Sorry, Pitchfork & Rolling Stone, Kanye's Fantasy Is Not Perfect
Out since Monday, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy finally hit stores to what is seeming to us like mass audience acclaim. It's hitting in the right spots, lyrically and musically, and now, one by one, the critics are weighing in.
A week or so ago Rocks Off turned in our own overview of the album, while also showcasing some of Fantasy's best rhymes and lyrical slashes. This is what we had to say about the album, which we are still spinning after more than two weeks.
Fantasy is West's fifth album and coming-out party. If the first two were West gaining his footing, and the last two chronicled him warping his persona, Fantasy is the sound of the guy in him going online and fully functional.
Rocks Off was modest in our appraisal of the album. We like it, and it's definitely growing on us. Even while we type this, "Power" just started up on Rdio. Fantasy is a well-rounded album, holding our attention for all 13 tracks. There's nary a track we find ourselves skipping through or cringing at.
Some find Kanye's media personality laughable or grating, but if you separate the public persona from the one that comes across on Twitter and in interviews, the album reaps great rewards.
If you can separate the art from the artist, you see the album in an altogether different light. Alternately if you root for West and you swallow both down equally, it's like reading notes from the rapper's shrink visits.
But was it worth a rating of 10.0 from Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal, and five stars from Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone? We are some of the biggest fans of both outlets you will ever find, and Sheffield is on our top five list of rock writers and pop-culture physicists we have ever read, but the question has to be posed.
Take into account the albums that have previously received perfect scores from Pitchfork: Radiohead's Kid A and OK Computer; The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin; Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; and Bonnie "Prince" Billy's I See a Darkness. Is Fantasy on the same par with, arguably, those artists' most critically revered albums?
As fans of all of the above and West, Rocks Off can't agree that Fantasy will be on the same page as Kid A in ten years, or match the brain-melting creativity of Yankee - just yet.
Sheffield concluds his RS piece on the album by stating:
With Fantasy, he makes everybody else on the radio sound laughably meek, but he's also throwing down a challenge to the audience. Kanye West thinks you're a moron if you settle for artists who don't push as hard as he does. And that means pretty much everybody.