New approach in ‘Life of Pablo’ improves on previous album

by JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Social Media Coordinator

Yeezy is definitely headed in a new direction with his music, but he doesn’t lose his sense of self-worth.

Tidal, a streaming service owned by Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, is the only place to listen to the new album by Kanye West.

The service has no free option, only a free 30-day trail and an optional military and student discount. The design of the app is stunning. However, the app has a few bugs.

“The Life of Pablo” sounds like the predecessor to “Yeezus.”

The album starts with the track “Ultralight Beam,” which did not play at all on the app or website.

The second and third songs on the album have soul intros that remind me of the lyrics from “Blood on the Leaves,” which alludes to the struggles of African Americans. I wasn’t too crazy about the second song, “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” as the only verse in the song seems to lack definition. However, the third song, “Pt. 2,” was more enjoyable because of the verses from Desiigner and the meaningful hook that West repeats from the previous track.

What made a handful of the songs not very appealing were the pointless hooks and lyrics that West repeats over and over and over and over and over. One of the prime examples of the repetitiveness is on the 13th track, “Wolves” when he says the same sentence six times in a row, only interchanging two words.

In addition to repetitive lyrics, some of the beats were ear-bleeding. In the last 15 seconds of the song, “Feedback,” there is a noise that forces me to take off my headphones. The beat in that song was a bit disorienting in the beginning and end. But when the bass and other loops were added when he starts rapping, it made the beat interesting.

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Many of the beats across the album were odd, but intriguing. Unlike the songs from West’s previous album, “Yeezus,” many of the beats were contemporary and not insane and futuristic. However, some were showing signs of its predecessor.

In some of his songs, West hints to past material. In the song, “Famous,” Swizz Beatz yells, “Wake up, Mr. West! Oh, he’s up!,” which is an obvious allusion to the first song of his best-selling album, “Late Registration.”

Some of the other songs sound like it would be a bonus track from his auto-tune album “808’s and Heartbreaks.”

Like on his many albums in the past, West has featured many artists. One of my favorite songs on the album, “Pt. 2” features the artist Desiigner. This new artist sounds much like the mainstream artist, Future, who has a deep, mellow tone. Desiigner’s hit song, “Panda,” is imprinted on the third track on the song, and as a result, gives the song a different sound than the rest of the album.

Another example of the influence of other artists is in another one of my favorite songs, “No More Parties in L.A.,” featuring Kendrick Lamar. It is the first collaboration between the two unique artists.

The song sounds like Lamar had a heavy influence on the track, from the faster pace of the song, the seamless transitions between West and Lamar, and the ‘90s beat.

“No More Parties in L.A.” is my favorite song. It’s different than the rest of the album, but that may be because I am a huge fan of Kendrick Lamar. Most of the other songs don’t have many bars, and the lyrics are short and choppy, unlike in this song.

Even though there are other influences that changed certain songs, West remains true to himself. He is still producing all his own songs and projecting his ego.

West even produces an entire song with the title, “I Love Kanye.” He added the song to bring forth the criticisms that many people have and to show the comical side of his personality.

“What if Kanye made a song about Kanye? Called “I Miss the Old Kanye,” man that would be so Kanye,” shows the criticisms many people have about his new music and his way of dealing with his critics.

West acknowledges his flaws and uses them to his advantage. His last album took that mentality to another level by calling himself Yeezus. In this album, he refers to himself as Pablo, an accomplished artist. The name Pablo also refers to Pablo Escobar, a drug dealer, and Paul the Apostle, the apostle of Christ.

Just like the other Pablos that Kanye refers to, he is telling everybody that he is an extremely wealthy, accomplished artist who still announces his faith to God.

West is still himself, but focusing too much on being new and ahead of everybody else.

Tyler, the Creator, is a fan of West and decided to show the love for one of the songs on the new album. West’s version of “Freestyle 4” is forgettable. Tyler’s version of the song, featuring A$AP Rocky, is 10 times better.

I believe the reason for that is because West is focusing too much on everything else and what everybody is saying, rather than having fun with the music like Tyler does.

Overall, “The Life of Pablo” is two steps forward from his last album, but two steps backward from all his others that I loved so much!

The more you listen to the songs, the more they grow on you. You forget that the lyrics are a bit repetitive and the beat is a bit radical in some songs.

In all honesty, I miss the old Kanye, but want part of the new Kanye as well.

I would give this album 3  out of 5 stars, right between “Yeezus” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

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