After three wild listening parties, plenty of controversies and a few management malfunctions, Kanye West’s 10th studio album “Donda” is now available to listeners on various streaming services. However, the release was as much of a surprise to West as it was for everyone else.
The album experienced multiple delays, leaving fans curious about when and if it would ever come out. Then, in the early hours of Sunday, Aug. 29, “Donda” suddenly appeared on streaming services. West later posted on Instagram that the album had been released by Universal Music Group without his permission.
Of course, the controversy surrounding “Donda” started long before its surprise release. West received plenty of backlash after bringing DaBaby and Marilyn Manson on stage during one of his eclectic listening parties. Both artists have been under public scrutiny recently — the former for homophobic comments and the latter over rape and sexual assault allegations.
With all the negative press surrounding “Donda,” one would hope the overall quality of the album would outweigh its controversies. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
The nearly two-hour-long project lacks fluidity and feels incomplete on multiple songs. TikTok user @spiritofthebear jokingly suggested that the drums on “Jail” were added last minute and in the wrong place. While many came to defend the track, others agreed that something felt off.
Other songs like “God Breathed” and “Pure Souls” come close to reaching a climactic drop before just — dropping off. Whether it be creative vision or a consequence of early release, the whole album feels like it is reaching for something without ever accomplishing anything.
The ending of “Remote Control” absolutely kills the rest of the song, closing out what would be an enjoyable track with a sample from a viral meme. It’s hard to enjoy a song that closes with someone saying, “I am the Glob-glo-gab-galab / The shwabble-dabble-wabble-gabble flibba blabba blab.”
It’s up there with the “poopy-di scoop” outro of his 2018 song “Lift Yourself” in terms of cringe.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great tracks on the album. Featuring vocals from The Weeknd, “Hurricane” embraces gospel and trap influences for an entertaining listening experience. The vulnerability of “Jesus Lord” is incredibly moving and engaging, with the nine-minute track never feeling drawn out or tired.
However, the same can’t be said for the album as a whole. Plenty of songs could have stayed in the recording booth without having much of an impact, and others should have been left off the album based on features alone. Chris Brown and DaBaby probably aren’t the best artists to have on an album dedicated to your late mother.
Overall, “Donda” isn’t a bad album. I found myself bobbing my head along with multiple songs. However, it isn’t a memorable album either. There are only a few songs I’d listen to again, and plenty I’m content skipping.
Respect to West if this album helps him grow as an individual. Maybe I just don’t understand his songwriting genius. Whatever the case is, “Donda” won’t see much time on my Spotify after this initial listen.