Kanye West | My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)

He was able to achieve an innovative sound reinforced by his reflective lyrics—despite using nearly 500 first person pronouns on this 13-track album.

 
 
 
Whether it be by blowing up your Twitter feed, wearing a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone or taking an award-winning moment from a string of musicians, Kanye West knows how to keep people interested and set his ego soaring. West’s impulsive personality seems to be the result of his obsession with living on the edge. His new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is no exception.
 
The cover art features a painting of an animated West in a sexually compromising position with a white, winged lady (phoenix?). The painting also reveals the phoenix’s bare bum and ruby red nipple, while West’s character holds what is presumably a beer in a suggestive pose. The explicit cartoon has been blurred out by many online retailers such as iTunes, while most American in-store music shops have requested alternate album covers.
 
In a push to be something different and worth talking about, West managed to sample some big names on his new record. Featuring established musicians and new blood alike, his long list includes Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, The RZA and indie folk group Bon Iver. Rihanna also makes an appearance on the track “All of The Lights.” I will say that “Monster,” though one of the best sampled mixes, would have really benefited from an appearance by Lady Gaga.
           
While West is still sampling, this album uses the practice far less than his past releases, Late Registration and College Dropout. The album instead mixes a variety of semi-familiar sounds and lines. For example, “Hell of a Life” starts with a slightly varied take on a Star Wars melody followed by the line “I think I just fell in love with a porn star.”
 
Overall, though, the lyrics on this album seem more reflective and thoughtful than past albums. Losing his college theme, West seems to be stepping into the adult world as a musician and collaborator. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has an innovative arrangement of musical instruments mixed with a string of synth-happy sounds.
 
West’s verses scream of his love/hate relationship with fame and the fame hungry. Definitely taking his own fame into consideration, West is sure to let any and everyone willing to listen know how he feels, taking obvious hits at Obama and a few other unnamed celebrities.
 
West delivers an unexpected combination of orchestrated pianos and violins, heavy distorted guitar riffs and commercial hip-hop effects. He was able to achieve an innovative sound reinforced by his reflective lyrics—despite using nearly 500 first person pronouns on this 13-track album; including his last minute title change from Dark Twisted Fantasy to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
 

If there’s anything holding West back, it is his overbearing ego. Or perhaps that’s what intrigues his audience. Either way, West will surely remain in the spotlight and continue pumping out self-obsessed hits that get everyone moving. | Kelly Glueck

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