Today, Kanye West streamed his live album premiere from Madison Square Garden for the world to see. Four members of our staff responded to the spectacle and, well, it suffices to say the feedback was interesting.
With an onslaught of models, the Yeezy Season 3 fashion line and some aggressive lyrics about Taylor Swift, here are The Badger Herald’s very astute evaluations of West’s opulent live event featuring his latest album, The Life of Pablo.
Nick Brazzoni, Sports Editor
Let me establish this from the start — I have never cared about what Kanye West does.
If he wants to run for president, great. If he wants to have a concert tour in which there is a giant mountain on the stage, wonderful. If he wants to change his album title three times, God bless him.
And if Kanye West wants to throw a sold-out party at Madison Square Garden with models standing in the center of the arena wearing his new line of clothing while he plays his newest album, The Life of Pablo, with an auxiliary chord — then that is just perfect.
In the end, all I care about is West’s music, and in the end, I enjoyed what I watched. I got to hear the music, starting with the beautiful “Ultra Light Beams.”
“Beams” is highlighted by West’s classic use of choirs and a beautifully poetic feature from Chance the Rapper. West, Chance and Kelly Price talk of a “God dream,” and I believed they had set the tone for the album.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, however, as the rest of the album was highlighted by an angry, sexually driven Kanye West, as he discussed the possibility that he and Taylor Swift could still potentially have sex and that he wishes he had a go pro on his crotch.
But, as vulgar as it may have been, I loved every second of it. With features from the likes of Future, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Young Thug and Frank Ocean — who West miraculously helped raise from the dead — along with West’s brilliantly distorted production, it was just what I expected from the genius at MSG.
It was a hot, beautiful mess, and I’m not going to be torn up about it — because he is Kanye West, and he has earned the right to do whatever he damn well pleases.
Henry Solotaroff-Webber, ArtsEtc. Editor
I have no idea what I just watched. The album, whatever it’s actually called, was definitely good based off of my first listen. The fashion was interesting and aesthetically pleasing. But, Kanye’s decision to combine the two of them under the experience that was Yeezy Season 3 really did not make any sense.
It started out so promising with “Ultra Light Beams,” a track with an amazing feature from Chance the Rapper. The buzz from the track meshed well with the unveiling of the clothing with models tiered on two stages on Madison Square Garden’s floor. For me, however, this excitement gradually wore off as the spectacle continued.
I felt this way because there was simply no reason for the two to be unveiled at the same time at the same event — there was no synthesis between the music or the fashion. As a result, it just made me appreciate each of them less as I tried to consider the music without the distraction of the fashion, and the fashion without the distraction of the music.
Then, after the show, things got weird. Kanye started literally passing the auxiliary cord to artists Young Thug and Vic Mensa for no reason. Then, Kanye played a trailer from a video game he is making about his mom flying through the gates of heaven…. twice.
Everything about Yeezy Season 3 felt haphazard, and kind of like a blatant cash-grab. No matter how the fashion and the music turned out, the way in which Kanye presented both was garbage — and it tempts me to think that he has actually finally lost it.
Aliya Iftikhar, Editor-in-Chief
Note: My thoughts are equally as choppy as Tidal’s stream.
*Bracing my body, mentally prepping for greatness.*
…. Fuck, Yeezy is always so late.
Is the stream going to be this choppy for the whole thing?
Did Yeezy do that on purpose? Is it part of his album’s aesthetic?
Only Yeezy can make buffering go in style.
OMG it’s happening.
This sounds like Childish?
That model is definitely not supposed to be looking at the camera, did she not read the rules?
Kim only started clapping when she realized she was on camera.
This is good.
Is that Riri on the track?
That’s definitely Riri.
Yeezy, for being such a perfectionist, this stream really fucking sucks.
Kanye, what goes on in your head really…?
Okay, where can I listen again huh?
Wait there’s more.
Oh, it’s the Jumpman song.
Yeezy, yeezy, yeezy.
NAME ONE GENIUS THAT AIN’T CRAZY.
Brian Vanden Hogen, ArtsEtc. Writer
In a 2015 interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye West was quoted saying, “Fusion is the future, period.” And Yeezy Season 3 was that future.
The spectacle of a fashion show and album debut brought a futuristic vision that was difficult to swallow at times, but ultimately satisfying.
From the get-go, musical worlds collided on the opening track, “Ultra Light Beams.” Syncopated lo-fi boom bap beats and warped synths competed with soulful gospel vocals. It was a soundscape that immediately introduced the album as yet another abrasive and challenging listen from Mr. West.
The song then grew into a blistering and emotive verse from Chance the Rapper that ended with the grand unveiling of the main stage and the new clothing line.
The bowl of the Garden featured a base level area in which a mass of neutral color-clad models crowded around two raised platforms.
Yeezy Season 3 fashion featured many of the Helmut Lang inspired looks that made up Season 2, but brought fresh looks with it.
This time around, Ye’s future vision of fashion manifested itself through footwear, cropped fits and pastel-colored focal points that cut through the collection’s sea of neutrals.
Moreover, the pastel colors were primarily featured on models that stood on the raised platforms. Perhaps this could be a commentary on social hierarchy and how only those in the higher classes have access to such wealth.
Yeezy Season 3 was overwhelming. With so many art worlds coming together, it became difficult to comprehend. In the wake of Yeezy Season 3, however, I find myself even more excited about Ye’s vision of art and the future.