ is immediate and seems like something that would make it into the charts, whereas ‘Freestyle 4’ is reminiscent of Yeezus due to its atonal and experimental nature. TLOP seems to be a collection of Kanye’s different sounds throughout his music career.

Some of the other stand out songs from the album include ‘Famous’, ‘Wolves’ and ‘Real Friends. ‘Famous’ is an example of Kanye’s wondrous producing abilities as he uses samples from Nina Simone’s ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ and Sister Nancy’s ‘Bam Bam’ reggae track. However, even though this ambitious song is genius in its production, Kanye raps a controversial Taylor Swift lyric where he states that ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, Why? I made that bitch famous’. This has caused uproar in the media even though Kanye claims to have run these lyrics past Swift before releasing the track. Either way this seems to have been a risky move for Ye.

‘Wolves’ is a minimalistic, auto-tuned, lonely piece where West seems to compare his family life to that of Mary and Joseph from the Bible. Frank Ocean is featured at the end of this track singing soulfully and delicately, dispelling the panic that he has disappeared from the music scene. ‘Real Friends’ was first dropped on SoundCloud on January 8th as part of Ye’s G.O.O.D Fridays revival. It is an honest and somewhat haunting track reflecting on alienation. It is a track that allows Kanye fans to witness the less glamorous side to his life.

In typical self-aggrandising fashion, Mr. West has famously stated that TLOP will be ‘one of the greatest albums’ of all time. This statement would seem to be a little too generous when reflecting on Kanye’s discography. However, The Life of Pablo exemplifies all of West’s pioneering sounds, ranging from The College Dropout to the futuristic beats of Yeezus. This album is raw, alternative and reflective.

The Life of Pablo is out now via GOOD Music.

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I'm in my second year studying English Literature. I specialise in easy reads and you will probably find me in Hartley library engrossed in a picture book.

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