The nature of waiting on Kanye West’s ye has been conflicting. In some sense, it was nerve-racking: Kanye West, already the most polarizing artist of the decade, had recently come out as a Trump supporter (suspected to be the product of a mental breakdown). The first track released from this album cycle was the meme-birthing “Lift Yourself,” arguably Yeezy’s most cringe-worthy lyrical work to date. This also comes as the world of mainstream rap is enthralled by a Drake and Pusha T beef that seems to only be growing. With that being said, there’s still the excitement that comes with being a Kanye fan. It’s not exactly at the same level of The Life of Pablo, with the Yeezy Season 3 showing at Madison Square Garden or surprise album drop on SNL. Reading about the listening party in Wyoming and getting the album a few hours later, I felt the same exhilaration as hearing that Life of Pablo dropped on SNL, seeing the Yeezus artwork, and first hearing “Runaway.” From the time Kanye announced this album until now, it’s been a period of wrestling with wanting the new album to be good from a fan’s perspective but also struggling to come to terms with Kanye’s politics. Surprisingly, there was little to be worried about on either front. Continue reading
To me, The Grammys are the Super Bowl. I always want to gamble on it. I usually know what’s going to happen. I’m glued to the TV for hours, and I get drunk while doing it. Unlike the Super Bowl though, the person who wins is either met with indifference or excitement, rarely anger. This year, BurgerADay are laying out the pics for who will win versus who should win. Check out our picks, and either way, just remember it’s much more important than the Patriots and Falcons. No one’s deflating these balls.
Album Of The Year:
25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Should Win: Lemonade-Beyoncé
I may have been late to the party for a long time, but at the tail end of 2016, I listened to Lemonade, and it’s pretty damn great. Beyoncé is completely worthy of all the praise she’s gotten for this album. As most of the best albums of the year, Bey mixed the political with the personal, and the record can transition from an emotional gut-punch like on “Pray You Catch Me” or “Don’t Hurt Yourself” to a genuinely fun as hell hype song like “Formation.” There may be a little protest to the politicization of Beyoncé, but as someone who’s never been on board with her as a simple pop-artist, she’s certainly left a great impression this year.
The new dates will close out on New Years Eve in Brooklyn. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the show, now is a pretty good time. Read what we had to say here, and look at the dates below:
November 17 – San Jose, CA @ SAP Center at San Jose
November 19 – Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
November 22 – Fresno, CA @ SaveMart Center
November 23 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center
November 26 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
November 28 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
December 1 – San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
December 2 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
December 4 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ BB&T Center
December 6 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
December 8 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
December 9 – Columbia, SC @ Colonial Life Arena
December 11 – Albany, NY @ The Times Union Center
December 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center (RESCHEDULED)
December 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
December 16 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
December 18 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
December 20 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
December 22 – Detroit, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills (RESCHEDULED)
December 27 – Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
December 28 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
December 30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
December 31 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
There are a handful of moments during Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour where West drops to his knees at the center of his floating stage, because Kanye turns wherever he plays into a place of worship. When the show closes with “Ultralight Beam,” Madison Square Garden wasn’t an arena; it was a cathedral. Yeezus’s floating stage gets the most talked about, but the lighting design is equally exciting. Sometimes, the stage is mostly blacked out, and the lights come up over the moshpit. The whole show is communal. It’s easy to get lost watching the moshpit, but Kanye keeps his energy up above the pit with the same presence as a punk-rock vocalist.
Kanye is easily one of the most polarizing artists of the past decade. When entering the arena, most artists of Kanye’s stature would be playing the hits of their contemporaries, but Yeezy opted for ambient drone music. This almost seemed like preparation for when the overhead lights descended and synthesizer music narrated the light show. While the energy on the floor electrified as soon as the lights went down, it didn’t truly burst until “Mercy,” where Kanye opened up the fucking pit.
Kanye’s best songs play off large emotions. Whether it’s the celebratory nature of “Gold Digger,” the remorse on “Runaway,” or the depression on “Heartless,” Yeezy’s heart is sewn to his sleeve. All of those emotions are explored on the Saint Pablo tour and then some. West’s icy silhouette during “Wolves” and “Heartless” starkly contrasts the guy slam dancing during “All of the Lights” and “Famous,” but it’s truly a testament to how much Yeezy’s music continues to resonate with listeners and himself. Kanye laid down on the stage as “Runaway” ended and reached out his hand as if begging the audience for forgiveness. Kanye’s the father, son and preacher in this instance.
Kanye kept speaking throughout the evening about how this event had the most tickets ever sold at Madison Square Garden. With everything Kanye does, it’s difficult to tell if this was true or just a delusion, but the Garden certainly felt packed. Kanye’s neo-gospel sound was only improved by the 20,000+ people. The studio versions of the songs don’t hold a candle to how they echoed throughout the halls. When “Ultralight Beam” closed the show, it’s shocking to think Kanye didn’t ascend into Heaven and just descended backstage.
James is on an Ultralight Twitter.