“Jesus is King” is powerful, yet unsatisfying

Kanye’s anticipated gospel album entertains, but does not live up to his previous releases.

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“Jesus is King” is powerful, yet unsatisfying

Kanye West releases his first gospel album

Kanye West releases his first gospel album "Jesus Is King."

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kanye West releases his first gospel album "Jesus Is King."

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kanye West releases his first gospel album "Jesus Is King."

Sammy Newcomer, Freelance Writer

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After multiple delays, Kanye finally delivered “Jesus is King” on Oct. 25. The release, in typical Kanye fashion, was surrounded by controversy. This time, the calamity surrounds Kanye’s “rebirth” and conversion to Christianity. While some Christians fear Kanye is using the name of Jesus as a marketing tool, others rejoice as one of the most influential members of pop culture is praising the name of Jesus.

The album is certainly spiritual and Christ-centered. Nonetheless, the project is still very much a Kanye album, as he shares his personal experiences, emotions and mental state throughout the record. 

 GLIMPSE OF THE GOSPEL KANYE WE WANT

Some of the tracks feature aspects that fans would want in a Kanye gospel album. “Selah” and “God Is” specifically point to the sound and quality that some fans desired, blending rap and gospel wonderfully and implementing a gospel choir into the rap verses. Both tracks lyrically point to Kanye’s wonder at the Lord’s power. “Use this Gospel,” following the trend, features simple, yet effective production, which combines choral vocals and instrumental chords. The verses from the reunited Clipse, Pusha T and No Malice complement the themes of thanksgiving and repentance. The track also features an anthemic saxophone solo from Kenny G to powerfully conclude the song. 

Follow God” sonically resembles the Kanye of yesteryear. The track, resting upon a sample of Whole Truth’s “Can You Lose By Following God.” The integration of old and new songs is very reminiscent of tracks such as “Bound 2” and “4th Dimension.” Aside from a slightly lackluster conclusion, the track satisfies with nostalgia. While leaning more toward rap than gospel, the personal, spiritual lyricism prevents the track from sounding out of place.

MORE TO DESIRE

Although some songs easily captivate listeners, other songs prevent the album from being one of Kanye’s best. “On God” impresses independently, but the synth production feels doesn’t blend well with the album. “Everything We Need” and “Water,” also suffer from production, resulting in tracks that sound like they were completed the night before release, which is probably because they were. Meanwhile, “Closed on Sunday” is cringe-worthy enough to lower the quality of the entire album. The song features dreadful lyricism, and the production does not help.

The brevity also leaves listeners puzzled. Its twenty-seven minute run time does not give West enough time to go in depth with the grand topics mentioned. Brief albums are not new for Kanye, as he released two records under 25 minutes in 2018. Yet unlike “Ye” and “Kids See Ghosts,” which pack their run-times to the brim, “Jesus is King” seems unfinished. Considering the number of times the album was delayed, the album feels like a rough cut of “the real” gospel album Kanye has been teasing.