September 20, 2012
Kanye West Discusses Cruel Summer/Cruel Summer Album Review (Video)
In case you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the last little while (No Osama Bin Laden), The G.O.O.D. music compilation album Cruel Summer dropped. Since then, the internet has been doing what it does every time Kanye West does anything; exploding with debate and discussion. Although in most circumstances I like to maintain an heir of superiority over most other people on the internet, in this regard I am no different. As such, I’d like to add my thoughts into the discussion. Upon reading multiple reviews of the album, it seems like the aggregate critical consensus is that the album comes across as a bit underwhelming. Though I somewhat agree with this sentiment, I feel like most critics are overlooking the fact that many of the album’s best songs were leaked prior to the release date as part of the album’s promo run. Having been exposed to these songs earlier, they did not have the same impact as they would have if we had all heard the full album all at once. This is an important thing to consider. The other thing that struck me is the fact that there’s no other artist with a vision like Kanye West’s. Kanye West’s albums read more as a cohesive story rather than as a collection of songs. Critics have complained that Cruel Summer suffers in this regard. Intuitively, however, this makes sense. Cruel Summer is not meant to be a Kanye West album. Rather, it is an album that is meant to showcase the talent of his G.O.O.D music roster. Obviously, Kanye West’s vision would tend to be diluted a little. Moreover, critics would not have this complaint if Kanye had not set the bar so high with his previous albums. In fact, given that this album needed to accommodate the various styles of all the artists on his record label, I think it did a remarkable job of telling a story. Every artistic choice Kanye made added to the cohesive nature of the album. Whether this meant enlisting relatively unknown electronic producer Hudson Mohawke to coproduce a lot of the cuts on the albun, or adding the Ghostface Killah verse to the end of “New God Flow,” it really seems like Kanye had a deliberate vision in mind and did his best to execute it flawlessly.