Kanye West’s Donda : A Midlife Masterpiece of Rough-Edged Perfectionism

Time and time again, Kanye West succeeds in the unexpected. With each album, he overcomes struggles regarding celebrity, ego, family, mental health, and religion, moving forward yet never fully conquering his demons. He married and had four kids with Hollywood socialite/tabloid fixture Kim Kardashian, though still maintained his unfiltered authenticity. A consistently provocative—off-putting, some might say—figure who lives at pop culture’s core, he encapsulates human nature’s duality and contradiction. Kanye West is a rough-edged perfectionist, a master of spectacle, and even if you hate him, the center of attention.

West’s 10th solo album Donda (named after his late mother, English professor Dr. Donda C. West) is one that few predicted: laser-focused, carefully perfected, and deeply personal without massive ego. The 27-track, 109-minute record arrives with surplus baggage; even the biggest Kanye stans would be hard-pressed to defend DONDA ACADEMY (his new Christian boarding school “finding the intersection between faith and the innovation of the future”), or this release cycle’s inclusion of alleged sexual predator Marilyn Manson and homophobe DaBaby. Still, Donda is the summation of Kanye’s entire career, minimal in style but maximal in presentation, a sprawling work of self-examination with a universal message. Ye is in top lyrical form, his vision perfectly complemented by The Weeknd, JAY-Z, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, Kid Cudi, Jay Electronica, Mike Dean, Lil Baby, Gesaffelstein, Swizz Beatz, and others.

Donda: A Brief History

Like almost every Kanye album, Donda has a long history of false starts, alternate iterations, and associated public controversies. Following 2019’s JESUS IS KING, he announced a still-unreleased Dr. Dre remix album, JESUS IS KING PART II. Amidst his 2020 third party presidential run, he teased God’s Country then Donda: With Child, though over any potential album, his well-publicized marital issues and mental struggles took precedence. (“Everybody knows the movie Get Out is about me [...] Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on [sic] the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughter’s life [at a South Carolina presidential rally],” West tweeted.) On July 22, 2021, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium Kanye held a ticketed (and Apple Music-livestreamed) Donda listening party, his label announcing an imminent release. Stumbling around the stadium in a red YEEZY GAP puffer, Kanye blasted his clearly unfinished 12-track, 45-minute album with rough mixing, wordless mumbles, and melancholic autocroons about losing his family. With this depressing divorce record, he satisfied his biggest fans but disappointed critics. The next day, Donda failed to drop.

For the next two weeks, in a jail cell-like locker room Ye lived at the stadium, working on the record. The second listening event, with Balenciaga and VETEMENTS designer Demna Gvasalia as creative director, was a true spectacle. Donda, with new features from The Weeknd, Jay Electronica, and Kid Cudi, at 22 tracks over 85 minutes sounded more finished. Still, an August 6 drop never occurred.

After moving to Chicago’s Soldier Field, on August 26 Kanye hosted a third and final Donda “album experience.” With a full-scale replica of his childhood home, he appeared at the controversial event nearly two hours late. As the album played, West and his collaborators stood around the house’s porch before he set himself on fire and reenacted his wedding. Unfortunately, Manson and DaBaby’s presence overshadowed the production, and until the next evening, the album wasn’t finalized. At long last, it dropped on August 29, controversial guests intact. (There’s no public explanation regarding Manson’s involvement, though Kanye said that DaBaby “was the only person who said he would vote for me in public.”) Unlike the listening parties, the officially released album censors all profanity, Kanye’s included.

The Music

Most Kanye West albums, Donda included, follow cinematic narratives. Opening with Syleena Johnson’s brief “Donda Chant,” the album transitions into the JAY-Z-featuring “Jail.” A beat-less rock song about a religious realm of suffering, amidst lyrics about his currently-scheduled-to-be ex-wife Kim Kardashian (“Guess who’s getting exed?/You made a choice that’s your bad, single life ain’t so bad!/But we ain’t finna go there!”) Kanye sings, “I’ll be honest, we all liars/I’m pulled over and I got priors/Guess we going down, guess who’s going to jail tonight?/God gon’ post my bail tonight.” JAY-Z’s verse (“the return of The Throne,” he says) launches Donda’s redemption-through-religion narrative: “Pray five times a day, so many felonies/Who gon’ post my bail? Lord, help me.” Kanye raps about his own journey with Christianity over “God Breathed”’s Yeezus-esque sonic minimalism, whereas the Fivio Foreign- and Playboi Carti-featuring drill track “Off The Grid” showcases the three rappers’ smooth flows about luxury, external anxieties, and religion’s sense of security.

