Kanye West’s new album, “Yeezus,” will be released Tuesday:
“Yeezus” is the rapper’s sixth album and his riskiest since, “808s & Heartbreak,” the 2008 left turn that proved West to be one of the most powerful steering forces in contemporary pop. But where “808s” was forlorn and mysteriously triumphal, “Yeezus” is churlish and peculiarly magnetic. As the phantom choir explains in the middle of “On Sight,” the album’s prickly opening salvo, “He’ll give us what we need / It may not be what we want.”. . . “Yeezus” has already been branded as West’s ugliest album, but he’ll always be a populist at heart, incapable of releasing anything truly repulsive. For all of the charred melodies and serrated rhythms on “Yeezus,” this is still luscious electronic music sculpted into elegant shapes that only signal threat. French dance music duo Daft Punk and studio sage Rick Rubin were both called on to collaborate, helping West evoke hip-hop’s icy, electro roots while echoing the sly, synthetic snarls of Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails.
At On Faith, a rabbi asks whether the title of the new album is blasphemous:
Is this artist’s work a tribute to Jesus, or is it irreverent to the point of being offensive? Could it actually be a bit of both? Could it be that what borders on the offensive, or even crosses the border, for some, is actually a deeply spiritual message for others?. . . The notion that we are all images of God is a notion that goes back Genesis 1:27 in which we are told that the first human, and by extension, all subsequent humans are created as images of God. And while there is certainly a vast difference between thinking that one is God, and that one is an image of God, it is certainly not crazy to hold out the notion that all human beings are worthy of bearing God’s name and living lives that mirror Divine attributes.
As West’s listeners discuss “Yeezus,” he is presumably preoccupied with his newborn daughter, delivered Saturday morning in Los Angeles. Both the child and her mother, Kim Kardashian, are reportedly healthy:
The delivery (by Caesarian section, if you need to know) reportedly came a few weeks earlier than Kardashian’s expected due date but ended up fortuitously timed for a publicity-minded couple: Just days ahead of West’s much-hyped new CD release (“Yeezus”), and safely a month ahead of the season’s other big celebaby arrival — the child of England’s Prince William and Duchess Kate. Also: A little more than a week after Kardashian’s divorce from her quickie 2011 marriage to Kris Humphries was finalized. So, whew!
For more on West and a recent interview he gave to The New York Times, continue reading here.