Alright, after giving the album many a spin, I think the first single–the song that has been on my
iPod iPhone playlist the longest–is my favorite, and best, track.
The tribal chants w/ the pounding beats, the riff-heavy intro, and of course, the sampling of King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man all mesh together into this anthem of epic proportions.
And then there’s this performance from SNL. I mean, 30 some years, SNL had the same set for live acts, Ye broke tradition, and gave us one of the most visually stunning images in television this year.
I turned in my top ten albums of the year list for SCMP last week–I’m one of five dudes to have a list for the yearending feature. Initially, I thought I’d be the only one to have Kanye number one because, as I’ve blogged a couple of weeks back, Hong Kong English speakers– a mostly British bunch — seem to dislike Kanye with a passion.
But no, now I’m thinking Kanye will be pretty high up on most of the other lists too (I haven’t seen their lists yet), even if most of the other guys aren’t Americans and are significantly older. I think at the end of the day, if you respect the art, you will acknowledge greatness and not let cultural/race/generation differences skew judgment.
This is a quote from the late, great David Halberstam, on Allen Iverson:
“We come from different worlds, and we are likely, once the Finals are over, to remain part of our different worlds. Just to admire him is good enough.”
At the time, Halberstam was a 70 some year old white man. Iverson was a controversial figure whom mainstream media hailed as a “thug” for his attitude, tattoos, cornrows, and clashes with authority.
Still, Halberstam’s admiration for good basketball players bridged that generational, racial, and cultural divide.
As for the rest of the list, I had Black Keys at 2, Arcade Fire at 3, Hendrix’s Valley of Neptunes at 4, Sleigh Bells at 5… and the rest I forgot.