For his latest album Ye, Kanye West opens up about some of his most pressing concerns. He’s delving deep into his psyche, discussing everything from infidelity and mental health to fatherhood. For as ambitious as it sounds on paper, in truth there’s nothing to write home about; his bland often cliche statements don’t project with the same urgency that fans are used to. Most of his claims are transparent and have a scripted air about them that makes it disingenuous and insincere. So much of his dirty laundry has been aired out in the media that it in comparison it makes his album sound meek.

The production is as big a let down as the lyrical direction. The minimalist approach doesn’t frame the lyrics the way it does on Pusha T’s album, and by the end it’s not enough to drown out the peripheral noise he’s surrounded himself with. Ye is his attempt at analyzing more down-to-earth struggles, but instead of letting the narrative come naturally he’s filtering it through the eyes of the critics and fans, letting them have more control over his point-of-view than is necessary for an artist of his caliber. Right idea, piss-poor execution.

I Thought About Killing You

The opening cut takes listeners through the many moods of Ye. He starts with a spoken word piece about snapping and his mental health. And then as the beat builds he changes his delivery, adopting a sing song approach and then finally trap. Each style allows him to express a different part of his personality and by the end he’s talking smack to any and everyone, resurrecting past beefs: [LISTEN]

Yikes

Talking about mental health is one thing but showing how he reached his breaking point is another thing altogether. The glam life had him transforming faster than Optimus Prime, and now that he’s been through the gauntlet so many times he barely recognizes the man looking back at him in the mirror. Drugs played a major role and so did the obscene wealth; the damning results of too much too fast: [LISTEN]

All Mine

Infidelity takes center stage and Ye is describing the mayhem that can occur when one decides to cheat. Temptation is everywhere and when the libido gets going there’s nothing that can be done. It’s biology and he’s explaining how quickly vows can be broken when passion strikes. Chris Rock gets name dropped, and he uses his situation as a springboard to say that it can happen to anyone: [LISTEN]

Wouldn’t Leave

His financial woes came to a head and he almost lost everything. He’s lucky his wife didn’t leave him and this is his way of not only thanking her but warning those in a similar position to take a minute to listen to your better half before making hasty decisions. He’s bemoaning how when you’re famous people will constantly be in your ear about what’s the right and wrong move for your family: [LISTEN]

No Mistakes

For a moment it sounds like the celebrated “Old Kanye” has returned. He’s looking to the sky, praying for a better life and letting hope be his guide. The feeling is fleeting, however, and he knows that the circus he’s surrounded himself with will only swell. It’s a moment of silence that acts as the eye of the storm, a brief break in the clouds that lets the light shine through: [LISTEN]

Ghost Town

A cavalry of allies come to assist Ye on his march toward greatness. Being around such positive and supportive energy is putting him in an existential mood, and he’s wondering aloud what the next life will bring. Kid Cudi is a notable addition as it’s a drop for a forthcoming collaboration. Their influence on one another cannot be overstated and it’ll likely continue until the wheels fall off: [LISTEN]

Violent Crimes

The birth of his daughters have enlightened him, and he’s expressing anxiety over what’s to come. Fatherhood has brought about a new perspective: the world is full of thirsty savages. There’s not enough armor in the world to protect them from the harsh realities of life, but he’s hoping that his love will be enough; a transformation from bloodthirsty player to dedicated father: [LISTEN]