June 18, 2013 -- Warning: Do not listen to Yeezus on a Sunday morning after a night of heavy drinking.
The Chicago Tribune called Kanye West's latest oeuvre "abrasive (both sonically and lyrically) and intentionally off-putting, as if to test the loyalty of even his most ardent fans."
And on first listen, Yeezus is very abrasive. It feels like you might have a seizure, or like you've teleported into a real-life version of Mortal Kombat, or like you're driving an electric blue convertible with lasers coming out of the exhaust pipes. You're hoping with every fiber in your being that this isn't the music of the future.
Kanye didn't let us down after that New York Times piece last week. Quotes from the interview like "It's only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It's only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That's all it is." were met with lyrics like "I am a God, so hurry up with my damn massage. In a French-ass restaurant, hurry up with my damn croissant" from the song "I Am God."
My mind is blown. Is Kanye the most or least self-aware person to ever exist? One thing is for sure, he stays on message.
On a second (sober) listen,Yeezus feels more like a joke. We streamed the leaked album (whoops) at the office yesterday. With every "Ahhhhh!!!" that Kanye belts out in "I Am A God," a chuckle came out of everyone's mouth as they pretended to be working. Is Ye punking us all? This can't be real.
After the seventh listen, you start hearing the beat that's hidden deep, deep down under all the auto-tune and noise, and I'm alarmed to admit I'm starting to warm up to Yeezus.
So is Yeezus the kind of album that takes 37 listening sessions to understand? Or is it that after listening to a song 37 times you begin to enjoy it because it has become familiar? Do I really like Yeezus or is my brain just confused because after listening to the album all day it can't differentiate between Kanye's music and Rottweilers barking at a train wreck while a baby is screaming for its mom? Alas, it's all the same to me now.
In the video above, Fusion's Elise Roedenbeck performs a sexy dramatic reading of our favorite song on the album, "I Am A God."