Kanye West: The Life of Pablo

29 Apr


Following a hilariously staggered release earlier this year, Kanye West’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, has finally arrived. Well, kind of. According to his label, West wants to keep working on the tracks so this review may end up feeling a little out of date.

This reviewer is not the biggest Kanye fan, but you have to tip your hat to the man’s talent.

At 19 tracks, The Life of Pablo is way too long. It is extremely ambitious and not that worried about hit singles, with West overlaying samples, vocal snippets and the various talents of a host of collaborators (including Kendrick Lamar, Rhianna, El DeBarge and The Weeknd) into the mix.

It’s a heady dreamlike mix. Mostly.

West’s desire to avoid falling into traditional pop rhythms results in a series of sudden, abrupt shifts in tone and style —  sometimes within songs — which force the listener to constantly pay attention.

‘No More Parties In LA’ is an easy highlight. Combining a couple of old-school soul samples, it is the best example of West’s maximalist aesthetic. Aside from that song, it’s hard to pick out individual tracks as standouts. This album works best if listened to in its entirety. Tracks that stand out include ’Ultralight Beam’, which is a strong opening, while ‘Famous’ is a digression into more paranoid Taylor Swift bashing.

All in all, while there are some lulls, The Life of Pablo proves that, while his personal life may be a tired collection of celebrity cliches, as a musical talent West remains as restless and ambitious as ever.


By Tim George


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