I have a love affair with certain media.
I read. A lot. The last new book I read was Dan Brown’s Inferno (I have to read it again, but my initial concern is that it wasn’t a real Robert Langdon affair). I watch movies. A lot. The last new movie I watched was This Is The End. (And after turning it over and over again in my head, I still proclaim it’s an excellent movie about a group of entertainers not taking themselves seriously. And don’t be fooled; the “joke” with Emma Watson went over a lot of people’s head and they actually did that type of joke right, with every single man getting his comeuppance from Emma.) I play video games. A lot. (I’m still working on The Last Of Us. So far, it’s a gripping story.)
But my main love affair has always been music. I love all types of music; you name it, I listen to it. It’s more of the personalization of the music that grips me and keeps me tuned in.
The initial problem with reviewing music, however, is that unlike watching a movie or playing a game, you have to digest it more than once to really capture that feeling of it. I saw The Dark Knight Returns twice in the movies - I haven’t seen it since, nor do I desire to. Not that it’s a bad movie, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t need to see it again. However, I’m on my 100th+ view of The Sandlot. Does that mean that The Sandlot is better than TDKR? Not necessarily. It just means that I have a better time watching The Sandlot than I do watching TDKR. And I liked TDKR. Immensely. But The Sandlot is just that damn good. But what if I’m going off of nostalgic purposes? I mean, The Sandlot IS 20 years old: it came out when I was 11 years old. Okay, so I’ll pick something more recent. The Departed is another movie I can watch numerous times. (And trust me, I’ve seen it more than 10 times.) Does it mean that it’s better than TDKR? Again, not necessarily.
Music is a different beast. I’m one of those people that digest an album for more than one or two quick listens. Initially, I said that K. West’s new album Yeezus was incredible. I stand by that quick draw assessment. As I’m now 7 days removed from my first listen and I’ve listened to it in different environments (the car, the laptop, the high end headphones, the stereo) and in different mental states and really got a grasp on what ‘Ye was saying (or is trying to say), my comment stands: it’s an incredible album.
Incredible in the sense that it takes multiple listens to catch it all; the little quirks in the music, his pauses and screams and intent, the head scratching contradiction of it. It’s also incredible that the public is so divided on this album: polar opposites, almost.a straight divide. People either love it or hate it. I’m not noticing a middle ground. And I think (read:assume) that this was Kanye’s idea; to put out an album that was so much his mirror image. Mr. Contradiction. It says it’s one thing, but it’s really another, or is it really? This album, and with all the chutzpah and hubris that came along with it, is a mirror image of Kanye’s mind, more so than MBDTF. This is him at his most honest. When he brought in Rick Rubin for that minimalist sound, maybe he wasn’t talking just in the production. You strip away everything that Mr. West is, and you get this: 40 minutes of “I think, therefore, I am… I think.” It’s the Gemini’s perfect mindset.
I just think that it’s an album that will either grow on you or it won’t. The same thing happened with 808’s & Heartbreak: that first couple of days were feelings of confusion and dislike, but as the listens kept racking up and the heart of the album came to the forefront, people started saying how much they enjoyed it.
I believe that will happen here.
(And to reviewers, PLEASE stop throwing around that word ‘classic’. Because it takes TIME for an album to be considered classic. This album is
only not even a week old. It’s not up for discussion now, or at any time in 2013.)