Initially teased during the aborted Yandhi sessions, “Hurricane” is updated with The Weeknd’s soaring vocals, an impressive Lil Baby feature, and a highly confessional, dense Kanye verse about infidelity, alcoholism, celebrity, and mental health: “Here I go on a new trip/Here I go acting too lit/Here I go acting too rich/Here I go with a new chick/And I know what the truth is, still playing after two kids/It’s a lot to digest when you’re life always moving”/“60 million dollar home, never went home to it”/“Alcohol anonymous, who’s the busiest loser?/Heated by the rumors, read into it too much/Fiending for some true love, ask Kim, ‘What did you love?’/Hard to find what the truth is, but the truth was that the truth suck.” Sure, Kanye’s previously rapped about his fame and mental health (he’s diagnosed as bipolar), and has admitted his addiction struggles, but rarely before has he packed so much unflattering honesty into one verse. In this vein, “Kids See Ghosts” and “No More Parties In LA” are similar, but “Hurricane”’s brevity makes it all the more impressive; it’s quite possibly Kanye’s best, most vulnerable verse ever. Further, its production summarizes Donda’s unique style of organs, effect-laden choirs, atmospheric synth layers, and minimal drums.

The grand “Praise God,” with Travis Scott and Baby Keem, encourages others to find salvation in the Christian God (“We gon’ praise our way out the grave, dawg/Livin’, speakin’, praise God/Walking out the graveyard back to life”) and oppose the Devil. While the wandering “Jonah” and “Ok Ok” don’t impress, both fit the album’s narrative, the latter concluding with “find God ‘fore it’s too late.” “Junya,” named after and frequently referencing Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe, shows Kanye and Carti energetically trading bars about success, as the former adds Donda West dedications (“This on Donda/On my mama/Made a promise”) and Drake disses (“Move out of the way of my release!/Tryna get me off my Q’s and P’s/Why can’t losers never lose in peace?”). The funky “Doo Wop (That Thing)”-sampling “Believe What I Say” articulates even more conflicts with the Kardashian family (“Too many family secrets, somebody passing notes”), his record label, and the exhaustion of celebrity life.

Amidst Donda’s tension is “24,” a gospel song with organs, a distorted choir, and Kanye’s raw, passionate, off-key vocals. “I know you’re alive and God’s not finished/The Devil’s a lie, but now he finished/We gonna be okay,” he sings. The effortlessly smooth, catchy, Young Thug-featuring born-again track “Remote Control” portrays God as all-powerful controller, though somewhat confusingly ends with the “globglogabgalab” meme. The spacy, melancholic Kid Cudi-driven “Moon” segues into the distinctly eerie “Heaven And Hell,” built from reverb-heavy choir samples, handclaps, and synths.

With an album this detailed and lengthy, it’s easy to forget about the record’s namesake, Dr. Donda C. West. Donda, who Kanye paid tribute to on Late Registration’s “Hey Mama,” died in November 2007 from cosmetic surgery complications. Her death scarred Kanye, who felt responsible: “If I had never moved to LA, she’d be alive,” he told Q magazine. She’s most overtly celebrated on the album’s title track, which samples a speech promoting her Raising Kanye book: “What did I teach him? And why Kanye ain’t scared?” (On an alternate version known as “Donda South Carolina,” Pusha T tells Kanye, “You brought church to stadiums built for only soccer.”) The sentimental “Keep My Spirit Alive,” featuring KayCyy Pluto and Griselda rappers Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine, shows West rapping, “Who the squad? Donda/Who the mom? Donda.”

