Kanye West - Dark Twisted Fantasy

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sorry - i wasn't thinking through what i was writing. sonically bigger and more accessible viz. radio jams/ stadium sound. personally less accessible - it's kanye at his most oblique, least personal...generalizing himself away from the very connected, almost communal feeling of college dropout and late registration, but before the totally introspective/self-absorption of 808s and MBDTF.

the first two albums had family business & roses & hey mama & never let me down - a sense of family, of neighbourhood, of location, city. and even when they didn't he had children's choirs backing him up on we don't care and gigantic guest lists of people who didn't seem totally arbitrary. the who's who of NYC and Chicago rap scenes made it feel a block party hosted by Kanye. the raps are populated by real PEOPLE - not just abstract evil supermodels/whores...his cousin who's too niggerish now, his aunt pam, his mom and his grandfather at sit-ins, jobs at the mall, and picking up girls off blackplanet with Talib, and undeclared sophomores with compulsive shopping habits, his homie Mali...hell, even his G.O.O.D. Music interns.

by graduation, his dad gets mentioned on champion, and Jay-Z gets an entire song, but other than that it's all feel good aphorisms, pump-up Dr. Phil-isms, etc. Homecoming is a billion times less warm and lived in than its initial College Dropout area incarnation w/ John Legend, and the most detailed picture of a non-Kanye person we get is Flashing Lights (which probably holds up the best out of anything on this). the entire glow-in-the-dark tour was this odd paean to kanye's isolation from the world...him lost in space with a computer and holographic sex-computers. i wrote a piece at the time for my college paper about how ODD it seemed for a hip hop show. the immense ego, pervasive loneliness, and the musical desire to transcend the boundaries of 'merely' rap (which, SMH, but whatever). by graduation he was taking pictures at the grammys w Feist and sampling Peter Bjorn & John on Mixtapes and trying to move from 'rapper' to 'pop star' on his way to 'icon'

808s he's already totally isolated, even moreso than graduation, but the robot-with-a-broken-heart thing worked so well that he was more accessible than graduation. kanye broken and dissatisfied with what he spent graduation aspiring to reach. but at the same time, he's not living in a populated world - his mom is only present as a ghost and all the other characters are women who have done him wrong - objects of lust/fury/scorn

MBDTF is sonically impressive - way more so than graduation in some senses - or maybe just more appealing to me, and it's nice to see kanye rapping again with some purpose, even if i still prefer him ~Dropout/Registration, but while the posse cuts on his first two albums felt communal and natural - kanye tossing lines and verses back and forth with people he genuinely liked, the guest spots here (even the very very good ones) almost feel like perfunctory appearances, not necessarily connected to his narrative across this album (save perhaps Pusha T). and the themes are total solipsism now. still more interesting than graduation, if only because he has things about himself to genuinely grapple with here, but i've always found his issues more interesting when filtered through other stories/experiences/people.

this is poorly articulated, but it's the best i can do right now.

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 03:55 (six years ago) Permalink

youre fooling yourself if you dont think contrarianism didnt play at least some part in p4k giving this a 10.0

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 03:55 (six years ago) Permalink

xxxxxp clearly.

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 03:55 (six years ago) Permalink

i still say the title change and weird artwork is probably the smartest thing he did about this whole project -- really doubt the same album would get 10/10s and 5/5s everywhere if it was called Good Ass Job and had another goofy mascot bear graphic on the cover

some dude, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 03:56 (six years ago) Permalink

good post, alex

some dude, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 03:57 (six years ago) Permalink

like everything except for "so appalled" and "devil in a new dress". oh god and that hideous, hideous chris rock bit at the end of "the blame game" (which would have been GREAT if he'd kept it to like 15 seconds).

damn that alex in montreal post is great

phish in your sleazebag (contenderizer), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:00 (six years ago) Permalink

The cover reminds me Steely Dan attempting Gaucho now.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:00 (six years ago) Permalink

^^ otm

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:00 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah everytime I think of publications giving this a perfect score I just think of them having to listen to kanye reupholstering chris rock's pussy in 5 years, for the 13932809th time

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:01 (six years ago) Permalink

If I were feeling sinister I'd posit this album as Kanye's Gaucho, with the caveat that SD's character sketches felt lived-in.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:02 (six years ago) Permalink

thx. i think this also plays into the sonic shifts from soul loops to soul loops + jon brion strings (artsiness! ambition! respectability!) to big stadium synths and DAFT PUNK (populist! dancey! outside-the-box for rap at the time!) to autotune + 808s (sad kanye!) to this kind of big-enough-to-absorb-it-all prog rock and Bon Iver and fucking Aphex Twin and Elton John and Gil Scott-Heron.

but yeah. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is so incredibly PREDICTABLE in some senses. musically, lyrically, emotionally, there was never really any other option for Kanye. He was always climbing higher, always in desperate need of both critical AND popular adulation, and always dissatisfied with the things he wanted once he got them.

Can we get much higher? is kind of the POINT of Kanye. You can get higher and higher, but you just keep on burning things off. You're either going to plummet like Icarus or burn off everything human about you and end up on Olympus, but in the end you're either dead or a god, which may as well be the same thing as far as he's concerned.

