Normally we hear that geniuses can sometimes be a bit crazy: Isaac Newton established the laws of gravity, and Einstein developed the theory of relativity—both apparently had a form of autism.
With the release of his album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West demonstrates he is a musical genius—yet at the same time, it is a masterpiece that only the crazy Louis Vuitton Don can create.
The album starts off with the track “Dark Fantasy.” Immediately, something about the album is unique. Nicki Minaj explains the “Dark Fantasy” fairytale in a British accent, as an angelic choir begins singing. It almost seems as if there is going to be no Mr. West in the album at all, until the beat drops in to a simple, piano-based beat. As soon as Kanye raps his first lines, “I fantasized ‘bout this back in Chicago/ Mercy, mercy, me that Murcielago,” one can tell the rest of the album will be a treat.
In the following tracks, Kanye West revels that he truly does keep all the best beats for himself. In “Gorgeous,” Kid Cudi takes care of the catchy hook to a kind of galactic, space-guitar beat—quite suited for Scott Mescudi. This song then leads over to his hit single “Power,” which includes an African-like chant and clapping as the foundation of the beat.
As the interlude to “All of the Lights” commences, many might think that the album was magically replaced by another: the soft piano melody accompanied by cellos might lead one to believe that the interlude is a new twist on a classical song. Once it fades, and a loud fanfare of trumpets announces the start of the hit song “All of the Lights” featuring Rihanna, one realizes it was just another beautiful musical transition by Kanye West.
As the track progress, they switch from the hectic song like “Monster” featuring Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z, to the melancholy—yet strong—rhythms of “So Appalled.”
The version of “Runaway” on the album is much different than the single version: he adds a 3-minute vocoder tune to lull the listener into a daydream-like state.
This daydream is then interrupted by “Devil in a new Dress.” Here, West talks about his difficulties of being a celebrity coupled with the problems with his girlfriend. What makes this track beautiful in particular, is the use of West’s sing-song like lyrics. After West’s verse, a minute-long piano and guitar solo ensue—it’s great enough for any music lover to rewind and listen to again.
The tracks that remain follow in an up-and-down sequence: one song is fast paced like “Hell of a Life,” then the next is slower, like “Blame Game.”
What is great about this pattern is that it reflects Kanye’s life: one moment, he’s living the dream, being with girls, driving nice cars, and soaking in the fame. The next, he’s thinking about all the problems he has in having loving relationships (“Blame Game” is the track to listen to hear. At the end, stay tuned for a hilarious skit featuring comedian Chris Rock), being a jerk (you can bet he’s toasting to himself in “Runaway”), and wanting things to be back the way they were before he was famous.
Kanye West could be called crazy for the way he acts, and for how he reacted to Taylor Swift’s win at the VMA’s that night. But if anything good came out of his terrible behavior, it was this album.