I thought about writing a review on this blog of Kanye West’s new album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” But I’ve actually been having a really good Facebook conversation with a young brother I know that captures how I feel about the album, about Kanye West, and all the hubbub around him.
This is about how I feel about the album. Though I think a 7/10 is a mite high, maybe a 6/10 6.5…eh. it’s mostly enjoyable tho
I posted the Popmatters review because it captures much of what I feel about the album and is also emblematic of what I consider a real problem in music reviewing: grading on a curve such that you give credit for ambition without sufficiently assessing execution.
Drives me batty.
Anyway, this exchange which took place in the comments of the post was only lightly edited for clarity:
But the actual video had the look of the glossiest film school project ever based on a script by something I might have written when I was 13. This doesn't mean that Kanye should stop trying, but that, you know, maybe he should get more people. People who will be critical and give valuable insight on things. Because it's obvious he's still learning and has talent, but would benefit from a film mentor and a decent writer who could make his visions come together better until he's able to fully handle a project on his own. But this is pretty much my same gripe with Tyler Perry, someone who has a ton of money, but no interest in actually learning the craft, hence keeps making films that ask the audience to forgive his shortcomings so they can enjoy entertainment that reflects their tastes. Meaning, I can appreciate his right to make art, but don't particularly care for it because I know what decent plot, good writing and a story arc is.
I also think the film might have worked better if Kanye and Selita had not spoken at all*. Many of the images in the film were striking enough, the metaphors telegraphed like a neon sign, that we didn't need dialogue to reiterate what we'd just seen.
Silence can be really powerful. For an artist like 'Ye, who talks too much and never articulates what he means terribly well, experimenting with silence could be the very thing to finally make his work cohere.
*The dinner/ballet scene was terribly handled as well. It was too long, but also the dancing did not connect to the song "Runaway" terribly well. Methinks Kanye is banking on everyone saying "ballet = deep" instead of actually watching the movement and listening to the music.