Music

CD review: Kanye West ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

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Ben Westhoff

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Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Five stars

How does Kanye West have time to make music? Judging from his news coverage, you’d think that all he does is make ill-considered political statements, interrupt awards shows and shop for new bathroom fixtures. But somehow he has been able to transcend the cacophony once again to create an album that propels hip-hop and pop music forward. Yet unlike his previous works—the three “college” albums and his loss-themed 808s & Heartbreak—his latest, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has very little of the topical, self-referential musings one has come to expect from him. Rather, as the title indicates, it delves into his hopes and fears in an abstract way, with the majority of the stories set in a dreamscape realm where his subconscious takes over. It’s a world of vivid colors, fantastical beings and understanding women, where the inhabitants appreciate Kanye unequivocally. “Monster” imagines him as a larger-than-life rap beast, “the best living or dead, hands down,” whose crowds get excited simply because he instructs them to. In “Lost In the World,” bleak disillusionment gives way to a euphoric dance party. “Blame Game” instills in him otherworldly sexual powers; Chris Rock portrays a character who is blown away by the freakiness of one of Kanye’s exes—“Yeezy taught me,” she insists. The transcendent production is sonically luxuriant and orchestral in scope, making My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy an excellent way to spend an hour. You won’t want to wake up.

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