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Kanye West’s new album: Push-backs and hot tracks for Nov. 22 release

Mac Hendrickson | Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Does Kanye West have the potential to make a bad album? “808s and Heartbreaks” was a scare, but proved its worth over the long haul. With four dynamite albums behind him, three of which place on almost every American “Best of the Decade” list, Kanye West has set a high standard for himself.

Nine years from now, when the umpires of musical taste come together to analyze the defining moments of the decade, if Nov. 22 doesn’t land on the table early in the discussion, then something will have truly gone wrong.

If the tracks released off his new album are any indication its quality, fans have nothing to worry about. In fact, while tabloid and media hounds continue to portray him as the anti-Christ for interrupting VMA acceptance speeches and accusing presidents of racial apathy, Kanye may be finishing up his magnum opus to shut them up once and for all. If West can outdo himself again and releases his fifth great album, he can storm overrated award show acceptance speeches and interrupt public service announcements until he loses his voice.

Album release delays can be irritating for music aficionados, and Kanye West fans have had their fair share of aggravation. The numerous pushbacks of West’s fifth album have thus come as little surprise. Originally slated for a summer release, the album was pushed to Sept. 14, and then moved again when West announced that it would be hitting stores “sometime in November.”

Until yesterday, the date and album title were unconfirmed. In a Twitter update, West revealed the new title and official release date of Nov. 22.

Never mind that the new title, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” sounds like a bad manga series. The early track releases are some of the most innovative hip-hop tracks of the last couple of years. “Power,” the first single from the album released in June, is five minutes of classic bragging, soul searching and spot-on self-identification.

In July, West started the “GOOD Friday series,” releasing a new track every Friday for eight straight weeks, ultimately collaborating with over 15 artists. Among the eight tracks, four crossed the six-minute mark, six were brand new concepts and three were some of West’s best in years. “GOOD Friday,” “Monster” and “Christian Dior Denim” were the highlights and will hopefully make their way onto the album.

The most promise lies in the second single, “Runaway,” which West premiered at the MTV Video Music Awards in September. Last week, the final mix was officially released for digital download. The song is West’s most accurate and peculiar artistic statement yet. Raising a glass to “scumbags” like himself, the song is the perfect mix of self-loathing and spite.

Excitement for the new album began back in 2009 before anyone had heard a minute of it. Confirmed collaborations with fellow innovative producers Q-Tip, DJ Premier and Pete Rock began anticipation. DJ Premier expressed excitement for the novelty of the material in an interview, and fellow rapper Drake speculated that the album could be one of “the best hip-hop albums of the last 10 years.”

Early evaluation for the album is highly speculative, considering most tracks have yet to see the light of day, but the album certainly has the potential for greatness. If Kanye West can pull off this album, he may secure himself a slot in not only rap history, but in the pantheon of popular music icons.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Mac Hendrickson at [email protected]