Just over a week ago, we told you that musician and internet performance artist Kanye West would be screening some sort of preview of his long-awaited album in cinemas (back when it was still titled 'Swish' – ah, happy days).
The reaction to this on Time Out's Facebook was, how shall we say, bullish. Here are eight typically harsh comments on the idea of hearing Yeezy's newie:
'I'd rather trap my hand in a door cheers'
'I would rather eat live scorpions dunked in cyanide'
'I'd rather have Happy Shopper bleach injected into my eyes'
'Rather not, tosser alert'
The thought of sticking roofing nails into my ears suddenly seems appealing'
'I'd rather go through labour again'
'No thank you...arrogant trash'
'I would rather rub my eyes with broken glass, add salt and lemon juice, and stick barbed wire in my ears than listen to anything that over inflated under talented prick would call MUSIC'
Alas, despite all of that, I'm sorry to say that last night's event was really good. Really very good, in fact. On just about every level. Here are five reasons why:
1. The man simply plugged in and played.
Vinyl fetishists and audiophiles, prepare to froth at the mouth. With the world gathered together (reports estimate a global audience of 20 million) to listen to his longawaited opus 'The Life of Pablo', Kanye simply rocked up in full view of the whole arena and played the album from his laptop, through an everyday lead straight into the mixing desk. Like most 38 year-old dads, he spent time between songs reading about the all new 'Top Gear' team. Nah, just kidding: Kanye went hard.
2. There were models. Most just kinda stood there. It was fine.
This event also doubled up as the reveal of Kanye's own fashion collection, which meant a stage packed with models doing their thang. By which we mean, doing nothing – apparently they were furnished with a set of rules beforehand that included: 'No sexy posing', 'No eye contact' and 'No sharp moves'.
Rules. pic.twitter.com/EVgUNfJFj6— Complex (@ComplexMag) February 11, 2016
But it worked. It gave what was essentially a simple album playback an intensity and a sense of occasion for sure. Even Naomi Campbell turned up, and even she stuck to the rules. So that's something to be said in Yeezy's praise right there.
So happy to be finished with the best album of all time pic.twitter.com/JBWa8OWvqw— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 25, 2016
3. The. Album. Sounds. Amazing.
There's still no word on when it will actually, y'know, come out and stuff. But by heck, it really does sound pretty damn special. He can be a total idiot on Twitter, but West wasn't blowing smoke when he said he was finishing 'the best album of all time'. Much of 'Yeezus's stark and abrasive mood has been tempered, but it's still an incredibly progressive album – one that is reminiscent of bold visionaries like Stevie Wonder at their peak, or wonderfully candid figures in history like John Lennon immediately after The Beatles. Amongst many guests – Frank Ocean, The Dream, Kid Cudi – Rihanna in particular sounds immaculate on the stately intro to 'Famous', while West himself slays it on the 'Freestyle 4' – one of the tightest, most visceral rhymes he's delivered in years.
4. He played up to his level of fame and infamy perfectly.
Though it was nice to revel in the fact that Kanye is a singular, amazingly gifted songwriter, there was still an internet's worth of headlines, memes and lols aplenty that came gushing out of the playback. He claims he made Taylor Swift famous. He wishes his dick has a camera on it. He shouts out Kim Kardashian's exes, and his brother-in-law's current squeeze. Somewhere along the way, he gives props to a lady with a bleached asshole – even while his two kids are in the auditorium. But West knows what he's doing: 'Feedback' is a simple monologue of Kanye dissecting and discussing the fame of Kanye. Hearing him say, tongue in cheek: 'What if Kanye released a song about Kanye?' is truly one of the most funniest things you'll hear in ages.
5. He thanked God.
When the playback had ended, 'Ye took to the mic to do a bit of thanking. He thanked God and restated something he's said often: that he thinks of 'The Life of Pablo' as a gospel album. Before he left the arena, he showed a clip of a self-produced computer game inspired by the death of his mother called 'Only One'. It was rather odd, there's no two ways about it, featuring as it did a series of women riding horses up into the clouds. Yet at the same time, he's very publicly talked about the loss he feels for her, and well, grief makes you do extraordinary things. It was a strange end to a rather definitive success for West. We're just sorry that so many haters ended up missing it.