Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Kanye West- College Dropout

iknowiknowiknow. the internet is saturated with praise for this album so i'll attempt to keep this brief, but i bought this today and it's so powerful and joyful and sumptuous i have to say something. it kind of reminds me of a musical, but so much more entertaining, touching, romantic, funny and all those other things that most musicals try so hard to be but can't because Kanye West isn't involved. the triumph through adversity, the central character you urge on even though you know he succeds in the end. The little cameos, funny caricatures in side-show sketches. The orchestration, steady through the album but versatile enough to enhance every moment. The sudden changes of scenery to preserve the pacing, the pauses for applause in between certain tracks. Obviously there are songs and moments that stand out, but it's the spectacle of the entire thing that is most impressive. The threads that tie these tracks together are more important than the differences that seperate them.
Where some mcs talk about about 'riding' the track, teetering on top of the beat like a surfer trying hard to not be overcome by the waves forward thrust, Kanye lets the sounds curl around him, swamping and then receding, falls into the wave. His hi-hats are perfect, they have a sort of woody quality, they sound dusty and aged like antique sideboards. The sheer luxury of the production is awesome. the neptunes sound too harsh and crass when attempting real instrument-soul, they can't give up up the hi-fidelity for a touch of classic finesse (the closest they come to Kanye's richness must be the drums in britney's 'boys' or the whole of NERDs 'bobby james'- a similar lushness/dereliction juxtaposition like'we don't care' here). However this isn't just beauty for the sake of itself, this is beauty that acts as a sonic metaphor; the drudge-work and hours of practice he describes in the lyrics were all so he could build this, his glittering musical palace. There's a clue on the front cover as well, the ornate framing containing the picture of the eponymous downcast bear. This is his picture surrounded by what he has now, to remind him of what he was then.    


Blogger PRANCEHALL said...

fucking hell!!!!!

it's GCSE english essays all over again.

July 20, 2004 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger PRANCEHALL said...

in a good way...in a good way.

full circle etc.

July 29, 2004 at 7:45 PM  

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