It’s been a very long road getting here, but the destination has finally been reached — sort of. After years of teasing, Kanye West’s seventh album, The Life of Pablo,has finally been released for streaming only on Tidal (I know what you’re thinking, “who?”). After the release of singles “Only One” and “All Day” in 2015, West went silent about the status of the album. It wasn’t until January of 2016 that West remembered he had an album to make, and announced the album was coming soon.
The album was released to high anticipation, but it was also really messy. Pablo went through many changes, including former album titles So Help Me God, SWISH, and Waves — all eventually left behind due to a shift of mind by Kanye. After those 2015 singles failed to garner the success of previous releases, he went on a hiatus — similar to that of Rihanna with her newly released (and equally as messy) album ANTI — only to return with what is easily his most mixed and experimental album yet.
The Life of Pablo opens with the inspirational “Ultralight Beam,” an uplifting, choir-driven song that almost plays out as a gospel track, discussing West’s faith in God. The track even goes as far as featuring vocals by pastor Kirk Franklin, clearly setting the stage for the most interesting work of West’s career. The album progresses strongly, with highlight “Famous” featuring Rihanna and a questionable lyric about the status of Taylor Swift’s fame, which I will appropriately neglect.