one year on: the life of pablo

Kieran Parmar /
Feb 14, 2017 / Music

Gospel Music.

Young Thug sipping lean from a Sprite bottle, clad in a yellow shearling and not giving a single fuck.

Images joined in matrimony by The Life Of Pablo.

Termed “a living breathing changing creative expression” Kanye’s 7th studio album took on numerous forms, from changes in its name over the course of a year to the fastidious, but hugely important, adjustments he made well after its initial release on tidal. I challenge you to try listening to the old version of father stretch my hands pt. 1 and not be disappointed by the absence of the gorgeous backing vocals that were, retrospectively, added in.

Version 1 of TLOP was good but it was always missing something, which only really became clear when subsequent issues came out. Surprisingly for Kanye, the album seemed rushed, hastily put out because he said it would be out (after what seemed like a thousand delays). He would have been foolish not to release it pretty sharply after his ‘listening party’ slash yeezy season 3 show that had 11,000 people watching live in Madison Square Garden and around 20 million trying to stream it. wolves had been hanging around for an entire year, first premiering at yeezy season 1 and had taken on it’s own cult like status, heightened by numerous tv appearances, that like the actual album, evolved and mutated slightly each time. By the time season 3 rolled around we were more than ready.

Messy isn’t usually a word you’d associate with Kanye and his perfectionist tendencies. It also isn’t usually associated with anything that is as good as this album. Tlop is a helter-skelter through his mind that takes you to the very edges of every single production style Kanye is known for. Tracks at opposite ends of the spectrum sit next to each other but it never feels like it doesn’t work. It may not be at the same level as my beautiful dark twisted fantasy or have the focus of yeezus but for me that’s the appeal of this album. It sounds good. Not in the lacklustre sense but in the wholly good sense, it didn’t need to do anything more.

Think of the tlop as Kanye doing whatever he feels like, showing everyone exactly how far his artistic tendencies can stretch in just one album, throwing everything into one package and not caring whether people get it or not.

Four months (yes four) after tlop came out Kanye tacked saint Pablo on the end, a song that can only be described as a searingly honest masterpiece with the most insanely beautiful – yet haunting – sampha feature. But, even though saint Pablo is one of the best tracks that Kanye has given us in the tlop era, the album didn’t need it to be complete. I think rather than completing the album it was added as a sort of joke. Kanye’s way of saying ‘yeah I edited this album incessantly when it came out and I’ll edit it 4 months later too, you’ll still write about it, still love it.’ I wouldn’t be overly shocked if we woke up on the 14th to some new changes a year on.

Skate on the paradigm indeed.

Words by Kieran Parmar

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