Thursday, September 20, 2007
Graduation - Kanye West
Anyway, my take on Kanye West is pretty well known. He can usually be relied upon to give us a handful of genuinely brilliant moments on an album, but will also back it up with a lot of filler. He's also not a very good rapper. Competent he may be, but purely on rapping he's not going to be top of the list.
Does Graduation change any of this in my eyes? Hell, no.
Lead single Stronger was/is fantastic and the Daft Punk nod was a welcome one for sure. The Glory sneaks in a bit of Laura Nyro to great effect whilst Flashing Lights is another winner, pitching it's self as something between a Bond theme and Bernard Herrmann produced soundtrack. Having said that though, I really could have done without the proclamation on that track the paparazzi are worse than the Nazi's. Nice one Kanye.
And that really points to another weakness on the album; West's self-importance came across as surprisingly tongue in cheek on his recent Friday Night Project presenter stint (hell he came across as extremely likable) but on Can't Tell Me Nothing, where the "impact" of his blast at George W. Bush's supposed ineptitude in respect of Hurricane Katrina is deemed more important than the aftermath of the disaster itself.
So lyrically there are many moments to cringe to, in one way or another, and there is a fair share of interesting, but misfiring, attempts to do something different (really, Chris Martin's appearance on Homecoming does neither man any favours whatsoever - although that won't matter to those who will see Martin's singing slot here as some kind of rallying call for real musicians).
Still the moments of genuine class just about drag this into thumbs up territory. But much like his previous two albums, in the months to come I'll be very selective over which tunes make it onto my playlist.