Is Kanye West's 'extreme' LP Yeezus the best album of 2013?
Critics line up to name Yeezus the year's best, but is album of 'hypertense egomania' worthy of title?
KANYE WEST was right: he really is the "number one rock star on the planet". At least that's the opinion of several influential publications who have voted his latest offering Yeezus the best album of 2013.
The Guardian's Paul MacInnes admits that some listeners were alienated by the ambitious album's "grand provocations", but says his paper's music critics were not among them. They voted Yeezus the number one album of 2013 ahead of Pale Green Ghosts by John Grant.
MacInnes says he hasn't been able to stop thinking about West's album for six months. "I've listened again and again, found new details, new jokes, new coinages that make me puzzle about the character who's uttering them," he writes. "Yeezus is undoubtedly the work of one of the greatest creative minds working today. The fact that he's messing with you throughout only makes it more exhilarating."
Yeezus was also anointed as the year's best album by Spin magazine. It ranks as "more than a glorified placeholder in West's catalogue", says the US music magazine, "but one can't help feeling that parenthood will compel his muse to even more Olympian levels of bombast and grandiosity".
The US music website Stereogum concurs that nothing else could touch Yeezus in 2013. In particular, it praises West for not resting on his laurels and challenging his audience with an album full of "digital screeches and groans, of sex-fiend animosity, of deconstructed club music, of frustrated noise". The music feels like a "a conscious rejection of anything anyone ever liked about him," the website says.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone magazine may not be getting a Christmas card from West this year after it declared Yeezus the number two album of 2013 behind Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City.
Despite awarding West's opus the silver medal, the magazine is lavish with its praise. Yeezus is West's "most extreme album ever, which is saying something," it says. "It's futuristic hip-hop – all industrial overload and hypertense egomania and hostile vibes."
Not everyone loves West's album of course. Kazeem Famuyide, digital content editor of TheStashed.com told MTV the quality of the music didn't match the hype.
While Yeezus "sure did make a lot of noise and spark a lot of conversation", only about half the songs are worth a replay, Famuyide says. ·