Sweet ‘Yeezus’: The critics v. Kanye West
What did music critics make of “Yeezus,” the latest from Kanye West? “There’s purpose in repulsion…”
“Yeezus” is the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up, an extravagantly abrasive album full of grinding electro, pummeling minimalist hip-hop, drone-y wooz and industrial gear-grind. Every mad genius has to make a record like this at least once in his career – at its nastiest, his makes “Kid A” or “In Utero” or “Trans” all look like Bruno Mars.
Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone
As for the lyrics? Some of the best examples are unprintable here, but even the most bombastic moments — the ones seemingly invented to bait the music blogs — underscore a man struggling to come to terms with his place in the world, in his own ‘Ye way: On ”I Am A God” he raps, ”I am a god/Even though I’m a man of God/My whole life in the hands of God.”
Ray Rahman, Entertainment Weekly
For Kanye, there’s purpose in repulsion. And on “Yeezus,” he trades out smooth soul and anthemic choruses for jarring electro, acid house and industrial grind while delivering some of his most lewd and heart-crushing tales yet. This is willful provocation that Ice Cube, Madonna and Trent Reznor could all be proud of.
Ryan Dombal, Pitchfork
“Yeezus” is a medley of several genres — new wave, punk, rock and of course hip-hop. Those looking for vintage soul sounds or even full-on raps from start to finish will be thrown several curves here. It’s an album with numerous emotional layers as well. There are a few lighthearted moments, and cuts about love along with lust. But mostly, West is just plain mad — angry at naysayers, “The Man” censoring his art, and even at his own celeb status.
Delivered entirely from the gut, it’s West’s loudest and most impulsive album, especially in its system-shocking opening stretch of gnarled electro and pounding industrial rap. Even by the standards of an artist who reinvents himself with each release, it’s a drastic departure, so committed to its heavy new sound that it’s easy to picture West hearing “Pretty Hate Machine” for the first time and immediately racing to the studio to tear down his John Mayer posters.
Evan Rytlewski, AV Club