Kanye West — The Life of Pablo

GOOD · Def Jam | discogs.com
Kanye West is perhaps the most divisive figure in modern celebrity circles. He is angry, brash and unapologetic, his head so firmly ensconced up his own anus that he resembles some Cronenbergian ouroboros. Yet, his discography is a stunning, shining kaleidoscope of breathtaking variety and almost divine inspiration (to which Kanye himself blasphemously attests on his previous oeuvre Yeezus).

How could a man so unpleasant generate such an astonishing repertoire? Petabytes of Internet are devoted to this question, whose answers even Yeezy himself has yet to fathom. He will most certainly continue to plumb those particular depths, the excavation of which has to date m netted him six platinum albums and no fewer than twenty-one Grammys. His is a rags to riches story, whet on the stone of his mighty talent, sharpened further by his repulsive egotism, into which we are offered tantalising glimpses through his prodigious musical output.

Pablo is the first album that is content to just be an album, stripped of all the zeitgeisty accoutrements that weighed down his previous works. An album of a lifetime, Kanye tweeted, but simply an album nonetheless — notwithstanding the prolonged and confusing buildup to its release, including two scrapped titles and an increasingly scribbled-upon handwritten tracklist.

Perhaps settling from iconoclasm to mere excellence is a function of time. Kanye is almost forty, happily married to the celebrity superstar of the Kardashian klan and father to two already impossibly privileged children. But as he finds well-deserved stability, we can all hope he will continue to grace us with his astonishing talents.