Living with…Kanye West…for a week
On discovering that Kanye West recorded My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in Honolulu (oh, the sufferings of the modern artist) I just wanted to map out a few other locations for album recordings…
1. Hatfield, Hertfordshire – The Marine Girls A Day By The Sea (Tracey Thorn’s first band)
2. Abbey Road Studios, London – so many Beatles albums and Kylie Minogue’s latest!
3. Slane Castle, Dublin – U2 The Unforgettable Fire
4. West Berlin – David Bowie Low
5. Nellcôte, in Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
6. South Africa – Paul Simon Graceland
7. Folsom Prison US – Johnny Cash
8. Memphis, USA – Dusty Springfield Dusty in Memphis
9. Montserrat – The Police Ghosts in The Machine
10. Honolulu, Hawaii Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
That’s the word that springs to mind to describe the diversity and richness of sound throughout this whole album.
Kanye West is as well known as a producer as he is individual artist. He produced Jay-Z’s classic The Blueprint album in 2001 and so as you’d expect his fifth album MBDTF is a lavish affair. Although categorised as hip hop his style draws on the traditions of soul and rock, including some fairly heavy sampling. You can feel his admiration for artists like Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye coming through the material.
Kanye West is probably better known by Daily Mail readers as Kim Kardashian’s other half. You know – the couple that we all like to tut about…
I have already written several times about my struggle with hip hop lyrics and themes, and Kanye West’s album is no different. By the end of the week there were several tracks here that I was just skipping as I’d had enough. I’m aware that the style here is more tongue in cheek than maybe others but even so I don’t really need some of this s**t as the man would say himself. But he’s not an Eminem…I didn’t give up. I easily made it through the week on the quality of the rest of the tracks.
The album starts with a powerful trilogy – Dark Fantasy, Gorgeous and POWER. Dark Fantasy is a clever blend of pop and hip-hop with the repeating chorus of “Can We Get Much Higher?” interspersed with compulsive rap. Gorgeous is soul rock straight out of the 70’s – you can almost see the sideboards sprouting as they sing. POWER is a delight of acapella harmonies and rapping. I dare anyone not to be elated after those three. Beyond these Runaway is the standout for me, a song that is not afraid to grow in to itself at it’s own pace and contains the strangest of choruses
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags,
Let’s have a toast for the assholes,
Let’s have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know
And just to be clear this is not a song about running away together (the norm) but a plea for the girl to run away from him!
MBDTF is often cited as one of the great albums of this century, and I can understand why that is. It gets inside you, and draws you in to it’s world of drink, drugs and self obsession. I’ll still confess to a struggle with what he is saying but that doesn’t mean it’s not musically great. I’m glad I visited to see what it’s like.
Oooh, Kanye and Kim while I remember – hope the pregnancy and birth goes well. Come and visit sometime.
The clip below is an amazing visual feast for Runaway (edited for language – Kanye now has ‘issues?’ – trust me, he never had those on the album, and you’re unclear as to what picture he sent) featuring a ballet troupe performing to the song. Definitely worth a watch…