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:05 (six years ago) Permalink

youre fooling yourself if you dont think contrarianism didnt play at least some part in p4k giving this a 10.0

― _| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Monday, November 22, 2010 9:55 PM (10 minutes ago) Bookmark

contrarianism against what? the album has a 98 on metacritic -- if anything you'd have to agree w/ ship's characterization of all mags being WE ARE THE KANYE, GENERATION

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:07 (six years ago) Permalink

some dude OTM. it's a surprisingly high rating for such a bizarre album. person pitch and MPP got scores in the high 9s, but not 10.0s, and they're way closer to the kind of thing that pitchfork regularly gushes over.

― phish in your sleazebag (contenderizer), Monday, November 22, 2010 9:53 PM (12 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

how is this post agreeing with somedude?

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:07 (six years ago) Permalink

complex is double guilty of that for being a walking bukakke for kid cudi

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:08 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah...i still don't get how "this artist is in this publication's sweet spot" in and of itself translates to "yes of course they gave this a 10.0" though

― some dude, Monday, November 22, 2010 9:47 PM (20 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

'publication's sweet spot' means 'people who write for the publication like it a lot' which is what happened. get it? and we can identify strains in pfork's value system that suggest this record makes perfect sense to be acclaimed, cant we? i dont see whats so hard abt this

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:09 (six years ago) Permalink

contrarianism against what? the album has a 98 on metacritic -- if anything you'd have to agree w/ ship's characterization of all mags being WE ARE THE KANYE, GENERATION

― J0rdan S., Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:07 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark

contrarianism against everybody who is still pigeonholing p4k as an indie mag who would only ever give 10.0s to yankee hotel foxtrot & source tags and codes

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:10 (six years ago) Permalink

alex's post is awesome -- my main point from a few hours ago actually enunciated intelligently w/ specific examples

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:10 (six years ago) Permalink

by 'pfork's value system,' again, i mean 'the collected tendencies of the writers who make editorial & writing decisions on a daily basis,' amongst which i am an outlier. these arent abstract values put down in writing. they are just tendencies that many of the writers overlap on. kanye hits a lot of those, for a lot of writers.

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:11 (six years ago) Permalink

ilm is very inside baseball but to the general public I still feel p4k is still that 'indie music site that only hipsters check out' to the point where I get asked 'where do you get all your music from, pitchfork'? by friends who rarely if ever follow music

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:11 (six years ago) Permalink

and like...this is why i love this album despite myself. kanye IS the biggest pop star of our era. we get the icons we deserve. six years ago he had things to say - important things maybe, but in the age of twitter and facebook and gossip girl doesn't it make sense that our real hero is a navel-gazing narcissist who's self-aware enough to know what's wrong with himself AND the rest of the world but more concerned with posting hot pictures of models to his blog and worrying about whether or not he hurt George Bush's feelings back when he was still saying things that made sense? but for better or for worse, he's ours, and i'm as invested in his ego and persona as he is.

like...fuck Lady GaGa, Kanye was doing life-as-performance art for years. we're all doing life-as-performance art these days.

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:12 (six years ago) Permalink

contrarianism against everybody who is still pigeonholing p4k as an indie mag who would only ever give 10.0s to yankee hotel foxtrot & source tags and codes

― _| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Monday, November 22, 2010 10:10 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

how does this even qualify as 'contrarianism' -- the site hasnt been like this in years

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:12 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah that's either a small subset of ppl or a massive strawman

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:13 (six years ago) Permalink

you still get people itt who think it makes more sense for p4k to give a 10.0 to anco or joanne newsom

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:13 (six years ago) Permalink

real contrarianism was running deej's waka review in the lead spot

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:13 (six years ago) Permalink

why is that contrarian?

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:14 (six years ago) Permalink

p4k covers rap fairly regularly.

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:14 (six years ago) Permalink

dayo's right though

markers, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:15 (six years ago) Permalink

"the site hasnt been like this in years," fine, but that doesn't mean public perception of the site has changed along with the site

markers, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:15 (six years ago) Permalink

hi deej! yeah, it makes sense that it would be celebrated at the house of fork, but no more so than a bunch of other albums that didn't score quite as high. plus given its bizarre inconsistencies and tendency to walk around on its own face, it's hardly the kind of record that you'd expect to see praised to the rafters in all corners.

phish in your sleazebag (contenderizer), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:16 (six years ago) Permalink

i mean. i think deej is right, in that this hits a lot of rock-critic sweet spots. it's also a pretty watershed record, and if you were going to give a 10.0 to something in terms of narrative and cultural moment, this would be it.

that it also coincides with p4k's continual growth from 2002-era indie bedroom review site to major criticism game player is just a bonus. and yeah, the general view of p4k outside of our inside baseball circles is still indielolz obscurantism, but that doesn't mean their love of Kanye etc. is being contrarian - scott et al. have made a point of pushing outwards for four or five years now. it's not totally generalist, but they were giving 8.1's to Justin back in 2006...you know?

