Kanye West’s new album is ‘The Life of Pablo,’ a.k.a. ‘T.L.O.P.’ Now that it has had its star-studded premiere at Madison Square Garden during the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show the critics are weighing in. Here’s a roundup of what they’re saying in their reviews.
Kanye West’s new album, has gone through more title changes that one could ever have imagined. But just days before its unusual premiere in a live event, at his Yeezy Season 3 fashion presentation at Madison Square Garden in New York City was perhaps one of the biggest listening parties, in West parlance “of all time” although Guinness was not there to certify any records. The event also served to introduce his new Adidas Yeezy line of sneakers.
The premiere of ‘T.L.O.P.’ also marked the first public appearance of Lamar Odom since his near-fatal medical emergency last October, as he attended, alongside estranged wife Khloe Kardashian, having made what insiders are calling a miraculous recovery. Other attendees included West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West and the couple’s daughter, North West, and various members of the KUWTK clan — Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner — and a variety of other celebrities.
Previously, he telescoped the album’s title with just the initials ‘T.L.O.P.’ and when inviting guessers with an enticing price, amazingly, someone did guess the title.
Whether the “Pablo” refers to the famed 20th century artist Pablo Picasso — or as some have suggested, recently recaptured fugitive drug lord Pablo Escobar — is unknown. But it’s not the title that initially raised eyebrows. It’s the controversy over the Taylor Swift dis lyrics in ‘Famous’ almost overshadowed all else — the line from the song ‘Fantasy,’ makes an unmistakable and unflattering reference to Taylor Swift whom West has had a longtime “association” with, let’s say, from that ever infamous 2009 MTV VMAs moment that saw him interrupt her on stage as she won Video of the Year Award and yet, seemingly in recent years the two had reconciled and become friends, reversing the tables as she was the presenter when he won the MTV Video Vanguard Award.
But now his denigrating lines in the track ‘Famous’ featuring Rihanna — ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b*tch famous.” — have drawn rebuke in social media, notably from Taylor Swift’s brother Austin Taylor who posted a video on Instagram of himself tossing a pair of Yeezy sneakers into the trash, and the caption “Getting a head start on some spring cleaning. Here we go again.”
The album has numerous other guest artists, including Kid Cud, Desiinger, Ty Dolla $ign, The Weeknd, Young Thug Swizz Beatz and Metro Boomin among others.
Despite all the hoopla, the drama and the controversy there is an album here, that was played in full during the live event, and critics have been weighing in. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
“….It has been through three title changes and more track-lists, but The Life Of Pablo still sounds strangely unfinished and leaves many questions unanswered. Who is Pablo? And how on earth did the most brilliant and perfectionist hip hop artist of his generation spend two years making something as ill formed as this? On first listen, The Life Of Pablo is an intermittently brilliant but utterly bonkers act of artistic hubris……” –The Telegraph
“….West, a rapper who produced for the likes of Jay Z and Cam’ron before taking to the booth himself, has long known how to conduct an orchestra. It’s what made Watch the Throne, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Yeezus compelling, and it’s what keeps West—who is now, in his own words, “a 38-year-old eight year old”—on the edge. It also helps that he knows how to turn a sample from Rare Earth’s 1970 cover of The Temptation’s “(I Know) I’m Losing You” into a funky, Chicago house vibe, as he does on “Fade.” This is West’s eighth studio album, and there has still not been a Kanye West album with disappointing production. ….” –Vanity Fair
“….Production wise, “The Life of Pablo” actually dials things back a bit. It’s far more accessible than “Yeezus.” But thematically, Kanye seems more emotionally torn apart than ever. His brilliance lies in pushing those insecurities out in the open with as much confidence as possible. ….- Cleveland.com
“….Ultimately what we got to hear was enough to both inspire confidence and discreetly hope that West reflects a little and amends a few niggles before releasing the record officially. A handful of tracks can be counted amongst West’s best (‘Ultra Light Beams’, ‘Fade’, ‘Wolves’), while others drift in and out without ever settling with any clarity (‘Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1 & 2′, ‘Freestyle 4′, ‘Feedback’). Meanwhile, recent singles ‘All Day’, ‘Only One’, ‘FourFiveSeconds’ and ‘No More Parties In LA’, omitted from the final tracklist, are sorely missed.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/kanye-west-the-life-of-pablo-first-listen-track-by-track#OZuW2QOpM8GsaVvY.99…..” -NME
Check back for more reviews as they arrive. Now that the album is finally out, its buzz is only growing — fueled, as always as much by the artist’s own hubris and genius for generating controversy. You can see highlights from the MSG event plus Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ album cover art below.