Friday, September 14, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why I Like Kanye West’s "Graduation" in Spite of Itself:

(Tom Breihan is way cooler than me. Seriously.)

10. Kanye is inching dangerously close to becoming an absolute parody of himself. The pop culture movie references, the forced cleverness in his lyrics. For the most part it WORKS, but it is kind of becoming old hat. The fact that he refuse to realize this makes it all massively entertaining on an unexpected level.

09. The lack of skits that everyone seems to be so happy about is cool and all, but their absence here reeks of pandering. To clarify: the album works very well without them. You don’t miss them or anything, but they are conspicuous by their absence and it oddly becomes distracting. Kind of ironic, I guess.

08. Even though he still can’t seem to reconcile his faux lyrical complexity with the grandness and meticulous nature of the production, it’s still an interesting dance to watch. Graduation probably contains some of Kanye’s weakest flows but strongest moments of pure, organic musical greatness.

07. After listening to the album several times over, I am thoroughly convinced that Kanye does, in fact, love and worship Jay-Z. I should have known this before—I mean, everyone else did—but I never fully bought it before he laid down those verses on “Big Brother.” He lays it on a little thick, sure, but subtlety has never been West’s strong point.

06. West kind of scales himself back in a lot of ways on Graduation but is able to keep a lot of his arrogance in tact. It works in spots and it doesn’t work in other spots. I mean, in the end, all the bitching we do about his ego—it is a big part of what makes him so compelling, or, dare I say, charming. So, while I don’t love all the results when he switches things up like he does on Graduation, I enjoy seeing his conceit shine through even when he is attempting to hide it.

05. This has to be one of the worst album covers in recent memory. No, REALLY. I’m not one to hate, and I generally don’t care about this kind of stuff. However, a cover like this speaks such volumes as to how over the top this guy goes that it actually works as a brilliant metaphor for his whole career. As ugly and ill-conceived as it is…this is fucking perfect. Though, really...was this all THAT bad?...Well they both are kinda shitty, aren't they?

04. Why is Wayne’s verse on “Barry Bonds” so weak? I mean, did West bring him in to make himself look better? How does THAT work? Wayne is one of the most exhilarating rappers around right now and KANYE WEST outshines him easily. Did Wayne take a dive? Is this all some sort of twisted comment on steroids? What the hell am I talking about?

03. The growth that West exhibited on Late Registration, while a tad overstated, seemed really natural. His work on Graduation, while presented as growth, seems a lot like him holding back more than anything else. However, I like the control he displays here, because it does show significant growth as an artist…as pretentious as that sounds.

02. T-Pain sucks. Really he does. The thing is…Kanye uses him in just the right way on “Good Life,” and it makes for a good track. That alone is one of the most impressive things that anyone can do!

01. Essentially, Graduation is an above par album with occasionally run of the mill material. A very odd juxtaposition (if you will), but it keeps things damn interesting. Graduation is a difficult album to embrace, but I think I am falling in love with it nonetheless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kanye is the best rapper out there. Forced cleverness? His lyrics are amazing and actually have something to them unlike all of Lil Wayne's songs and a lot of the rap of today.

And you cannot beat Kanye's videos either. It figures, though, you live in South Dakota, so I should expect nothing more.