“Can we get much higher?”
We are asked this question as the first song on the album starts and you’ll know the answer by the end of the album. Kanye West has crafted the strangest hip hop album I’ve ever heard and God Bless him for it. The urgency in the songs spill over the whole album, creating a sense of paranoia and hopelessness. “Dark Fantasy” starts off the album, giving a sense of euphoria with its choir like chorus, foreshadowing the epic compositions to come. “Gorgeous” continues the spiritual vibe, setting the listener up for a shock with the powerful “Power”. The chant driven, tribal drum led, electric guitar wielding song takes your previous euphoria and kick it in the ass and welcomes you to a Mad Max style world via your ears.
“All of the Lights” has so much star power, the song can barely contain them all and as strong and bombast the song is, some of the artists feel lost in the production. The frantic delivery and anger filled rhymes in “Monster” are such a rush as West, Jay-Z and company spurt out rage fueled lines, compelling you to scream inside as if a lion is scratching your entrails to escape. “So Appalled” is a showcase for the contributing artists as well as Kanye but is weighed down by unnecessary cursing. “Devil in a New Dress” is a well crafted beat that materializes into a cool mellow pulse that puts you into twilight in this apocalyptic world.
Continuing this time of day is “Runaway” that delivers the weirdest beat on the album, while still giving the strongest sing-along song on the album. It sets the mood after the harsh day for follow-up songs “Hell of a Life” and “Blame Game”. “Hell of a Life” is a celebration of the day’s conquests and a time to boast a brag, while “Blame Game” is the reward that doesn’t materialize, although entitled. “Lost in the World” and “Who Will Survive in America” are a morning warm-up before the coming of the day, a energetic calm before the exhausting storm.
This album is simply the strangest journey a hip hop album has ever taken me on and I enjoyed every song on it. In case you haven’t realized it, the answer is yes. We can get much, much higher.
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Key Songs: Power, All of the Lights, Monster, Runaway, Lost in the World