Kanye West, one of the most decorated artists of all time with over 270 awards, has released his newest piece of work “Donda.” However, unlike most of his other work, Donda lacks the eccentricity and signature flair that listeners love, and rather substitutes it with a slower, more boring gospel approach.
After delaying the album multiple times, it was finally released Aug. 29. West’s creativity has never failed to intrigue listeners, but “Donda” in particular seems to flow extremely slowly, many songs leaving me with the desire to skip them.
The build up to the drop date of “Donda” was nothing out of the ordinary for West. Much like his other popular projects, including “Jesus is King,” West hosted multiple listening parties to perform a concert featuring his entire album prior to its official release date. The listening parties included West being lit on fire, pulled up into the sky like an angel, and legitimately living in the stadiums where he held the release concerts. Although his listening parties seemed to be powerful and loud, the music throughout “Donda” fails to match the energy of the performances.
Not only that, West also delayed the release of “Donda” multiple times, which wasn’t a surprise to many of his existing fans who waited for the release of his albums, “Jesus is King” and “Life of Pablo,” both of which were released and edited weeks after the planned drop.
When listening to “Donda,” for the first time, I expected another “no-skip” album like many of West’s other projects. Instead, in songs such as “Donda” and “Keep My Spirit Alive,” the melodies are extremely slow, and the songs themselves take much too long to progress.
West’s lack of energy could possibly have stemmed from the beats and influence he chose when writing this album. Instead of using riverbed, drum-heavy basses, in tracks such as “Keep My Spirit Alive,” there is a soft, slow melody that lacks tempo.
While the album as a whole isn’t very exciting, there are some moments where Kanye’s old character resurfaced. My favorite track on the album is the song “Off the Grid.” In this song, West features multiple rappers, including Playboi Carti and Fivio Foreign, two artists with massive followings. In “Off The Grid,” West’s original style of rap is brought back to life, with a bass-filled beat and clear electric notes. Not only that, but rather than a boring, soft melody, the song uses multiple rap verses. The verses still feature West’s newfound love for Christianity, including the line, “I gotta stay with God, where the blessings is.”
West never fails to surprise his audience with the amount of features on the album, including some of the biggest artists in the country, including Lil Baby, The Weeknd, and Jay-Z.
Tracks with included features, such as “Jail,” and “Hurricane,” are two of the few outstanding songs in “Donda.” Many of the features in West’s album adapted their own style to his and increased the pace of the music itself, improving it for many listeners.
Most listeners who have never heard of Kanye West would think the first track in the album was unnecessary at best. The first track is called “Donda Chant” and features 50 seconds of a woman saying the word “Donda.” Even listeners who have been listening to Kanye for years would have trouble understanding this track, for it serves no real purpose to the audience.
Many songs on the album, including “God Breathed,” “24,” “Lord I Need You” and “Come to Life” reflect West’s newfound love for Christianity and bring a multitude of gospel-influenced melodies and lyrics. In “God Breathed,” West repeats the line, “I know God breathed this,” and in “Come to Life,” West uses the line, “And my God won’t deny me, tell the Devil ‘Get behind me.’” Both examples reflect his faith and love for Christianity.
West created an album for those who enjoy his newer, less eccentric, more gospel inspired music. However, many fans were craving his older, electric, signature style that put him into the spotlight to begin with. West’s album disappointed me as a listener, for I would have loved to see his older, younger side resurface in “Donda.”