While minor keys and darker tones take over the general sound of Kanye West’s new album “The Life of Pablo,” the performer also does a good job of delivering a diversity of sounds, ironically ending the album with a moderate dance track. The approach reminded me of the kind of diversity Azealia Banks brings to her material, as her music is often considered rough and not the easiest to listen to for the general population.
This album is classic Kanye. While some things sound the same, there are also some surprises.
What was not a surprise was the vulgar word choices he uses in quite a few of the new songs. Of course, these words are startling at first, they’re ultimately dismissed as typical Kanye. What also isn’t a surprise is the cameo appearance made by Kanye’s now-famous Autotune vocal effect. He has been using the much-used vocal effect on his past few albums.
Yet, this album has a clear distinction between it and the rest. “The Life of Pablo” demonstrates where Kanye is at at this point in his life. His highly regarded 2004 debut album, “College Dropout” was young, new and fresh. This album is not as good as his first album, but it comes really, really close.
I would recommend spending money on this album but you don’t have to. You can always get free trial subscription to Tidal, the only music streaming service where the album is currently legally available. Anyone who is interested can listen to the album all the way through at least once and then you can give up the free trial. The songs will leak anyway.
Here’s what listeners can expect to hear on “Life of Pablo”:
“Ultra Light Beam” is a great choice to kick off the album. It starts off with a child’s religious invective, automatically giving it innocence and purity and lets the listener know this is coming from a true place. Special guest Chance the Rapper gives the five minute track some diversity. Lyrically, he’s just saying exactly what he needs to, even referencing the recent terror attacks in Paris. Lyrics such as “we on a ultra light beam” and “this is a God dream” are words Kanye uses to support and foreshadow his ideas about changing the world.
“Highlights,” meanwhile, isn’t my favorite song on the album. At. All. I don’t like the lyrics all that much. If the song was played in the car, depending on my mood, I would sit there and let it play. Yet, I wouldn’t request that someone to play it voluntarily. It’s good but only tolerable for the most part. Although, on the other hand it can be a fun song. The beat is fun and the song might work best when played in a club or at a party.
“Waves” is a song Chance the Rapper fought to include on the album (according to comments posted on his verified Twitter account). He didn’t fight in vain. It might sound like trash to some people, but I can’t deny the fact that when the song started, I said “Oooohhh!” and danced like a grandma, which is a good thing.
“30 Hours” feels like a day in the life of Kanye. Here he’s rapping about simple things, things relevant to his life, bringing up many subjects. It feels like a freestyle or something you would hear at an open mic. It’s a mellow song with little vulgar language, just simple and cool.