Album Review: Jesus is King by Kanye West
Henri Robbins | Online Editor
I miss the old Kanye, but I want new Kanye. After listening to Jesus is King (JIK), it could be a solid album. As Kanye’s new delve into Christianity, it’s a step in an unknown direction, and, at least sonically speaking, it’s pretty good. That doesn’t mean it’s all that and a side of waffle fries, though. It’s not something that I’m tempted to listen to again. It doesn’t have the jarring hooks, the abrasive lyricism, the derisive topics that West is known for. It doesn’t have the experimental production, or the innovative sound. What it does have is a message of religion that falls short of encapsulating any real faith. The lyrics are nothing short of Kanye espousing his own worth through biblical allusions, comparing himself to the likes of Jesus and asserting his worthiness, his salvation, and his belonging in Heaven. Some tracks hit well, such as Selah and Follow God, but others – the most egregious being Closed On Sunday – all fall short of anything meaningful or worthwhile.
That’s not all, though. After listening to what’s purported to be a leak of Yandhi, an unreleased project of West’s which was scrapped for Jesus is King, the album feels empty. It feels like an unfulfilled promise. While some tracks in Yandhi don’t hit, they are much more “Kanye” than what we got. They all subscribe to his sound, his production, his telltale layering of the human voice, even if it’s not as strong as Runaway, Jesus Walks, or Ultralight Beam. Yandhi isn’t perfect, not even close, and it’s still better than what we got. Really, Jesus is King was a hodge-podge of half-baked ideas repurposed into a pseudo-evangelical experience. It falls short of everything it tries to be and, more than that, falls short of what we all know it could have been.