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:16 (six years ago) Permalink

also this is the list of headlines on p4k's site right now

Be Part of Thom Yorke's Art Project 9:40 a.m.
Watch: Gorillaz Cover the xx 10:15 a.m.
New Cut Copy: "Take Me Over" 3:00 p.m.
M83 Talks "Very, Very, Very Epic" New LP 2:05 p.m.
Robyn Announces North American Tour 12:00 p.m.
Wilco Coffee Is a Real Thing 11:05 a.m.
Listen: Atlas Sound Covers Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile 11:30 a.m.
Pictureplane and Teengirl Fantasy Plot Tour 4:00 p.m.
James Blake Announces Debut Album 4:30 p.m.

lol

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:17 (six years ago) Permalink

lol!

markers, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:17 (six years ago) Permalink

Wilco Coffee Is a Real Thing

markers, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:17 (six years ago) Permalink

try the espresso roast.

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:18 (six years ago) Permalink

but that doesn't mean their love of Kanye etc. is being contrarian - scott et al. have made a point of pushing outwards for four or five years now. it's not totally generalist, but they were giving 8.1's to Justin back in 2006...you know?

I don't doubt their love of Kanye but I do doubt whether their love was the only reason behind the 10.0

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:18 (six years ago) Permalink

surprised that M83 is going for the third "very" this time around tbh

phish in your sleazebag (contenderizer), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:18 (six years ago) Permalink

it makes sense that it would be celebrated at the house of fork, but no more so than a bunch of other albums that didn't score quite as high

except for the fact that kanye is kanye etc. etc. Big Boi's album is as good if not better than this, but it wasn't a cultural moment...no big singles, no feeling of 'watershed'-ness.

like...would i have thrown The xx a 10? maybe. But the "idea" of a 10 is something IMPORTANT - and as rockist as that is, it's still something that rings true with people. a 10 should be a statement; a 10 should have ambition; a 10 should say something about the moment we live in; etc. is that bullshit? sure, but it's still something that probably comes into play.

and like...Joanna Newsom and Animal Collective might be a big deal in P4K land, but Animal Collective are the opposite of ambitious or showy. LCD might fit into that category, but This Is Happening was coming off of Sound of Silver, and would have needed to be demonstrably BETTER. Ditto Joanna and HOOM - I really love HOOM, more than most, but Ys is her big *statement* thus far. Jay-Z is asleep post-retirement. P4K has never been huge on R&B and if Erykah's Part 1 didn't break 8, Part 2 wasn't going to come anywhere near a 10. What else?

I mean. There are many many good reasons to give it a 10 without it being conspiracy-driven or contrarian. It just sort of makes sense given where Ye is these days and where p4k is these days. Anyway, all of this talking about p4k is silly. The story isn't about the grade - there's enough to actually discuss here without inside baseball.

The SBurbs (Alex in Montreal), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:24 (six years ago) Permalink

big boi's record really isnt as 'good' as this, if u stick to the 'set expectations -> meets expectations' game. this record is way way more unique/interesting at some level. idk i dont really find either one particularly engaging, and ill probably still rock that song w/ too short & george clinton 5 years from now, more often than i play this. but this record obv feels like a bigger deal

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:26 (six years ago) Permalink

can i just make a subtle point about the whole late registration/omg it's jon brion! how artsy! narrative?

anyway, FUCK JON BRION. FUCK HIM. FUCK HIM. FUCK HIM.

miri ben-ari >>>> jon brion

mike fuckin dean yall >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> jon brion

based lord sotosyn (The Reverend), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:26 (six years ago) Permalink

some great posts AiM

but there's no way this thread would have 500+ new answers if it wasn't for the p4k 10

_| ̄|○| ̄|○| ̄|○ (dayo), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:27 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah -- lots of great posts. But I don't know what we're discussing anymore -- something about Thom Yorke and coffee.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:28 (six years ago) Permalink

can i just make a subtle point about the whole late registration/omg it's jon brion! how artsy! narrative?

are you responding to 2005 or?

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:28 (six years ago) Permalink

something about Thom Yorke and coffee.

― look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, November 22, 2010 10:28 PM (8 seconds ago) Bookmark

just skip over the markers & daniel esq posts

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:28 (six years ago) Permalink

kanye west graduation

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J0rdan S., Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:29 (six years ago) Permalink

what a disaster for markers and Daniel, Esq!!!

markers, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:30 (six years ago) Permalink

See, Big Boi's album is ambitious in the way I like: trim yet every song looking at its given subject from an unexpected, skewed musical and lyrical pov. It's exhausting in a good way -- I want to play it again as soon as it's over.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:30 (six years ago) Permalink

xps: someone mentioned that narrative and it bears heavy on my mind.

based lord sotosyn (The Reverend), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:30 (six years ago) Permalink

there is nothing ambitious about big boi's album

challop and a muff (deej), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:31 (six years ago) Permalink

otm. big boi album is less than the sum of its parts and some of the parts aren't even all that

based lord sotosyn (The Reverend), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:31 (six years ago) Permalink

^^ 2+2 = 5

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 November 2010 04:32 (six years ago) Permalink


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