Sunday, November 14, 2010
Trying my best to find my way
As someone who hasn't truly liked an album by Kanye in about five years, I must say this new one is quite a force. When I was listening to it yesterday, I got to "All of the Lights" and I realized that this album reminds me a lot of Marvin Gaye's Hear, My Dear. I think the reason I couldn't get into Graduation or 808s was I didn't feel a sense of urgency from Kanye; he didn't give off the feeling that his moment was fleeting. Instead, it was always meant to be, and he was basking in it. But with MBDTF, from the lyrics to the production, it feels clear to me that his mother's death impacted a whole lot more than any breakup or MTV incident. One of the things that appealed to me about Kanye the summer he released his first single was that he had so many directions his thoughts could take him, and as he got more famous/isolated, his perspective didn't really match my own. So to hear him, however briefly, mention his bags getting searched on "Gorgeous" or talk about how he relates to what is happening in the world, I remember why I was such an ardent fan in the first place. He's not just angrily venting about his ex, he's trying to work through his own problems, which is much more relatable. To get back to to the Hear, My Dear comparison, the song above is easily my favorite from that album, and comes halfway through a 70-minute kiss-off to Anna Gordy. The trauma of losing a significant other or loved one can force you to reassess your values and trajectory in life, and it's pretty obvious Gaye is concerned with all that as his marriage is crumbling. I haven't watched or listened to any of the interviews Kanye has given, since Matt Lauer is hard to deal with, but does anyone know if he's been asked about his mother's passing and how that influenced his goals with his album? I'd be curious to know if he brought it up on his own, too. Anyway, the way this new album plays reminds me of my own thoughts when I lost my grandmother and my roommate lost a close friend. In sum, it's good to hear Kanye thinking broadly again. Also, Bink!
As good as this thing is, I still don't think Kid CuDi needs to be on here at all. And does Alicia Keys only moan and yell now? Plus, the posse cut combination of "Monster" and "So Appalled" feel rather random in terms of flow, but I like both.