Easily his most outward-looking song in years, the nine-minute “Jesus Lord” shows West rapping about drug abuse (“Too many pills, so much potions/So much pain, too many emotions”), family (“Visions of my cousin in a cell really scarred me”), gun violence (“Movin’ to the hood was like signin’ up for the army/‘Cause they been killin’ n****s since n****s was watchin’ Barney”), poverty (“16, pregnant, baby daddy say she should abort it/But we can’t afford it, so she decides to move forward/Baby shower time, father didn’t show up/Now she feelin’ nauseous like she finna throw up”), and his mother. “And if I talk to Christ, can I bring my mother back to life?/And if I die tonight, will I see her in the afterlife?” he asks. Later in the song, West vividly portrays a story of religious salvation: “He gotta show him that it’s that real/He ran up on him with the pipe like, ‘N****, stand still’/‘You took my brother life, you made my mother cry’/‘Tell me one reason I shouldn’t send you up to Christ’/He said, ‘Go ‘head, take my life, I’ve seen everything but Christ’/The big bro just blacked out and all you seein’ was the light.” Even though Jay Electronica doesn’t “shake the tectonic plates of the game if I lay one vocal,” his verse matches Kanye’s proficiency. “Jesus Lord” concludes with a voicemail speech from Larry Hoover, Jr, son of convicted Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover, Sr. As Donda’s lyrical centerpiece, it’s one of Kanye’s few songs with a distinct universality that shows it’s not all about him.

“New Again,” marked by layers of synths and choirs, shows Ye submitting himself to be religiously cleansed, though considering his ongoing history of violence and abuse, Chris Brown’s “make me new again” hook feels insincere. Lyrics about rags-to-riches success make late drill rapper Pop Smoke’s reused “Tell The Vision” verse fit the LP’s narrative, while “Lord I Need You” is part prayer, part relationship tell-all. Simple organs define the Roddy Ricch-featuring “Pure Souls,” another of Kanye’s most emotionally honest tracks. “I was one of them weirdos with a pure soul/That would go to the flea market to buy fake clothes,” he raps as Roddy Ricch sings, “The truth is only what you get away with, huh?” At the end of his verse, Ye asserts, “Devil get behind me, I’m loose, I’m free.” “Come To Life,” a “Pinocchio Story”-esque autotuned stream of consciousness, plays with Broadway campiness as Kanye mentions family, religious purification, depression, and relationship issues: “You know where to find me, they cannot define me/So they crucify me, how so fazed when I leave/Come and purify me, come and sanctify me/You the air that I breathe, the ultra-ultralight beam/Brought a gift to Northie, all she want was Nikes/This is not about me, God is still alive, so I’m free.” With minimal lyrics and layers of atmospheric synths, closing track “No Child Left Behind” resolves Donda’s themes of family and religion. “Back again, I used my back against the wall/Never called on y’all, never count on y’all/Always count on God/He’s done miracles on me.” With that, Donda’s core section abruptly cuts off.

For all his expert curation, Kanye is indecisive; featured at Donda’s end are four alternate mixes labeled “pt 2.” DaBaby and Marilyn Manson replace JAY-Z on “Jail,” Kanye trades Lil Yachty for Shenseea on “Ok Ok,” “Junya pt 2” has additional Playboi Carti and Ty Dolla Sign parts, and “Jesus Lord” is an extended take with The LOX. Shenseea’s “Ok Ok” verse renders Lil Yachty’s obsolete, though Ty Dolla Sign’s “Junya pt 2” verse is the album’s low point. DaBaby’s “Jail pt 2” verse occasionally shines but from his victim mentality suffers (“I said one thing they ain’t like/Threw me out like they ain’t care for me/Threw me out like I’m garbage, huh?/And that food that you took off my table?/You know that feed my daughters, huh?”), and the 11-minute “Jesus Lord pt 2” overstays its welcome. Officially-released Kanye material always excites, though in this presentation, the “pt 2” tracks feel indulgent. (However, in this manner Kanye one-ups Drake, whose longest LP Scorpion is 90 minutes and 25 tracks long.)

