Yeezy season is in full swing this week, with the release of Kanye West’s sixth studio album and his first human spawn. As you’d expect, the internet is losing its shit, dishing out near-unanimous, near-perfect reviews of Yeezus, while speculating on the cultural impact/name of Kimye Jr.
As is the case in the race-to-yell-first of modern journalism, these reviews tend to repeat each other, inadvertently or otherwise. Here’s a fun game for you:
YEEZUS REVIEW BINGO!
Step one: Print out the following words on a three by three grid: Croissants, sweet and sour sauce, Daft Punk, acid house, Rick Rubin, civil rights sign, pornographic, Bon Iver, fatherhood, Kardashian.
Step two: Load up any Yeezus review currently being bandied about the web.
Step three: Cross off each of word as you come across them. That’s a bingo!
Outside of these lowest-common-denominator touchstones, there has been exploration of the self-aggrandising biblical themes on the record and chiding of the album’s rampant misogyny, while the darker reaches of the internet have predictably scavenged Yeezus for tediously-sourced signs of the Illuminati.
But no reviews have really touched on the most pressing underlying issue brought forth by Yeezus: that Kanye West has really shitty taste in movies.
Seriously, look at the films name-checked throughout, and tell me it’s dissimilar to what you would find in a horny 16-year-old’s DVD library. (Do kids still rock DVDs? No? Netflix queue? Blu-Ray pile? Torrent folder? Whatever.)
The movie: 300
The song: ‘Black Skinhead’
The lyric: “I keep it 300 / Like the Romans”
Zack Snyder’s heavily stylised film adaptation of Frank Miller’s comic tells the story of the battle of Thermopylae – an epic saga involving the heroic underdogged grit of the Spartans, against the immense force of the Persian god-king Xerxes’ army. But Sparta was a Greek city-state, so it’s a bit of a BC-era generalisation to tie in the Romans. Does Yeezy know this? Probably. Does he give a shit? Probably not. The film projects an attention-grabbing aesthetic, but the gratuitous, possibly homophobic macho eye candy has little more than the makings of boyish fantasy.
The movie: The Waterboy
The song: ‘New Slaves’
The lyric: “I’m ‘bout to wild the fuck out / I’m going Bobby Boucher.”
As part of the minimal guerrilla marketing campaign leading up to the release of Yeezus, a clip for ‘Black Slaves’ was projected across hundreds of buildings all over the world. It was a powerful statement, containing little more than an intense close-up of Kanye’s face as he delivers an impassioned damnation of how racism has manifested in modernity. What better signifier of the rage of black oppression than Adam Sandler’s goofy caricature of a bumbling white southerner?
As displayed on the Blades Of Glory-appropriating N****s In Paris, Kanye has a penchant for dumb, mainstream comedy blockbusters. He’s even landed himself a cameo in the upcoming Anchorman sequel. But The Waterboy? Even in terms of the Adam Sandler canon, that shit is pretty bottom-tier.
The movie: Fight Club
The song: ‘Bound 2’
The lyric: “Start a Fight Club / Brad reputation.”
We all had that dickhead mate who saw Fight Club, totally “got” the message of the film and wanted to start their own fight club. You get the sense that Ye is in a similar mindset here on the soulful album-closer. But I guess interpreting the lyrics in such a way is no different than appreciating Fight Club solely for its surface message and oh god I am stuck in a recursive loop and my head hurts.
The movie: Tron
The song: ‘I’m In It’
Yeezus says: “I go to sleep with a nightlight / My mind move like a Tron bike.”
Has anyone seen that movie Tron? No. No. No. No. Yes. I mean, no. I tried to watch it once, but it was super boring, so I have no qualms dismissing the film as nerdy tripe for teens of both the Tron and Tron Legacy generations. I suppose this shout-out could tie in with the fact that Daft Punk produced a selection of Yeezus tracks? Meanwhile, has anyone heard Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack? No. No. No. No. Yes. I mean, no.
The movie: Star Wars
The song: ‘Guilt Trip’
Yeezus says: “Star Wars fur / Yeah I’m rockin’ Chewbacca”
Out of the selection of Yeezus’s filmic references on offer, I’d say this fur-boasting Chewbacca quip is the most commendable. I mean, we could have been subjected to a reminder of the prequel trilogy (General Grievous does neatly rhyme with Yeezus…).
Lachlan Kanoniuk is a music journalist from Melbourne who has been published in Triple J Magazine, The Brag, X-Press; he’s also the current singles columnist for Beat Magazine. Lachlan frequently sabotages his personal brand on Twitter.