Kanye West new album 'ye' review roundup: Critics offer initial reaction

Reviewers give mixed responses to seven-track record

Jack Shepherd
Saturday 02 June 2018 09:32 BST
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Kanye West debuts his new album at listening party in Wyoming

Many Kanye West fans did not believe that a new album would actually be released on the 1 June. The controversial artist had promised release dates before on Twitter and not delivered (TurboGrafx 16), why would this time be any different?

Yet, here we are. Following a listening party in Wyoming, West released his eighth studio album, ye, onto streaming services.

While the seven-track record – featuring guest appearances from Kid Cudi, PartyNextDoor, and Nicki Minaj – may have only been available for a day, some publications have already offered up reviews, the consensus being somewhat mixed.

The Independent has a ‘first listen’ review currently available, going through the record track-by-track, concluding that the album “fundamentally lacks bangers and is all over too quickly”.

Meanwhile, The Guardian and The Telegraph have full reviews available online, the publications both rewarding four stars. “ye is Kanye’s on the couch album,” The Telegraph’s critic says. “The beats are great. Lyrically, it’s fine. Whatever you think of his politics, his songwriting, sample-hunting and beat-making remain dynamic, surprising and ballsy.”

The Guardian’s review concludes: “For all its brevity, ye doesn’t feel slight. Substantially more focused than its predecessor, it packs a lot into 23 minutes. It is bold, risky, infuriating, compelling and a little exhausting: a vivid reflection of its author.”

Whereas the AV Club offer an equally positive review, other American publications were less impressed. The Chicago Tribune – Kanye coming from Chicago – offered a middling review, writing: “About half the album has West as a role player on tracks that suggest a theatre scene, with a handful of voices playing characters (quite possibly all living inside West’s brain). The album moves from spoken-word monologues to more expansive musical settings that try to ‘take the top off (and) let the sun come in.’”

Slant Magazine are perhaps the harshest, awarding just two stars and saying: “ye feels less like the work of a superhero and more like the work of someone who could use another year off, away from Twitter, the paparazzi, and the recording studio.”

With the reviews mixed, what the eventual consensus on ye will be remains unclear. Over the coming weeks, many more reviews – including the full version of our own – will become available online, and only then can we be able to judge the work among West’s other great albums.

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