Not really settled on where I am with this album (feel like it will take some time) but this doesn’t seem like a very nuanced take either/pretty much aligns with my very first surface level reaction to the music and the issues it explores
Pretty obsessed with this now, it’s making all other music sound a bit trivial. Couple of tracks still growing but I think it all hangs together really well as an album with all the little interludes and mix of introverted tracks and aggressive trap stuff. Also it’s OTT but I like all the discourse around it, huge amounts of people wrestling with a complex artistic statement, can simultaneously dig into that while enjoying the musical side (which is great).
Also interesting listening to Heart Part 5 again and tracing the album themes in there.
Still not gonna put many of the tracks on in non-fan company though
Worst of both worlds review for me. Pointedly didn’t rush it for release day, also didn’t spend anywhere near enough time with it to come to any sort of definitive conclusion on the nuances and social complexities.
Very surprised by this score. Early days but this feels like a strong release to me, maybe with a slightly weaker middle section that makes it less consistent than of some of his other records? Not sure yet tbh. Also, not that it should matter, but seems from sites like AnyDecentMusic that they’ll be an outlier here.
I suppose it sets them up nicely for the re-scoring article in a year’s time?
The pitchfork review is the first I’ve seen which doesn’t give it full marks. Maybe just some textbook low-key contrarianism with one eye on protecting what they perceive to be their cultural cachet. Not a great review anyway. Regardless of whether you feel the themes of the album land, criticising the production for being unfocused seems objectively wide of the mark.
There’s definitely that. BBQ album this ain’t. Think it could have a pretty limited appeal to a casual audience in the longer term, even if it gains an obsessive one. Again, accessibility is not necessarily a signifier of quality, but I do think at his best he straddled the line between pop sensibilities and social commentary, and the former go out the window a bit here, for better or worse.
He’s done this on purpose hasn’t he? Sounds to me like he really doesn’t like being liberals go to I like rap music answer and has made the album much more difficult for people to grasp onto in that way.
Also think this is what has driven Kanye for the last few years but he’s done it in a shock jock way rather than exploring it artistically.
While you’re not wrong, I think you’re probably conflating some different issues here tbh. I don’t think he’s dropped the hooks to stick it to the liberal lefties, as that’s silly. You’re right that 1. the album is grappling with his position in the culture and 2. he’s intentionally made it more knotty. But perhaps that’s more to say, I made this album for me, and it doesn’t need to be “accessible” or to appeal to a wider audience. Ultimately, whatever the point you’re trying to make, you’ll reach more people if it’s accessible, “liberal” or otherwise.
I honestly think if the reviews elsewhere for this had been more tepid then they would have wheeled out a better score. I’m 100% convinced that this is the way their editorial policy operates, whether on some subconscious level or otherwise.
This is v good and one I’m probably gonna admire more than listen to - though TPAB I utterly rinsed so who knows. Quite like that it starts with a Radiohead song.
Production is obviously glorious, flows are flawless, lyrical content well shit I couldn’t even start on that yet, gimme six months. Also Sampha and Beth G casually dropping in some career high performances for a laugh.
Gonna dissent and say that I agree with that Pitchfork score and review.
Album is definitely challenging which is fine, but ultimately I do think a lot of it is not that nice/interesting to listen to from a production stand point, and there is also some clumsy lyrics and thematic exploration that he doesn’t pull off.
For context, DAMN is my favourite of his and I have a predilection for bangers.
“He makes himself the main character in his queer relatives’ stories” and “aren’t there other stories he can tell about the trans people in his life?” felt like particularly dull takes on a track/album where the protagonist is explicitly working through their own issues. Fair enough to take issue to the track and the way it deals with those issues if you want, but that feels like nonsensical “what’s the wokest angle I can get here” stuff.
Absolutely don’t see this as an unfair take, just a premature one I think. Like I’m not sure how you can definitively say he has or hasn’t pulled it off yet as opposed to me just thinking that he definitely has.