Many of Donda’s criticisms—its demanding length, tiring rollout, near-unrelenting religiosity, some problematic collaborators, lyrics that might feel too informative, and it’s lack of an overt new sound—are valid. Kanye’s older albums were distinct stylistic advancements, where popular music met high art. Donda, however, provides alternate perspective on today’s established sounds. Barely noticeable background synths fill up so much modern music, but this record’s minimal drum use maximizes this approach to a more obvious point. Kanye’s lyrics sometimes show his middle age (he adds a few dad jokes here and there), though Donda juggles all of his previous albums’ complicated themes: religion, family, ego, celebrity, and mental health. The so-called “Old Kanye” never went away, and the “New Kanye” was always there. In all fairness, Donda’s brutal honesty and long-windedness makes it his most difficult record. It’s his only work that requires scheduling a focused listen, and it stalls at times. Even though Drake won the short-term commercial battle, Kanye West continues to innovate in ways that will later be more widely understood (and of course, there are far worse musical transitions into middle age).

Sound Quality

Despite its spontaneous and unconventional recording nature, Donda is Kanye’s best-sounding album in years. While there are still some iPhone vocal recordings and a few odd panning and/or filtering decisions, Maurizio “IRKO” Sera’s mix is tight and clean. The compressed but listenable mastering is necessary to “glue” the mix together; perhaps the DONDA STEM PLAYER will have more dynamic files. At the time of writing, UMG hasn’t announced any physical editions; given Def Jam’s seeming insistence on not cutting LP sides longer than 15 minutes, expect any possible vinyl edition to be 4 LPs long. For now, the 48kHz/24bit digital files satisfy and regarding the “pt2” tracks’ placement allow more listening flexibility.

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, music obsessive, avid record collector, and art enthusiast. Even though he’s an atheist, he greatly appreciates the religious elements in Kanye West’s work. Follow Malachi on Twitter: @MalachiLui and Instagram: @malachi__lui)

COMMENTS
culturcide's picture

It's
Just
Too
Long...

Yeezus & Jesus Is King are both short masterpieces. I got my friend (who worked for him) to tell him I thought Yeezus was a 'punk masterpiece'. Apparently he looked up, paused, then smiled...

MalachiLui's picture

is still kanye’s best album, no question about it. a punk masterpiece it truly is.

orthobiz's picture

This boomer was simply not meant to understand this stuff.
Paul

_cruster's picture

Wrong.

JoeESP9's picture

Right! As in, you are.

I suppose this review is what we should expect from Malachi. After all, he is a serious Kanye fanboy.

MalachiLui's picture

so what i’m hearing is that michael posts glowing reviews of beatles things and doesn’t get any questions over it, yet i post a positive but still critical kanye review and get comments like yours?

sure, i think kanye’s the greatest artist of all time. however, i’m not afraid to be critical of him in a negative way. i think my ‘donda’ review is well-balanced with both positive and negative points. so what’s your issue?

JoeESP9's picture

If you posted the Beatles were the greatest artists of all time I would disagree just as vehemently. I understand how you feel about K West. However, your calling him the "Greatest Of All Time" is simply nonsense. Yes I know that's your opinion. However, I hope you grow out of it. Commercial success has very little to do with the quality and staying power of anything. Besides, I'm not a fan of any religiously based music. If anything, I dislike it immensely. But then I not all that fond of most Bluegrass, Death Metal or Heavy Metal either.

FWIW: I am totally underwhelmed by Donde. I'm also underwhelmed with the two K West recordings I bought. His getting religion and proselytizing about it through his music doesn't change my feelings about West or his music.

For the "greatest music/artist of all time" how about Miles Davis KOB? It was recorded 62 years ago, yet it is still selling well. I don't think anyone will be listening to K West in 2083. However, KOB and a whole slew of jazz and classical music will still be enjoyed.

Andy18367's picture

Malachi- Before you went on hiatus, you frequently asserted that David Bowie was the greatest artist of all time. Has your view changed, and if so where do you now place Bowie in the pantheon of greats? (Maybe you could do a piece where you write about your top 5 all-time greats.)

MalachiLui's picture

bowie is a very close second to kanye, i just think kanye’s work is a bit more high-concept but both are nearly tied.

other favorite artists: haruomi hosono, bladee, ecco2k, charli xcx, dean blunt, james ferraro, yung lean, etc. there are a lot of artists i think are great but those are the solid A tier artists imo

MalachiLui's picture

i think i stated my opinions quite clearly in the above review. and it’s my subjective opinion anyway… why do you think it’s “wrong”?

