jesus is king

Courtesy of Def Jam

October 28, 2019

TEST SPIN | Kanye West — ‘Jesus Is King’

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Ever wonder how someone can delay an album for over a year and still produce a piece of total garbage? Well, look no further than Kanye West’s latest release for an answer to that question. Jesus is King is objectively West’s worst album. It is neither innovative nor pleasant to listen to. The album is like an essay you ask a professor for an extension on, still turn it in late and confidently submit the worst essay your professor has ever graded.

The hype for Jesus Is King began back September 2018 with the announcement of Yandhi (an album which was supposed to proceed 2018’s Ye but never came to fruition). But as West’s divisive Sunday Service began to pick up steam across the country, the prospects of ever receiving Yandhi dwindled.

Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and wife of the Yeezus rapper, teased Jesus Is King in August for the first time. In a Twitter post (which soon became the homepage of West’s website) she announced an initial track list for Jesus Is King and set the release date for Sept. 27. Considering only a handful of tracks made it from Kardashian West’s post onto the actual album, one can only imagine how bad Jesus Is King would have been had it been released in its first form.

As Sept. 27 rolled around, West began hosting listening parties in major cities across the country (which were problematic for reasons that would take too long to explain in this review). As per usual, West disappointed fans and delayed the album indefinitely. I will admit, I fell victim to the trap and bought a sweatshirt when the first wave of merch came out. No, I’m not proud of myself.

About a month later, fans were satiated … well, at least the waiting game is over. Jesus Is King, which was released on Friday around noon, opens with a track performed by West’s own Sunday Service Choir. There is no doubt that his choir is composed of very talented vocalists, but since most fans were expecting something along the lines of The Life of Pablo for this, “Every Hour” is a disappointing opening.

One really must look no further than the abomination of “Closed on Sunday” to understand just how bad this album is. While I’m sure all of you Kanye couples out there can’t wait to post Instagrams with captions that read “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A,” please, just don’t. There is no need to dignify that song with any more media attention.

Ultimately, what makes Jesus Is King so frustrating is that with some better lyrics and some more Mike Dean (the mastermind producer behind most of your favorite artists), this could’ve been a top-three Kanye West album. Tracks like “Selah,” “Follow God” and “Use This Gospel” are incredibly fun to listen to and evoke feelings to those conjured on The Life of Pablo and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But the fact of the matter is that they are not mixed well and West’s lyrics don’t make any sense. For Christ’s sake (yes, pun intended), the focal point of the beat on “Use This Gospel” is a car seatbelt chime.

Jesus Is King disappoints. And one can only hope that West finds a way to be happy without making exclusively shitty gospel music for the rest of his life. Regardless, one bad album in a nearly twenty-year career isn’t enough to dismiss West forever.

 

Peter Buonanno is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves as the arts editor on The Sun’s editorial board. He can be reached at pbuonanno@cornellsun.com.