Kanye West disappoints with delayed album drop
Jackson Volenec — Reporter
Kanye West released his highly anticipated album “Jesus Is King” on Oct. 25, releasing several months after the date he had originally stated on social media.
Kanye has consistently been on the forefront of headlines and celebrity tabloids for years, as he has consistently garnered media attention whenever he feels like it. For his most recent album rollout, this is no different. Ever since September 2018, West has been teasing an album release, continuously setting release dates that he would not follow up on when the time actually came. Originally titled
“Yandhi,” this album was scheduled to be released in the fall of last year.
Here we are, a full year later, after five false release dates, and “Jesus Is King” is here.
This album is 27 minutes run time with 11 tracks long, with the longest song being just barely over three-and a-half minutes. Most songs on the album average around two minutes long. This is not unlike his previous two albums released in 2018, “Ye” and his collaborative project with Kid Cudi, “Kids See Ghosts,” which were both seven tracks long and just barely reached over 20 minutes long. The short length of these past two projects worked to their benefit, as each track was memorable and distinct from one another, resulting in an album that felt cohesive and satisfying despite its shorter length.
However, the same cannot be said about “Jesus Is King,” as the track list is not nearly as polished or consistent as Kanye’s work he put out last year. Out of the eleven tracks presented, only a handful of them stick out as tracks worth returning to; these are usually the songs with longer runtimes, as they are more fleshed out and complete sounding.
Songs like “On God,” “Selah” and “Use this Gospel” are highlights for me, as they are the most well-developed and thought out ideas on the entire album. It is no coincidence that these are also some of the longest songs on the entire album, all averaging around the three minute mark.
The album reintroduces heavy elements of religion and gospel into the mix, which
is not something that West has been a stranger to before this point. Groundbreaking singles such as “Jesus Walks” released back in 2004 displayed West showing his belief in the Christian God in a compelling way, while simultaneously coming through with a fantastic single that still holds up to this day. On “Jesus is King,” however, the religious themes do not seem to be portrayed in the same compelling or energetic way as they did on that legendary song.
The album peaks in its moments where it showcases quality production, something that one can expect from a Kanye project at this point, and the beautiful bits of singing that are scattered throughout the run time. However, some of the ideas that sound good on first listen stagnate quickly, as Kanye does not do much to progress these ideas that he has into developed and detailed pieces of music.
Mixing is another problem that this album seems to have, as a lot of the instrumentals do not sound quite right on a lot of the songs. Sometimes, it seems that they are overpowering the vocals, making it unclear as to what is being said, other times they sound muddy and distorted, and not in a good way. Some of the tracks sound like demos that have yet to be finished, such as “Water.” Funnily enough, Kanye had tweeted that they were finalizing the mix on that exact song a mere ten hours before its release, and it shows.
This entire album comes off as rushed and unfinished, which makes sense, considering the wave of delays and pushbacks that led up to its release. The ending track, “Jesus Is Lord,” is a mere 50 second snippet of what sounds like a basic structure for a song idea, rather than something that should be the concluding track on an album.
“Jesus Is King” seems to be a step backwards for someone like Kanye West, an artist who has put out eight albums prior to this one. As someone who has proven that they can come together with compelling pieces of music that both mainstream and alternative scenes can enjoy and celebrate, this album does not live up to the standards that West has made for himself. It also certainly does not live up to the year of waiting and hype that has been surrounding this project, either.