If there's been one record everyone's been anticipating this year, it's definitely been Kanye West's . Ever since he first announced it, fans have been waiting, being so vigilant that hundreds flocked to Wyoming yesterday to be able to hear the record first. And the wait has been fruitful: Kanye West gets in tune with himself in ye, his new record that draws from his past works and shines it in a new light.
It's almost surprising to say, but ye is quite cognizant. 'All Mine' is a clever and even smart song about infidelity, drawing from personal anecdotes to even political connotations. Kanye references Chris Rock's cheating scandal and Donald Trump's Stormy Daniels scandal in his second verse, but in an almost supportive way: "If I pull up with a Kerry Washington / That's gon' be an enormous scandal, I could have Naomi Campbell / And still might want me a Stormy Daniels." These are thoughts that he's had, and evidently struggled with it if he's put it to song. Opening track 'I Thought About Killing You' is even more unapologetically honest, speaking about mental health and thoughts of suicide and murder to open the record up as Francis & The Lights' autotuned vocals loop throughout underneath. The first lines Kanye speaks are intense off the bat, but it's almost like a confessional. He says, "The most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest. Today I seriously thought about killing you. I contemplated, premeditated murder. And I think about killing myself, and I love myself way more than I love you, so..." as if convincing himself that despite all of these thoughts, this is not who he is and the good times are ahead.
ye is a refreshing sound for Kanye. It largely feels like his pre-Yeezus sound, channeling especially My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Graduation. The only song that has an edgier vibe like some of his latest releases is 'Yikes,' which does it effectively, with a dark beat underlying slamming verses that deal with addiction and drinking. 'Ghost Town' is strikingly soulful like his older material, PARTYNEXTDOOR (which is not good for Drake...) and Trade Martin keeping things smooth to kick the song off. Kid Cudi delivers a sweetly sung chorus, teasing next week's debut Kids See Ghosts collaborative album before Kanye's innocent, contemplative verses about being tired of the drama that surrounds his life and his wishes to just be loved. 070 Shake, a newly signed artist by Kanye, delivers the outro in a confident, anthemic way. She introduces closing track 'Violent Crimes' before Kanye comes in, describing how his views on women have changed after the birth of his children. It feels very genuine, and is a nice, contemplative way to end the record (even Nicki Minaj's repetition of Kanye's sentiments at the end adds a nice flavor).
Kanye West gets in tune with himself in ye, reflecting on his past and where he is now while also drawing upon the soulful sounds of his older music. It's a very honest and revealing record, and it honestly feels like Kanye wants to turn a new stone with how progressive his thoughts are. A great return after a problematic few years, and perhaps a nice indicator for what's to come still.
Favorite Tracks: I Thought About Killing You, Yikes, Ghost Town
Least Favorite Track: No Mistakes
Rating: 85 / 100
Stream or buy ye on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: