#RealLife is a monthly feature where Consequence of Sound staffers join forces with a diverse cadre of writers to share personal stories inspired by one legendary album. This month we tackle Kanye West’s acclaimed 2013 record, Yeezus, sharing stories for every song on the album. Some of the stories may be inexorably linked to the album itself, and others may just share its themes, tone, and atmosphere. Regardless, they’re all real.
My official stance on Kanye West is that I have no stance on Kanye West. My unofficial stance on Kanye West is that I think he’s charismatic, and “Flashing Lights” is an awesome song. Oh, and I’ve never listened to Yeezus.
I know. But look, I have a problem. I get overwhelmed. It’s a thing. I’m on meds. But I get overwhelmed and I run. It’s like that for me in life, and, oddly enough, it’s like that for me in music.
When 60% of my Facebook feed is talking about the same thing, I don’t click the link or leave a bitchy comment. I run. When it seemed, upon its release one year ago, that Kanye West’s Yeezus was either the GREATEST ALBUM EVER MADE or the most overhyped, I ran. I didn’t see Kanye on Letterman, nor did I follow his “beef” with Jimmy Kimmel. I didn’t watch a single interview. I didn’t see that “Bound 2” video, nor did I watch that parody Seth Rogen and James Franco made. The only sounds I heard off that album were the ones in the Wolf of Wall Street trailer. And all I saw were all the think pieces and links and ALL CAPS Facebook posts.
So, I ran.
Now, let me clarify: it’s not because I don’t like Kanye West. I like Kanye West. Not only do I like him, but there was a time in my life when he was important to me. Hell, back when I was a born-again Christian, I wrote a whole essay on “Jesus Walks”. And I acknowledge that my compulsion to run from ubiquitous art is, well, not the best thing for someone who writes about music professionally. (I’m still not sure who this Iggy Azalea character is. Sorry ’bout it.) Oh, and let’s compound this with the fact that Kanye West was Consequence of Sound‘s 2013 Artist of the Year and Yeezus its 2013 Album of the Year. (Mine was Eluvium’s Nightmare Ending lol).
Consider this my penance.
I chose Yeezus as this month’s #RealLife for a number of reasons, but none so important as my desire to see the stories behind all those ALL CAPS Facebook posts. What does an album like this–a year old, a constant conversation piece, a source of devotion and frustration–stir up in people? Click ahead to find out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s about time I listen to Yeezus.