JoeESP9's picture

I have no problem with yours's or anyone's opinion. Where I have a problem is your declaration that Kanye is "the best ever". Trying to justify your opinion by quoting sales figures and Kanye's wealth has nothing to do with artistic quality or the lack of it. You like K. West's music I have never liked it'. His latest with the religious proselytizing only makes me like it less.

Let me know how you feel about that pronouncement in 20 years. You'll then have some maturity. If you still feel the same all I can do is disagree with you as I do now. However, I don't think you'll continue to think that Kanye is the next best thing since sliced bread.

Jazz listener's picture

it’s fine to have an opinion, but you lack the musical experience and maturity to anoint any artist, song or album as the “greatest of all time” or to declare anything a masterpiece. I suggest you try to tone down the superlatives and just focus on what you liked and didn’t like, or, failing that, maybe try inserting “one of my favourite…” instead of making declarations that just turn people off. Why does it have to be “the best”?

Anton D's picture

Thanks, Malachi!

My sons are 21 and 23 and we chatted about the album. They both like more than half the songs, which is a super compliment to the album.

We agreed the track order could have been better managed, but that’s a quibble.

The lyrics in track one cause some semantic satiation, that’s for sure.

But, the kind of trance hop he uses in the album is nice. I think it’s better than the two star rating Rolling Stone gave it.

I’m about a 7.5 on it, the auto-tune costs it half a star.

Kanye’s mixture of mental health issues are never too far away, though. I hope he doesn’t become the Sid Barrett of hip hop.

Thanks for a great review.

Final note: I am on listen number three and it’s growing on me.

adw's picture

Trust me, I know how cliche' such a statement is from MF's old fans and in addition, at the end of the day, who gives a __________. But this review maintains explicitly that Donda is a masterpiece.

Compared to what? On the basis of what standard? Why is it that?

Is it felt that the column answers that very question? If so, forgive me, that wasn't apparent to me. I can readily accept that the word was used with reference perhaps to the genre that produced it or birthed it or concepts of that sort. It's another thing for the writer to mean, genuinely -- "since the beginning of recorded history and the 'music' that accompanied it. So a masterpiece even for the Baroque era and the musical epoch that preceded it, and a masterpiece even when compared to the music of the Renaissance. The term is used in terms those sweeping." It seems unlikely but one doesn't know. A dollop of explanation would be edifying.

MalachiLui's picture

i believe i explain clearly in the review why i think ‘donda’ is a masterpiece of modern music. and if you’re wondering what other albums i consider “masterpieces,” please browse my rateyourmusic page, where i rate every album i’ve heard:

https://rateyourmusic.com/~MalachiLui

xtcfan80's picture

awa....to simplify...Listen to album, maybe 3-5 times.....Decide if you like it, don't like it, or somewhere in the middle....Enjoy reviews as entertainment and one person's opinion....carry on with listening to music. The attempt to be objective and state "explicitly" about music is a fools errand as good ole' Art Dudley used to say.

Jazz listener's picture

to have a father who takes the time to discuss the merits of the latest Kanye release with them (or perhaps it’s the other way around). Your points are dead on.

Anderson Monopoly's picture

Thank You Malachi for reviewing something that you favor. I found your review much more interesting than the lp.

MalachiLui's picture

sure, i like ‘donda’ but i also recently wrote very positive reviews of releases by dean blunt, spiritualized, and billie eilish. it seems weird that you ignored those and instead focused on the less positive.

also, i find it somewhat strange that you find my review explaining why a record is interesting more interesting than the record itself. just an odd thing i noticed, not necessarily good or bad.

PeterPani's picture

he tries so hard and does not give up.

volvic's picture

But, I love your writing Malachai and enjoyed reading this review. Keep em coming.

Jazz listener's picture

at “Masterpiece”.

