Two genius-level musicians returned from mental breakdowns last Friday. Kanye West proves he’s mortal. Father John Misty, on the other hand, may be too good for this world.
Kanye West – Ye (6/10)
It’s not easy to discuss Kanye West in 2018. We had all hoped post-election Kanye was just a sign of stress and exhaustion. Unfortunately, West has changed for the worse. Without going in-depth on Kanye’s recent political statements, let us tackle Ye, West’s eighth and shortest album.
First of all, this is Kanye West’s worst album by a long shot. However, even a poor Kanye album has glimpses of greatness. Kanye’s work ethic as a musician is to go against the grain. He has to change how we view whatever genre he works within. Sometimes these albums are hard to grasp (Yeezus) and sometimes they feel like creative detours (808s and Heartbreaks), but they ultimately changed how we hear pop music.
Ye is not a new take on Kanye’s work. It’s the trial version of The Life of Pablo. This isn’t boundary pushing work. These are leftover ideas brushed up by brash MAGA-Kanye trying to startle us. Half the songs remind me of the Weeknd-featuring “FML.” PartyNextDoor on “Wouldn’t Leave,” makes me wish for Young Thug on “Highlights.”
Ye sounds like a struggle. It’s scatterbrained, unfocused and unfinished. Is this the end of an almost two-decade run of success? We’ll have to see. This is a career that has been defined by the bumps in the road. Tomorrow, Kanye will release a collaborative album with long-time friend Kid Cudi called Kids See Ghost.
Overall, Ye is the worst and most forgettable album Kanye has released. At this point, this isn’t a suggestion to listen to it or not, because it’s 24 minutes long, and you were probably going to anyway. It’s worth wondering if it should be held up against his masterpieces.
Best Track: “Ghost Town”
And because everyone has to, here’s my ranking of Kanye albums:
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy**
- The College Dropout
- Watch The Throne*
- The Life of Pablo
- Late Registation
- 808s and Heartbreak
- Cruel Summer*
*Collaborative albums with Jay-Z and G.O.O.D. Music, respectively.
**As confusing as this sounds, MBDTF is definitely in my top ten albums of all time, but Yeezus might not. Yeezus is the most true to form Kanye as Kanye album. One is a perfect all around album and the other is a perfect testament to the artist who created it.
Dont @ me.
Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer (9/10)
Josh Tillman isn’t a man with a lot of faith left in humanity. His work is deeply poetic and contemplative. Just last year, he released the incredible Pure Comedy. The album was long and deeply reflective on society in 2017. It was a commentary on our craving for entertainment from our phones and society’s decline. Comedy was full of twisted, yet vivid imagery.
In the year between, Comedy and his latest album God’s Favorite Customer, he found himself on the straits. The singer-songwriter claims Customer was written during a six-week period where he holed himself up in a hotel room. Many theorize, his marriage was on the rocks with his wife Emma, the centerpiece of his second FJM album, I Love You, Honeybear.
Josh Tillman needs someone to keep him attached to reality. The listener can tell that Tillman feared he could lose his wife. It sounds like the couple has resolved their differences, but one would imagine a wild, heady and hedonistic figure like Misty is hard to love. On “Please Don’t Die,” he clearly fearing more than divorce. What separates Customer from his other albums is that it’s emotive and straightforward rather than whitty and cynical.
God’s Favorite Customer is Tillman’s shortest work. (It’s half the length of Pure Comedy.) He took a take-the-pen-out and bleed method to writing this album. It’s a testament to his brilliance as a songwriter than he can do so much with so little as well as be verbose and keep listeners asking for more. We know that Tillman can churn out beautiful simple lyrics with the one-off “Real Love Baby” and his songwriting work on Beyonce’s Lemonade.
GFC is still classic Misty. He can be ironic. “Last Night I Wrote A Poem/I Must have been in the poem zone,” Misty mopes on “The Palace.” The instrumentation doesn’t askew the normal FJM template. There beautiful pianos and guitar strumming occasionally accompanied by a boisterous horn section. (There’s even a bass part from Mark Ronson on “Disappointing Diamonds are the Rarest of them All.”)
God’s Favorite Customer is simply poetic album from a complicated man. Love is sold in movies as unrivaled joy, but Father John Misty cuts through it like Don Draper. Love is sad. Josh Tillman is dependent on his beloved Emma. She’s his muse. On “The Songwriter,” he broods that he profits off their love. She’s the person in his life who keeps him grounded. He can’t bear to lose her even if it costs him his sanity.
Best Track: “Please Don’t Die”