Kanye West’s ego and sexual obsessions, never modest, attain superstar proportions on his new CD, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
The infantile cover aims to provoke with a George Condo painting of a big-butted white woman straddling the naked star, who offers a bottle of booze and a toothy grin. (There are five different images; many stores are selling the CD with an inoffensive Condo picture of a ballerina).
As the video camera points at him during the 9-minute “Runaway,” he says: “let’s have a toast for the scumbags.” Righto.
By now, West has probably annoyed at least half the human race. In his lyrics, women exchange sexual favors for shopping binges. He describes himself as “young, rich and tasteless,” captivated by “fast cars, shooting stars.”
Hard to disagree. There’s much conspicuous consumption of Champagne and Lamborghinis, adolescent sexual boasts and misogynous orgies. “I need more drinks and less lights/ And that American Apparel girl in just tights,” he says on “Gorgeous.” Still, the lyrics are less X-rated than most rap.
At one point, West cheerfully compares himself to God, exposing sin with divine light: “Turn up the lights in here, baby/ Extra bright, I want y’all to see this.”
Because he can’t sing without the aid of an autotuner to hit the right notes, this time he’s mainly back to rapping. “All of the Lights” has an Elton John piano riff and guest vocals by Rihanna, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas and Alicia Keys. With much help from his friends, it ends up, perversely, as West’s best CD.
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is on Def Jam/Roc-a-Fella, priced at $14 or $20 with a DVD. Download prices vary across services. Information: http://kanyewest.com
(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)