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Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy [Format Kindle]

Kirk Walker Graves

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In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Kanye West created the most compelling body of pop music by an American artist during the period. Having risen from obscurity as a precocious producer through the ranks of Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella records, by the time he released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF) in late 2010, West had evolved into a master collagist, an alchemist capable of transfiguring semi-obscure soul samples and indelible beats into a brash and vulnerable new art form.

A look at the arc of his career, from the heady chipmunk soul exuberance of The College Dropout (2004) to the operatic narcissism of MBDTF, tells us about the march of pop music into the digital age and, by extension, the contradictions that define our cultural epoch. In a cloud-based and on-demand culture – a place of increasing virtualization, loneliness, and hyper-connectivity – West straddles this critical moment as what David Samuels of The Atlantic calls "the first true genius of the iPhone era, the Mozart of contemporary American music." In the land of taking a selfie, honing a personal brand, and publicly melting down online, Kanye West is the undisputed king.

Swallowing the chaos wrought by his public persona and digesting it as a grandiose allegory of self-redemption, Kanye sublimates his narcissism to paint masterstroke after masterstroke on MBDTF, a 69-minute hymn to egotistical excess. Sampling and ventriloquizing the pop music past to tell the story of its future – very much a tale of our culture's wish for unfettered digital ubiquity – MBDTF is the album of its era, an aesthetic self-acquittal and spiritual autobiography of our era’s most dynamic artist.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.1 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
5 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Smart writing, exciting perspective 29 mai 2014
Par ruth haley - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Amazing perspective! This was such an exciting read. The content shows thoughtful insight and draws incredible connections within the world of the album. With fascinating perspective, Graves writes with an effortlessly engaging style and top-notch literary merit. Wonderfully entertaining and insightful.
3 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Thorough and Fantastic Analysis 14 juillet 2014
Par Craig Cainkar - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Our culture is already bored with meta-commentary about the potential effects of the digital revolution. It’s here, it’s everywhere, it’s the water flowing over the gills of the millennial and nourishing an isolated global community of social mavens, prepared to Google-as-a-verb the meaning of the word “maven” at a moment’s notice from a smartphone, tablet, netbook, and eyeglasses. It is no surprise, then, that possibly the most influential musician of the 21st century personifies and embraces the identity-crafting realm of the real-time and connected. It's important that any book about this musician understands the world we live in.

Kirk Walker Graves, author of the 33 1/3 entry for Kanye West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, assumed the burden of dissecting the eponymous album for this very reason. Why focus an intellectual analysis on an album only four years old, nearly devoid of historical context? The author sends the message that MBDTF is the first album that wraps its tendrils directly into the psyche of a society that treats socializing as preparation for personal celebrity, desiring all things immediately not just due to impatience, but because soon now will be irrelevant. Much like the album and our pop culture, the importance of Graves’ analysis cannot be understated, or delayed.

Graves shows a level of enthusiasm for his work comparable to a toddler with a leaf blower in a realm of endless cotton candy. The book begins by giving one of the best explanations of Kanye, the artist and the human, that I have yet read. It helps the reader place him within the digital culture now pervading the world that I previously mentioned. At times, Graves’ ardor lends the book a zest for cultural context that informs the reader of even the most implacable song-sample or lyrical choice. There is a clear appreciation for sociological an anthropological meaning here as well; the many aspects of Kanye and the individual works within MBDTF are frequently described in terms of America’s love-hate response to His ego and ambitions. If you’ve ever felt there’s a fiendishly clever quality to the production of pop-friendly or nearly-pop-friendly songs like “All of the Lights” or “Runaway”, Graves is more than happy to validate you. In most cases, I found myself a convert.

That is not to say that this issue of the 33 1/3 series is without its faults. It feels that on occasion, Graves digs too deep to strike oil on analyses; it’s important that you agree with Graves on the conclusion that Kanye is intractably intertwined with the music he produces, or else all the talk of Kanye’s narcissism and aplomb in the text can become frustratingly psychoanalytical. However, to Graves’ credit, he generally avoids jargon and thesaurus-bombs in favor of flowery and just-short-of-excessive description, leaving it accessible to most learners interested in all the hoopla about Mr. West.

