Album Review

Kanye West's 'Ye' is a beautiful mess of emotions

Kanye West's raw, personal new album addresses everything from his relationship with Kim Kardashian to his battle with bipolar disorder

10 June 2018 - 00:00

Kanye West really knows how to make a spectacle of himself. We can argue until we get the land back about whether this is good or bad, but once again he has managed to get the whole world to tune in to Cirque de Kanye, and that is not as mean a feat as some would have you believe.
Expectations in the build-up to the release of his new album Ye have been necessarily high. West has spent the last few weeks saying far too many outlandish things for the bar to not be higher than Snoop Dogg at a café in Amsterdam, and to be entirely honest he hasn't hurdled it, but that's a good thing.
For a while now people have been clamouring for the "Old Kanye" - ie 2004 - 2007 Kanye, Kanye the hip-hop artist. That man is dead and has been since before 2008's 808s & Heartbreaks. What we have seen since then is an evolution that has been stellar (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), strange (Yeezus) and insecure (The Life of Pablo).
With the seven-track Ye, Mr West is undoubtedly at his most personal.
WATCH | Kanye West's Ye listening party

He has never before addressed his love for Kim Kardashian so directly, nor delved into his issues with bipolar disorder. He uses this level of honesty like a sword without a hilt, simultaneously scything down his own demons while cutting his own hands to ribbons.
Perhaps that is the primary criticism of this album.
West has no real depths to be plumbed, his marriage is built on money and he is not nearly as misunderstood as he would like to think. But that is also the album's superpower.
Using a slide show of angst pop beats he shows us that he is just as sad, anxious and insecure as the rest of us. He can try to spin it all he wants but just like many of us, his emotions are raging against ennui and his candour in trying to muddle through this is beautiful to watch...

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