Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West

Every year I find myself annoyed by the year end results of Pitchfork.com because every year the website picks a rap or hip-hop album to praise with every bit of positive energy the staff can muster. And, every year I find myself pissed off that the site is dismissing other bands who are better because it feels right for the hipsters to hold up someone who is not "one of them." This year it seems Kanye West is the winner of their highest praise. I can't remember the last time I saw the site give an album a 10 point scored review, but it has happened. And, Mr. West should be so proud.

To make matters worse, I'm not sure how far off Pitchfork is this time around. In fact, I'd almost agree with their praise. My first listen of Kanye West's album left me in shock. The album is as over the top, bright, and disorienting as a disco ball smashing to a crowded dance floor. This is some entertaining, crazy, pop cultured music. My jaw is open in awe.

I have never and will never respect Kanye West as a person. He is larger than life. He is too arrogant. Too consumed with self to ever do any good. And, for that matter, too self consumed to ever do any real harm. He's just a presence to appear and annoy from time to time. But, sometimes you have to forget the personality and focus on the art.

West writes some incredible lyrics. There are moments of rhyme throughout the disc that took me off guard. I was impressed. I was excited. This is a street wise poet using his money and fame to share his own tortured soul. Or, at least, the tortured soul of the character he has created through his music and public persona. Is an artist ever just one person? Or made up of multiple attempts at creating and recreating?

I don't know enough about Kanye West's past music, about the current state of rap music, or about all the references West throws out throughout the album. So I can't really dissect the album. And, therefore, I can't really call it a best of the year. Because I am so far removed from the reality of the album as singular tracks. I can only experience the pieces as a whole.

I believe this album is truly West's beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy. His entire celebrity has been a series of beautiful, dark, twisted events. But, in the end, he is pleased because it has always been about this end result. West is a man of dream and fantasy. With this album it is quite clear West is deep inside that fantasy. I hope he remains there.


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