• Lou James

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Why This Album is a Classic - Part One

This is a start of a new series, titled ‘Why This Album is a Classic ‘ which basically just describes why these albums should be remembered as some of the greatest of all time, and why you need to listen to them.

Starting off with Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, which in my opinion is one of, if not the best album of all time, easily standing at a 10/10. The album has no song which is skippable, with every different track bringing something completely different to the table, making the album never go stale, and consistently fresh when listening to it. The album was recorded in 2009 and 2010, after Kanye went on an exile to Hawaii, following the aftermath of the infamous moment with Taylor Swift at the VMAs. With his entire career in jeopardy, Kanye was an enemy to the public eye, and to make sure he stayed on top, he would have to release a perfect album, which is something he managed to achieve.

He even made all the people working on the album wear suits in the studio, to create an atmosphere like no other. Kanye would spend 12 or so hours in the studio every single day, and do everything with his producers, such as just hitting the gym. There were also rules set when you went into the studio, such as ‘No Tweeting’, ‘No Blogging’ or ‘No Hipster Hats’.

A short film titled ‘Runaway’ even went along with this album, which was about a Phoenix crashing down to Earth, which Kanye then falls in love with, but she eventually had to return home. It was even directed by Kanye, and written by Hype Williams.

The opening track ‘Dark Fantasy’ is probably the best opener of any album ever, with Nicki Minaj reading the opening lines, to an entire choir singing ‘Can we get much higher’, which proceeds to Kanye rapping some of the best lyrics in his discography, it is just a beautiful opener. The next song is ‘Gorgeous’ which is Kanye’s lyrical capabilities at their best, rapping about important issues such as black people getting more time in prison than white people, with the line: ‘Face it, Jerome gets more time than Brandon’. With an epic guitar backing from Mike Dean, this track is truly mesmerising.

The song ‘Power’ is probably the most popular record off of the album, with Kanye’s lyrical and producing capabilities shown again. Kanye stated that it took 5000 hours to make this record, as it had to be perfect, and it was. Lines such as ‘Screams from the haters got a nice ring to it, I guess every superhero needs his theme music’ just set the tone for the song. When in the studio, Kanye asked everyone what the word power means to them, which is how this song was inspired to be made. The music video for ‘Power’ was a moving painting, showing a falling empire, and is another beautiful piece of this album.

‘All Of The Lights’ is another popular track off of the album, winning two Grammys for best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration. It’s a song which has an uplifting sound, but dark lyrics, as Kanye raps about an abusive father trying to get back into his daughters life.

Songs such as ‘Monster’ and ‘So Appalled’ are tracks with some of the best lyrics and features you’ll ever see, with Nicki Minaj having her best verse on the twisted track ‘Monster’ and everyone from Kanye, to Jay-Z, to Cyhi The Prince going off on ‘So Appalled’

‘Devil In A New Dress’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Blame Game’, ‘Hell Of A Life’ and ‘Lost In The World’ help to close out the album. They all discuss women of past, present and future. ‘Devil In A New Dress’ discusses how some women learn from Satan, and the ups and downs in relationships. Rick Ross penned one of his greatest verses at the end of the track also. ‘Runaway’ shows Kanye pouring out his heart into a record, showing how he struggles with relationships, rapping about how he ‘always finds something wrong’, with Pusha T coming in and purposefully penning down a verse which shows his character as a man who does not respect women and is selfish. The lonely piano keys make for an eerie and beautiful sound. ‘Blame Game’ is about a crumbling relationship, which is likely a reference to Kanye’s relationship with Amber Rose, with Chris Rock doing a skit at the end of the track, with him sleeping with Kanye’s girlfriend.

‘Hell Of A Life’ is a song in Kanye’s fantasy, with lyrics about how he fell in love with a porn star. ‘Lost In The World’ is the closing full length track on the album, which is a love letter which Kanye sent to his now wife, Kim Kardashian. With Bon Iver taking on the opening vocals, and an array of voices singing about how I’m Lost In The World, with Kanye’s poem in between it all, this track is truly beautiful. The last track on the album is ‘Who Will Survive In America’ which is a speech about how America is crumbling and is now ‘Blood and tears instead of milk and honey’, with the last line on the entire album being ‘Who will survive in America? Followed by applause.

This album has to go down as one of the greatest of all time, and is utterly perfect. Most media outlets named it their album of the year in 2010, with the album receiving widespread critical acclaim, even getting to 94/100 on Metacritic. The album has Beautiful songs such as ‘Runaway’, Dark songs such as ‘All Of The Lights’, Twisted songs such as ‘Monster’ and songs living in a fantasy such as ‘Hell Of A Life’. For me, this album take me into another world when listening to it, and if I ever make music, it is definitely the record which has inspired me the most. What are your thoughts on the record, and how has it affected you? Next on the series: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

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