Photo courtesy of Flickr
Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer
In the wake of several controversial statements made in public, Kanye West has released his long-anticipated album. This album, his eighth, is titled “Ye” and was made in Wyoming with the majority of its production handled by West himself. The album is the second of five albums produced by West that are scheduled for a June release, following Pusha-T’s release. A collaborative effort with Kid Cudi, a Teyana Taylor second album and a Nas album, each produced by West, are alleged to follow this one.
“Ye” has seven tracks and is just over 23 minutes in length. There are no officially featured guest artists on the album, but several artists, including Valee, 070 Shake, Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla $ign have unofficially credited vocals on the album.
In terms of sound textures and production value, this album is in the same vein as his last solo album, “The Life of Pablo.” It retains a lot of the gospel themes found on “Pablo” in terms of harmonies and chord progressions. The song “Wouldn’t Leave” is an example.
Producer/engineer Mike Dean’s signature guitar solos can be heard on the song “Ghost Town.”
West is in his orchestrating element on the album’s final two songs. One can almost imagine him insisting that certain harmonies be placed at certain points and drums come in at others, once again displaying his deft hand at music manipulation and collaboration.
A lot of the songs on the album have a stadium-ready feel to them. It’s possible that West made this album with a vision of performing the songs live, much like he did on his third studio album, “Graduation.”
The final song on the album, “Violent Crimes,” is about having a daughter. It is similar, or in the same vein thematically, as Nas’ “Daughter” from his 2012 album, “Life is Good.”
Overall the album is an enjoyable project and easy to listen to. At seven tracks, it is short, precise and doesn’t overstay, but there is just a lingering feeling of this being below West’s usually high eclectic standards. The album is a fitting follow-up to “The Life Of Pablo,” which was also the same in terms of quality.
In order to truly appreciate the music on this album, one would need to be invested in West, the person. The album has enjoyable moments but is, by the standards he’s set previously, an average musical endeavor. The best parts on the album don’t even feature West.
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