Kanye West has made good of his promise to release his new album on 1 June, holding a listening session near where the LP was recorded in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Thursday night. It was live-streamed to the public worldwide through the WAV app.
The record, titled YE, has yet to hit Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music etc in high quality (we'll update this post when it does), but the listening party stream can be viewed below (YE starts around 2:36:52).
According to Kim Kardashian-West, her husband shot the album cover on his iPhone on the way to the party, which was held outdoors around a bonfire. Kanye held a similar listening event surrounded by friends and collaborators for his last album, The Life of Pablo, though it took place in the more grandiose location of Madison Square Garden.
UPDATE: The album has dropped on streaming services - listen below.
The new album opens with the spoken lines:
"Most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest / Today I seriously thought about killing you / I contemplated it / Pre-meditated murder / And I think about killing myself and I love myself way more than I love you, so.."
Sonically, YE doesn't appear to be a huge departure, the beats having a similar feel to those on the previous album, TLOP, while some tracks have an almost 808s and Heartbreak-esque pop feel. It is light on features, though Kid Cudi helps out on the sixth track.
It is his first release since his breakdown ("breakthrough", as he likes to call it), and sees him discuss his mental health and experience with coming on and off medications.
The lyrics are as provocative as one would expect from Kanye, and include "Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too / Wanna pray for him ’cause he got MeToo’d”, with Stormy Daniels also being name-checked.
If the version played in Wyoming is final, YE will be just shy of 30 minutes. Earlier in the week, Pusha T's Kanye-produced album Daytona was released, which clocked in at just 21 minutes.
According to Pitchfork, the “digital album will be delivered via e-mail upon global release on 1 June.”
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