In an interview last week, Kanye West said that he is “unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time”.
But if the reviews of his new album Jesus Is King are anything to go by, Kanye might want to rethink his bold statement.
The rapper finally released his ninth album on the weekend after a four-week delay. The gospel record doesn’t feature a single swear word but randomly it does feature a saxophone solo from Kenny G.
Kanye, who is a devout Christian, is hoping the album will help spread the word of God which he now considers to be his main purpose in life.
“Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” Kanye explained to Beats 1’s Zane Lowe last week.
“There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free,” he said.
His intentions might be good, but the album is not, according to several music reviewers.
Laughing at these bad reviews of Kanye’s new album #JesusIsKing
The Devil is still a liar and critics are still out of touch
— Antonia Okafor (@antonia_okafor) October 27, 2019
The most scathing review of Kanye’s new album came from The Guardian’s Dean Van Nguyen who described it as “another slapdash project from a once great album-maker” and that it “might be the definitive assertion that West’s golden period is over”.
“Jesus Is King is too slight a record, too lacking in substance, to offer any sense of purification or real insights into West’s mind,” Van Nguyen wrote.
“What we get is 27 minutes of perfunctory religious discussion that tell us little of God’s place in the life of this one believer and almost nothing of God’s place in the modern world.”
One of my favorite parts of this Kanye thing: People who hate both Kanye & the God that he’s praising and choose to mock and ridicule the album- They still have to say “Jesus is King” while doing so! 😂😂😂 #JesusIsKing
— Shai Linne (@ShaiLinne) October 27, 2019
Andrew Barker from Variety described Jesus Is King as “not very good” and wrote that the album is “a lyrical mess, alternately alienating and bland”.
“On God (track number 5) may be the worst offender, with West moaning about his taxes and going to great lengths to justify the eye-watering prices of his merch and his Yeezy sneaker line, explaining that if he were to charge less, his family might starve, or he might be forced to appear on Dancing With the Stars. (He seems to find these two fates comparably bleak.)”
Matt Miller from Esquire wrote that Jesus Is King is “an album that we’ll be debating and discussing for weeks to come … And, no matter what the consensus is, at least the music still sounds incredible”.
“This is very much a Christian album — if you simply read the lyrics, you’d think it was a sermon from a very hip pastor,” Miller wrote. “It’s a lot. And while the content of the album sometimes references pop culture and the world at large, the focus of Jesus Is King never strays from its central thesis.
“In some ways, it affords a nice break for anyone sick of hearing Kanye’s relentless self-boosterism. It’s mildly refreshing to hear him brag about something else for a change. But for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves religious, this might be the most they’ve ever heard the words ‘Jesus,’ ‘God,’ and ‘Pray’ in one half-hour sitting.”
Jesus listened to Kanye's new album #JesusIsKing. Jesus hasn't been let down that hard since the crucifixion.
— God (@thegoodgodabove) October 26, 2019
Roisin O’Connor from the Independent gave the “confusing” album two stars and wrote that it “lacks cohesion”.
“Jesus is King feels more like a collection of well-produced skits than a full studio album, and fans will no doubt be wondering whether all the hype and stress that preceded its unveiling was worth it,” she wrote. “‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, not divide,’ West raps on On God. But on this album and as an artist, divide is all he seems to be doing.”
And finally, Us Weekly’s Nicholas Hautman wrote that Jesus Is King is “masterfully produced” but added that “the finished product feels scattered and rushed”.
“All things considered, Jesus Is King is chaotic, but not a bad album by any means,” wrote Hautman, who gave it two out of 4 stars. “Ditching secular music is fine; it’s a breath of fresh air even — especially for a rapper. But the album as a whole simply does not feel like a landmark moment in the way that 2007’s Graduation and 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did.”
Have you heard Jesus Is King yet? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.
Originally published as Critics slam Kanye’s ‘not very good’ album