I’d like to preface this by saying that I don’t really listen to Kanye’s music. Does that make me the best judge for his latest album? Absolutely.
Not. Absolutely not. But am I gonna write out my thoughts anyways? Absolutely. And after that, I’m gonna share my FAVORITE parts of some published reviews...
So first things first, here's the stuff that swirled around in my brain while listening:
Oh god, there are so many songs
How many features are there?
Too many (not necessarily a bad thing but...) MARILYN MANSON AND DABABY?
Remember when Kanye got Kim a hologram of Robert for her birthday?
(hehe sorry, i’ve just got parents on the brain)
The transition between “Donda Chant” and “Jail” was so good
It reminded me of the opening riff on “Crazy Train” by Ozzy, you know the one
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta… Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans?
WELL HELLO MS LAURYN HILL
“Jesus Lord pt 2” just so happens to be the longest track out of all 27. According to Spotify, it’s also the track with the least amount of plays.
Does the cover art have anything to do with the fact that the whole album is censored?
Who remembers Childish Gambino’s cover art for 3.15.20
Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for (mostly so you don’t have to go look for them yourself)… I'm honored to present-
(bold and gigantic for dramatic effect, obviously)
Slate - “Congrats, Kanye West: You’ve Achieved Peak Jackass-dom” - Carl Wilson
“During the extended stretch of Sunday afternoon that I spent straining to force myself to start listening to the way-overdue, yet strangely unexpected, release of Kanye West’s eleventy-dozen-hour-long album Donda, my mind kept wandering: What must it have been like, I wondered, to be a books critic during the time that Norman Mailer was regarded as one of the most important American writers? Here was a guy who, over the course of three decades, helped radically transform the practice of non-fiction, co-founded the culturally indispensable Village Voice, and led a charismatic, compelling public life. He was also a macho egomaniac, who wrote massively screwed-up things about race and feminism, was obnoxious and pugnacious, and, oh yes, was convicted of stabbing one of his six wives with a pen-knife in a drunken brawl. Now imagine being a newspaper book critic in the mid-1970s assigned to write about the new Norman Mailer book. You’d want to say, ‘Do we really have to give that son of a bitch the time of day, again?’ But then again, that book might turn out to be The Executioner’s Song, the nonfiction novel that Joan Didion called ‘astonishing,’ which helped reshape the debate over capital punishment in its time.”
The Independent - “Kanye West review, Donda: Marilyn Manson’s inexcusable presence leaves a sour taste that no amount of gospel can cleanse” - Roisin O’Connor
“What is impossible to forget – or forgive – is the presence of two of music’s most despised figures on “Jail Pt 2”. West warned of the involvement of Marilyn Manson and DaBaby when the pair appeared at his Chicago listening party, standing with him on the porch of the house that once belonged to his mother. Manson joins West for the refrain – “Guess I’m going to jail tonight” – in a moment so flagrantly mocking it brings bile to my throat. It’s unclear whether West is attempting some kind of comment on ‘cancel culture’ or using these men as a religious metaphor: neither is excusable.”
Complex - “Kanye’s Return to Chaos” - Jessica McKinney
“Finally, around 10:30 p.m., the flames on the candles take their last breath and the light in the stadium blacks out. A loop of a woman reciting Donda’s name begins to play, as a montage of her and Kanye flash on two large screens. The words ‘Body Ownership,’ ‘Hyper Object,’ ‘No Criticism,’ and ‘Alien Nation’ appear over the images. At this point, I notice that Dave Chappelle is in the suite next to me. He’s huddled in a chair, biting into what looks like a buffalo wing.”
Same here, Dave. Maybe I should listen to the album at Wingstop/Buffalo Wild Wings/BJ's for the full experience.
Mr. Chappelle, if you ever see this, I have a couple questions: are you a more of a ranch man or a blue cheese kinda dude? Celery or carrot sticks? And most importantly, BONE-IN? OR BONELESS?
The Washington Post - “Kanye West is now trolling us from the void” - Chris Richards
“As for the rapper’s vocalizations, they’re only more of the same, as both words and sounds… That means more Christian youth-group poetry contest submissions (‘It’s hard to be an angel when you’re surrounded by demons’), more elliptical confessions of his slackness (‘I don’t do rehearsals, and I don’t do commercials cause they too commercial’), more forced levity that only almost feels fun (‘If I hit you with a W-Y-D? you better not hit me with a H-E-Y/It better be like ‘hiiii’ with a bunch of i’s’). You want more? ‘Donda’ has more, you wretched soul. At nearly two hours, this is a long ride on an empty gas tank. Let’s not waste any more of our precious lives talking about it here.”
Anyways... GOD, I’VE NEVER USED MORE/BEEN MORE CONFUSED BY QUOTATION MARKS AND APOSTROPHES IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
This release may not be the one for me but I have to admit, the shows did seem fascinating. I'd love to hear Ongo Gablogian's thoughts on one of the listening parties...
If you need me, I’ll be in my room listening to Sad Night Dynamite, a 2021 release I still can't get over, and laughing at more reviews. I know, I know. Some things never change.
Sorry, Kanye ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What'd you think of the album? And more importantly, where do you stand when it comes to buffalo wings?