Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Review: Kanye West goes wild on 'Yeezus'

This has been quite the birth week for proud, paranoid papa Kanye West. He and girlfriend Kim Kardashian — the only person on the planet more desperate for attention than he is — welcomed a daughter.

And perhaps even more important to the 36-year-old Chicago rapper and provocateur, 'Ye releases into the world his sixth LP today, the demurely titled Yeezus, the sound of a restless egomaniac unleashing every last ounce of aggression before a life of diaper changing. If his next record is a hip-hop lullaby, at least he wilded out one last time.

And wow, do things get freaky-deaky on this 10-tracker, with Kanye behaving badly at bionic levels. If you complain about the staid world of predictable pop, you can't fault this sucker. And you can't say the guy's not blatantly, shockingly honest.

Yeezus is a thrashing, endlessly fascinating admission of horrible behavior, short on pure fun singles (not a Gold Digger or Stronger or All of the Lights to be found) but long on Godzillan beats and noise and machismo.

Is Kanye spiralling into madness? Maybe. But just try and look away. Calling this a hip-hop album — or rock or pop or metal — doesn't cut it. He's experimenting with sounds we've never heard before. Which doesn't make something good, of course. But a lot of this stuff works, with Kanye mostly forgoing Auto-Tune trickery (see 2008 breakup album 808s & Heartbreak) for a primal howl that stirs our deep id-centric impulses.

The ferociously stomping Black Skinhead makes Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part 2 sound like Dust in the Wind. With its incessant industrial beat, it was deemed larger-than-life enough to soundtrack the new trailer for Martin Scorsese's greed-rules romp The Wolf of Wall Street. Per usual, West is feeling persecuted for his mightiness: "Enter the kingdom / But watch who you bring home / They see a black man with a white woman at the top floor / They gonna come to kill King Kong." Like I said: paranoid. But try to stop listening.

One of the things that's so compelling about West is that for all the facets of his Yeezus/Jesus complex, he's also aware of his ridiculousness, winking at his eccentricities and our outrage at his antics. One of the clearest signs that he doesn't really think he's Christ is the Nine Inch Nails-ish blaster I Am a God: "I am a God / Hurry up with my damn massage." Even he knows he's a lot to handle. "Hurry up with my damn croissants!" he straight-faces later. No need to genuflect.

West brings in top producers, including French electronic-dance duo Daft Punk for trancey synth clashes, Rick Rubin for the booming sound systems. There are celeb cameos too, including bisexual soul singer Frank Ocean, who croons on New Slaves, which condemns materialism on each side of the buy-sell equation. (There's also a homophobic verse tucked in there, which might have given the heart-sleeved Ocean pause.)

Some songs are half-baked at best: Hold My Liquor doesn't take off until its second-half, a swirling prog-rock wonderland. Bon Iver is on that track and on the next, I'm in It, a stuttering Frankenstein monster about convenience-store condoms and heinous pillow talk. Listen to it once, and then be done with it — advice I'd give to Ms. Kardashian as well. (Oh boy, she must have a lot of questions about this one.)

Kanye's been taking heat lately for all manner of Kanye-ness: alleged affairs, comparing himself to Steve Jobs and Walt Disney (not to mention the Son of God). His latest brouhaha is the song Blood on the Leaves, a sexually charged ballad that samples Nina Simone's version of Strange Fruit, a politically charged masterpiece about lynching and injustice. A time for West to redeem himself? Yeah, right. The only person he cares about is himself and a female conquest. By using Strange Fruit for his own misogynistic means, he's begging you to attack him, as if that's his only way to live. So go on, take shots. King Kong can take the heat.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Comments
A fan's guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa's NHL All-Star Game

A fan's guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa's NHL All-Star Game

So you don’t have a ticket to the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Tampa, but you still want to feel like you’re in on the action. No problem. “Our mindset is, few are honored with a ticket to the game,” said Steve Mayer, the N...
Published: 01/23/18
Moon Taxi’s Trevor Terndrup talks jock jams, music festivals, the NHL’s All-Star Weekend and more

Moon Taxi’s Trevor Terndrup talks jock jams, music festivals, the NHL’s All-Star Weekend and more

Last spring, Moon Taxi got their first taste of Gasparilla season in Tampa, performing at the Gasparilla Music Festival in Curtis Hixon Park.This year, the Nashville dance-rock band is coming back to town the same weekend as the main event, Saturday'...
Published: 01/23/18
Slayer’s farewell tour coming to the Orlando Amphitheater in Orlando

Slayer’s farewell tour coming to the Orlando Amphitheater in Orlando

Metal icons Slayer dropped a bombshell on the world Monday when they announced plans for a farewell world tour, after which they'd call it quits after nearly four decades as a band.Today we've gotten the dates for that star-studded speed metal specta...
Published: 01/23/18
Neil Diamond says he has Parkinson’s, retires from touring

Neil Diamond says he has Parkinson’s, retires from touring

NEW YORK — Neil Diamond is retiring from touring after he says he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who turns 77 on Wednesday, is canceling his tour dates in Australia and New Zealand for March. He was on his 50...
Published: 01/23/18
SoundBytes: Dierks Bentley, Kris Kristofferson, Anthony Jeselnik and more

SoundBytes: Dierks Bentley, Kris Kristofferson, Anthony Jeselnik and more

— Add another concert to the pile of potential Country Megaticket shows at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre: Dierks Bentley. The country superstar announced he'll be coming to Tampa this summer with Brothers Osborne and LANCO, but n...
Published: 01/22/18
These music icons have surprisingly never won a Grammy

These music icons have surprisingly never won a Grammy

By MESFIN FEKADUNEW YORK CITY — It’s a hard pill to swallow, but listen to this: Diana Ross has never won a Grammy. She’s part of a group of iconic musicians who can’t call themselves Grammy winners, including Bob Marley, Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys,...
Published: 01/22/18
Daryl Hall and John Oates, Train coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Daryl Hall and John Oates, Train coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Just try to feel bad after seeing this show. It's impossible. Can't be done.Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Daryl Hall and John Oates are heading back on the road this summer, and they're doing it with perennially sunny pop-rock hitmakers Train. They'll...
Published: 01/22/18
Jake Owen, Dustin Lynch to headline concert at PGA’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor

Jake Owen, Dustin Lynch to headline concert at PGA’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor

After a five-year absence from Tampa Bay, Jake Owen is making up for lost time in 2018.Days after headlining the U.S. 103.5 Throwdown By the Bay at Amalie Arena, it was announced Owen will return to Tampa Bay to headline the annual Saturday night con...
Published: 01/22/18
Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, more coming to Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, more coming to Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

With the Grammys on Sunday, it's poised to be a big week for Kendrick Lamar. So he's planning a victory tour with his whole team.Lamar's label, Top Dawg Entertainment, just announced an all-star tour toppeed by Kung-Fu Kenny; acclaimed R&B sensation ...
Published: 01/22/18
SoundBytes: Fall Out Boy, Indigo Girls, Spin Doctors, Erasure and more

SoundBytes: Fall Out Boy, Indigo Girls, Spin Doctors, Erasure and more

— If you missed Fall Out Boy's Tampa concert last fall, they're coming to Orlando in September. They'll play the Amway Center with Machine Gun Kelly on Sept. 16. Click here.— Moon Taxi will join Fitz and the Tantrums on the bill for a fre...
Published: 01/19/18