To listen to Kanye West's latest album is to experience the provocative vision of a man who no longer cares. This is him at his most sincere; an album with no radio-friendly songs, messages too politically edgy and vulgar to be quoted, and a sound unlike any other in the industry. "Yeezus" sounds like nothing West he has ever created: a move that immediately alienates his fans and a large part of his audience. Gone are the soulful boom-bap instrumentals and humorous quips Kanye West was so famous for. In its place are sounds of distress and emotional pain, the cries of a man who has reached the apex of success with only his empty soul to show for it. In a ten-track, forty minute affair, we are given a window into see what truly lies within the brain of Kanye West. .
A popular view of this album is that it's "minimalist"; as if a single word, much less one that inherently reduces the work it describes, could convey the musical brilliance of Kanye West. While an argument can be made for Yeezus having a crude, unadulterated sound, many songs are in fact lush with frenetic screaming, guitar riffs and nauseating synths. A particularly memorable moment is on the song 'Blood on the Leaves,' where the crooning, high-pitched voice of Nina Simone meets a outrageously brazen tuba progression courtesy of TNGHT. The resulting instrumentation provides the perfect background for West's wailing and woeful raps about unhealthy affairs with attention-seeking women. The production of this album is clean, while grimey, and shows an affinity for horns and loud noises. Songs such as 'Black Skinhead' or 'New Slaves,' with their high energy and "I-don't-give-a-damn" attitude, have become sports anthems and made their way onto gym playlists. In a purely aesthetic sense with no regards to its meaning, Yeezus is a musical masterpiece exuding confidence and polish. .
In the first few lines of the album's opener, 'On Sight,' Kanye West immediately sets the rules for listening: 'Yeezy season approaching, fuck whatever y'all been hearing, fuck what, fuck whatever y'all been wearing.