Review: Kanye West, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

Review: Kanye West, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’: Aidin Vaziri | George Bush doesn’t care about black people. Taylor Swift didn’t deserve to win. Matt Lauer is a tool. No matter how you feel about his delivery, Kanye West is rarely wrong. So it goes with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” the rapper’s brilliant new studio album, which arrives at a time when he’s thoroughly offended almost everyone and everything. But that doesn’t diminish the takeaway: Having started out producing hits for the likes of Britney Spears and Alicia Keys, the Chicago-born West has only grown as a formidable studio presence since releasing his first album, 2004’s “The College Dropout.” His latest finds him operating at peak capacity, employing cameos by everyone from the Black Eyed Peas to bearded indie-rocker Bon Iver. Each track aims for Olympic glory, starting with the epic opener, “Dark Fantasy,” in which West raps, “Tell me how do you respawn the students?/ And refresh the page and restart the memory?/ Respark the soul and rebuild the energy?” Following the minimalist “808s and Heartbreak,” he zips in the opposite direction here. Elton John provides the elegiac piano interlude that opens the centerpiece, “All of the Lights,” an all-guns-blazing anthem that features a hook from Rihanna and backing vocals by a million-dollar choir that includes La Roux, Keys, John Legend, Fergie, Kid Cudi, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Charlie Wilson and Tony Williams. Naturally, West is the only one you can really hear. The record’s highlight is “Runaway,” the track he premiered at the VMAs. Here the song is stretched out to nine-minutes-plus (there’s also a 35-minute music video, apparently) and comes with the kicker, “Baby, I got a plan/ Run away fast as you can.” No matter how much you want to, West makes it nearly impossible.

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