“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (the book) is a superb look at how our society is feeding the Kanye machine, producing great works of maximalist conglomeration (as well as Yeezus, which even the author admits lacked the initial vitality of MBDTF). When Graves then opens up the machine to give the readers a look at the parts, he proves his credentials. In homage to his imagery-thick writing style, I offer my personal interpretation of his thesis, for you to decide whether or not to read his book:

Kanye is a pop-culture amalgam, accumulating the discarded love and scorn of the public eye, screaming from the mountaintop of public consciousness, Wi-Fi enabled, spotlights overhead, clutching a fistful of forgotten hooks and blistering verse, daring the cameras to look away. He is a one-man 24-hour news cycle channeling the ferocity of a boundless ego, repressed by men in suits in corner offices and sitting at talk-show desks. He’s producer, pariah, artist, child, deity, caricature and soon-to-be-king of pop all in one, and MBDTF is the promise.
1 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great addition to the 33 1/3 Series! 16 juillet 2014
Par Joshua Philips - Publié sur
It seems that many negative reviewers expected this book (and this series) to be more a glimpse "behind the music," and while this book has some of that, the focus of the book is much different and, ultimately, much more interesting than just what Kanye was snacking on while making MBDTF. Instead, the author takes a brief look at West's creative output up to MBDTF and then jumps into MBDTF analyzing each individual song with both the passion of a fan and the precision of a critic. After reading this book, I gained a much deeper respect for Kanye West's artistry and ambition. Even though the author is clearly a fan of Kanye, the author is still able to objectively look at Kanye's masterpiece and all of its moments of genius and blunders while offering insight into MBDTF's creation and sharing facts that make you really second guess anything negative that you've ever said about Kanye West's music. Graves' MBDTF was my first introduction into the 33 1/3 series, and if the other books in this series feature the same smart writing, unique insight, and passion for their subject as this book, then we have a reason to get excited about music writing. I hope that 33 1/3 continues to put out quality editions such as this.
1 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beautifully written, I cannot express enough how well this ... 6 août 2014
Par Brian LaRocco - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Beautifully written, I cannot express enough how well this book was written. It drew me in with every word of every line. Kirk Walker Graves gave me an uninhibited look into the though and power of Kanye Wests love for himself. It gave me a new look into every track on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; the depth he dives to with each and every track on the album show he is both a critic of the music and a Kanye West fan himself

I am not sure why a lot of the other review are stuck on the "5-Dollars" Graves uses; there is such a thing as a dictionary and a thesaurus, I wish people would stop complaining about his vast vocabulary and focus on the writing and context
2 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Good read for 'Ye consumers. Not so much for the true listeners. 19 juin 2014
Par Quest - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
previously read in utero and donuts from the same series. both were excellent reads, the latter being highly emotional. they informed the reader of the genesis, process and aftermath of the album tracks and the album as a whole. that's what I thought this series was about: the work and the art. I wanted liner notes that border beauty. like what donuts was about. but maybe I have the wrong idea of what this book series is about.
it's obvious that the words from this book came from a genuinely good place: an excellent writer who is a kanye fan. and that's what this book is: a track by track pop-culture analysis from the perspective of a fan, rather than an unbiased explanation of the creation of the art and the impact it has on "pop culture."
since mbdtf fused into my life and became a soundtrack to heartaches and euphorias and stuff in between, I wanted to know more about this album on a technical level: what were the studio sessions like? what did Pete Rock, the RZA and Qtip contribute? what kind of cathartic experience did Kanye have when the piano keys, Pete Rock drum loop and Rick James "look at you!" sample came together, if any? etc.
these are pretty specific questions, but questions worth investigating. I think.
it's incredibly difficult to write anything about Kanye that most fans don't already know. and I thought this book would be different. it's not. overall, with the exception of a few minor errors and too many pop-culture associations, it's a good read for the kanye consumer. not so much for the true listeners of my beautiful dark twisted fantasy. I didn't really get anything out of it that hasn't already been printed on glossy, or matte finished covered magazines.
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