After much anticipation, “The Life of Pablo” doesn’t disappoint

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With the experimental and somewhat disorganized nature of the album, this album probably won’t appeal to as wide of an audience as his earlier, more mainstream releases, but overall, The Life of Pablo is an album that will stand the test of time.

By Michael Gorman

After years of delay, music and fashion icon Kanye West has finally released his newest album, The Life of Pablo.

Kanye hasn’t formally announced who Pablo is, but he has hinted that his mysterious inspiration could be Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar, or Paul from the bible. The album went through several names during its creation, including So Help Me God (So Help Me Kanye), Waves and Swish.

Even after the first listen, it’s clear that the 32-month lull was worth the wait. Kanye plays right to his talents as a producer by bringing new life to old beats. And although there isn’t a clear storyline behind the album, Yeezy incorporates enough new ideas to make the album relevant.

The album’s raps feature lyrics about his faith in God, his relationships and Kanye’s MO: how great Kanye is.

The opening number, “Ultralight Beam,” starts with a sample of a young girl preaching “we don’t want no devils,” and “hallelujah, hallelujah.” Kanye and featured artist Chance the Rapper rap about their faith in God, and with a soulful choir in the background, this track makes a beautiful start to the album.

“Famous,” the fourth track, is a braggadocious anthem preaching Yeezy’s fame. He gloats about his wealth, boasting “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? Cause I made that bitch famous.” These lyrics sparked controversy on social media, heightened by Taylor’s confrontational acceptance speech at the Grammys. He also incorporates a level of nostalgia into the song when featured artist Swizz Beatz sings “Wake Up Mr. West,” which was the intro to West’s 2005 album Late Registration.

After several songs with faster-paced beats, Kanye slows down the rhythm with “Low Lights” and “Highlights.” The former features an uncredited artist, and no vocal contribution from Kanye. Kanye took to Twitter to explain the inclusion of the song: “I put Lowlights on my album just thinking about all the moms driving their kids to school then going to work,” he wrote. It’s more of an intermission than a full track, and doesn’t seem to serve much purpose in the album as a whole.

The latter was performed (poorly, according to thousands of watchers) on SNL, hours before the album’s release. “Highlights” sounds much better after it’s been produced in a studio, and all of the fans that were disappointed in the performance will rest easy after hearing the song on the album itself.

While the acronym F.M.L. often serves as a self-deprecating curse, Kanye uses it as For My Lady, dubbing the 11th song “FML.” Kanye portrays himself as a loving husband who has positive intentions by singing about how difficult it is to stay loyal to Kim through all of his fame. But his well-intentioned meaning doesn’t quite come off as he would like, as Kanye changes his voice to create an odd, rough effect. FML definitely could’ve been left off the tracklist.

The last song of the album, “Fade,” successfully concludes the album with a medley of samples from other popular pieces and a short verse from newly popular rapper Post Malone. Although this is not a song that will force fans to think introspectively, “Fade” still serves as a perfect bookend to another legendary album.

With the experimental and somewhat disorganized nature of the album, The Life of Pablo probably won’t appeal to as wide an audience as his earlier, more mainstream releases, but overall it’s an album that will stand the test of time.