MalachiLui's picture

i articulate my opinions very clearly in the review as to why i think ‘donda’ is a masterpiece of modern music. it just makes you look stupid when you don’t actually read the review and somehow still have a reactionary opinion.

lilrecords's picture

at "Ye is in top lyrical form"

MalachiLui's picture

well, compared to JESUS IS KING, i think it’s safe to say that ‘donda’ is very clearly an artistic, and particularly, lyrical rebound.

palasr's picture

A sad excuse as both a 'musician' and as a human being. Sorry fanboy, maybe you'll understand one day.

MalachiLui's picture

is a great artist because he’s one of the few who makes popular music as high art. in that sense, he’s very similar to david bowie. sure, all music can be considered art. however, something along the lines of the beatles or whatever is music as pop art. bowie, kanye, and others such as kraftwerk, frank ocean, kate bush, etc make music as high art, whether it’s to your taste or not. sure, you might not like kanye as a human, but he is still an innovator in pop culture. also, i am not afraid to be critical of kanye, as i was in this review regarding his indecisiveness and questionable choice of collaborators.

Michael Fremer's picture
There are many sad excuses for human beings who are talented musicians. West is clearly a talented musician even if his medium is more "found objects"....
Jazz listener's picture

‘Pretend it’s a City’ series upon being told by a 7 year old “I’m a woman” - Fran’s exasperated response: “No you’re not, you’re not a woman…” Was that also age-ist? I think our point is that Malachi comes across in a similar vein quite often in his reviews, prone to superlatives and proclamations that most of us don’t want to hear from a 15 year old. Tell us how much you liked it, ok, but stop trying to declare things as “the best”.

Warszawa's picture

Malachi,

Let the myopic naysayers make their comments. You're too good to turn truculent with these guys. On a personal note, I really did not care for Donda--but I appreciate your review enough to give it another listen. Late Registration is still my favorite!

Anderson Monopoly's picture

Weird and odd indicate you don't understand. You write well Malachi. I find that interesting. I honestly think most of the artists you review are popular crap and will not have any lasting effect on music history outside of charting monies made. Your attempt to find positive aspects of the artists you choose to review I find interesting. Critical thinking is sorely needed these days and your writing is an exercise in such. I find that interesting. The defencivness you have shown to other opinions who do not align to yours smacks of a lack of confidence. Not every differing response to your reviews needs to be rebutted. To that end...

Calling others stupid is, among other things, unprofessional.

When I think of "found objects" in contemporary music first to my mind is Einsturzende Neubauten. I really like their latest release and their catalogue is full of innovative use of "found objects". The reference to K West and "found objects" is lost on me. What am I missing?

Michael Fremer's picture
By that I meant creative use of sampling to produce sound collages. As opposed to actually playing an instrument or instruments.
Tom L's picture

However, his gratuitous slap at the Beatles in the comments was absurd and uncalled for. He has no basis for calling their music "pop art" as opposed to "high art". The Beatles, especially in their later work, had an effect on music, society and culture at the time that he is apparently unaware of. Certainly there would have been no Bowie, Kate Bush or Kraftwerk as we know them (to use some of his examples) without the influence of the Beatles.

Andy18367's picture

One of the things the Beatles did is they shattered the wall between high art and low art. (I am using low art synonymously with Malachi's term "pop art.")

Another way of putting this is that the only difference between high art and low art is the cost of entry (i.e., learning to read music and being a virtuoso player).

Therefore, what the Beatles made was high art.

MalachiLui's picture

is NOT the same thing as "low art." by no means am i calling the beatles "low art," nor am i saying that pop art is bad ("low art" is just, well, low art). pop art and high art (i don't like the term "fine art," and forms of pop art can be billed as "high art," though whether the beatles fall into that is debatable) simply FUNCTION in different ways. what i'm saying is that kanye functions in the vein of music as high art, even if that high art is packaged and sold to the masses. and he follows in the lineage of kraftwerk, bowie, kate bush, etc in that sense (i find kate bush's albums to be tedious, but my personal taste doesn't say anything about the function of her music). and if the previous poster TomL sees this as well, know that i'm not denying that the beatles greatly influenced everyone i mentioned as "pop musicians whose work functions as high art."

