Generally album reviews that include the sentences “It’s like farting” and “It’s all the same sh*t” are going to be negative. Not so for Lou Reed, who can turn a fart into a double-album. The Talk House asked the former-VU frontman to review Kanye West’s brilliant Yeezus (a perfect match, actually; Yeezus isn’t dissimilar from the defiantly noisy White Light/White Heat), and while he undercuts himself at every turn, he also adores the album.
Kanye West is a child of social networking and hip-hop. And he knows about all kinds of music and popular culture. The guy has a real wide palette to play with. That’s all over Yeezus. There are moments of supreme beauty and greatness on this record, and then some of it is the same old shit. But the guy really, really, really is talented. He’s really trying to raise the bar. No one’s near doing what he’s doing.
People say this album is minimal. And yeah, it’s minimal. But the parts are maximal. Take “Blood on the Leaves.” There’s a lot going on there: horns, piano, bass, drums, electronic effects, all rhythmically matched — towards the end of the track, there’s now twice as much sonic material. But Kanye stays unmoved while this mountain of sound grows around him. Such an enormous amount of work went into making this album. Each track is like making a movie.
Actually, the whole album is like a movie, or a novel — each track segues into the next. This is not individual tracks sitting on their own island, all alone. (Via)
There goes Old Man Reed, arguing with himself about movies vs. books.
He seems to have insinuated in a recent New York Times interview that My Beautiful Dark, Twisted Fantasy was to make up for stupid shit he’d done. And now, with this album, it’s “Now that you like me, I’m going to make you unlike me.” It’s a dare. It’s braggadoccio. Axl Rose has done that too, lots of people have. “I Am a God” — I mean, with a song title like that, he’s just begging people to attack him.
But why he starts the album off with that typical synth buzzsaw sound is beyond me, but what a sound it is, all gussied up and processed. I can’t figure out why he would do that. It’s like farting. It’s another dare — I dare you to like this. Very perverse.
Still, I have never thought of music as a challenge — you always figure, the audience is at least as smart as you are. You do this because you like it, you think what you’re making is beautiful. And if you think it’s beautiful, maybe they’ll think it’s beautiful. When I did Metal Machine Music, New York Times critic John Rockwell said, “This is really challenging.” I never thought of it like that. I thought of it like, “Wow, if you like guitars, this is pure guitar, from beginning to end, in all its variations. And you’re not stuck to one beat.” That’s what I thought. Not, “I’m going to challenge you to listen to something I made.” I don’t think West means that for a second, either. You make stuff because it’s what you do and you love it.
You thinking what I’m thinking? Lulu 2 with Reed, Metallica, and West playing nothing but dog whistles. #art
(via Getty Image) (Via the Talk House)