There was much speculation of who exactly Pablo was after Kanye West changed the title of his seventh studio album for the fourth time.
It could’ve been Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar, or maybe even Pablo Sanchez (you know, from the Backyard Sports series).
West finally delivered Feb. 14 after many false promises of his album’s release date, and everyone in the world stopped to listen together.
On his Twitter, Kanye initially drew the parallel that Pablo refers to the Apostle St. Paul, and West sees himself as some sort of a messenger for our generation. With this (along with many other tweets), people immediately started to think West had completely lost his noggin, and he was crazy in the head. Even myself, being the West fan that I am, began to think the same. I was extremely skeptical of what in the world the direction and sound of this album was going to be.
With so many pushbacks and last minute additions, I thought this was another rushed job like West’s “Yeezus,” and it was going to be another underwhelming project.
I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Despite the less than impressive packaging and presentation of the album, the music itself is superb. The album starts with “Ultralight Beam,” a song that truly emphasizes West’s desire to make this a gospel album.
A lush choir and tremendous production, a common theme with all of West’s projects, really carries this song to its peak. It also features a spectacular verse from fellow Chicago MC Chance the Rapper, and he steals the show on this song.
For the second track, “Father Stretch My Hands,” is broken up into two parts. The first, featuring Kid Cudi, has a triumph theme to it where West exclaims in his autotuned voice, “I just want to be liberated.” From there, we have a transition to a heavily trap-influenced part two, which features new G.O.O.D music signee Desiigner where he boasts about having broads in Atlanta and having a white BMW X6 that resembles a panda. Both parts are equally solid and give a strong start to the album.
Some more highlights of this album come in the form of songs such as “Feedback,” which is more reminiscent of “Yeezus” but sounds extremely more polished. “Waves,” another triumphant-sounding theme, is probably the standout song of this album production-wise. If the Sistine Chapel of Rome was accompanied with audio, it would probably be the song “Waves.”
Moving down the tracklist, we have songs such as “Real Friends,” which was featured in a previous Tunesday, “Wolves,” a dark track compared to the rest of the album featuring a feature from the elusive Frank Ocean (we’re still waiting, Frank) and “30 Hours,” which is my personal favorite. The production of “30 Hours” is simplistic yet so full and fitting, allowing West to just be West without any kind of compromise.
Wrapping up the album, we have three songs that are more fun, so to say. They don’t really fit into the cohesiveness of the album, but they’re absolutely appreciated regardless. “No More Parties in LA,” which features Kendrick Lamar, has both rappers spit extended verses with their experiences of dealing with women, but it’s in a lighthearted manner.
In addition, we have “FACTS” that got a complete face lift courtesy of Charlie Heat. Originally, this song was heavily compared to a watered-down version of the song “Jumpman” by Future and Drake off their joint album titled “What A Time To Be Alive.” However, this revamp definitely sets it apart and gives the track a fierce sting.
Lastly, we have “Fade,” which features a synth bass line and a drum rhythm that reminds me of the kind of song that would be played in an underground club where all the lights are red. Everyone’s cramped and packed together, but no one really cares. They’re just slaves to the rhythm of the beat — almost like zombies. Everything is moving in slow motion, and you just find yourself in the middle of it all.
Stand out tracks: “Ultralight Beam,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 & 2,” “Waves” and “30 Hours.”