Tom L's picture

Whatever kind of art you call it, my very personal opinion is that the Beatles kick Kanye's ass on many levels.
I do understand that you must be tired of having the Beatles cited as the greatest thing ever to happen to music, they were artists of another time and you have no doubt been subjected to that hyperbole to the point of nausea.

Glotz's picture

and it is also Fine Art.

His comments were certainly not intended to insult.

Tom L's picture

David Bowie LOVED the Beatles, especially John: He [Lennon] was probably one of the brightest, quickest witted, earnestly socialist men I’ve ever met in my life. Socialist in its true definition, not in a fabricated political sense, a real humanist and he had a really spiteful sense of humour which of course, being English, I adored.”
He added: “I just thought we’d be buddies forever and get on better and better, and all that fantasy, I know which Beatle I always liked.”
Bowie then went on to discuss the incredible impact that The Beatles not only had on music but on culture as a whole: “Everybody had their favourite Beatle… I did realise that,” mused the Starman. “I always knew that but one wouldn’t have declared it in the early 1970s because that would have been most uncool, to actually say you liked the Beatles in any way, shape or form.”
He then continued: “They made such a great impact – they gave the British the illusion we meant something again and we love hearing that, boy do we love hearing that.”
Bowie famously also said these great words about his contemporary during his induction to the Berklee College of Music’s Class of 1999: “It’s impossible for me to talk about popular music without mentioning probably my greatest mentor, John Lennon. I guess he defined for me, at any rate, how one could twist and turn the fabric of pop and imbue it with elements from other art forms, often producing something extremely beautiful, very powerful and imbued with strangeness.”
Kate Bush loved the Beatles and covered Come Together:
https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/kate-bush-the-beatles-come-together-cover/
Has Kraftwerk been more influential than the Beatles? David Stewart has some thoughts on that here:https://www.quora.com/Is-Kraftwerk-a-more-important-band-than-the-Beatle...
He essentially says "No. No they weren't."
"People might choose to focus on the sounds the bands created and the influence of those sounds on other bands but they neglect the impact that Beatles had that we ignore today because we take their revolutionary acts for granted."
As for Frank Ocean, he has sampled the Beatles on White Ferrari and even credited them for getting him out of a spell of writer's block!
https://www.nme.com/news/music/frank-ocean-the-beatles-writers-block-207...
“I want to thank The Beatles for almost single-handedly getting me out of writer’s block,” Ocean said. “Do you hear this?”
Clearly the Beatles don't need me to defend them, and knocking their artistry and influence just makes the reviewer look uninformed.

Glotz's picture

None of us had anything to say on the 10 or so last reviews Malachi created (guilty as well- though I did read them). Now everyone in AP world comes out once again to crap all over him, based on the Greatest of All Time mention.

ML showed levity balance in this review, and now want to censor him for his superlatives and passion.

More toxic internet garbage from middle-aged men. More poor lessons on how adults are supposed to act.

Do what you do, Malachi. And keep on doing it.

Glotz's picture

"ML showed levity and balance in this review, and now others want to censor him for his superlatives and passion."

Michael Fremer's picture
Believe me, we discuss many of his reviews before they are posted. I attempt to give him the benefit of my "long view" (very long view at this point) and while we sometimes disagree I feel it important to let him write as he wishes and receive the feedback good and bad. I sometimes wish he'd not respond here defensively, but again, I think it best to let him have his say. Even if you disagree, he's usually entertaining and informative. I feel very fortunate to have him contributing here.
Bigmule1972's picture

Nothing personal about ML, and this is not an attempt at any negativity. I feel this is no different than podcasts to me, there are many popular podcasts I do not find interesting. I no longer allocate my time to reading anything ML writes as I find it very challenging to connect with. That does not mean I dislike him, or think he is a bad writer. I think ML has improved since his initial debut.

This is a big world and tales all kinds… I wish him well.

Tom L's picture

How would you know that Malachi "has improved" when you "no longer allocate [your] time to reading anything ML writes"??
I guess you're picking up his reviews via ESP.

Bigmule1972's picture

I’ve tried to read his stuff many times over the years, now I choose not to. Not sure where the confusion lies.

Furthermore, I reserve the use my ESP at my sole discretion…so WATCH OUT !!!

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