Published Oct 27, 2019Kanye West's anticipated Jesus Is King is a somewhat shallow exploration of spirituality — it's serviceable gospel, but doesn't do anything substantial beyond religious buzzwords and bible references. The album starts as abruptly as it ends, and Ye uses some questionable lyrics throughout, but it's not without redeeming qualities.
There are glimpses of genuinely good stuff on Jesus Is King. In some moments, Kanye's production is fantastic, but more often than not, it feels hollow. There is a significant absence of percussion throughout the album, and the instrumentation is often stripped back to just one or two components. Whenever it seems like it's about to pick up, it never does.
Jesus Is King is all over the place — refreshing synths mixed with forgettable melodies, jarring track transitions, and even the stronger songs could have been improved. Thanks to the pen of Toronto's Sean Leon, "Use This Gospel" has a great hook, delivered well by West, but the reunited Clipse are criminally underused, and Kenny G's brilliant sax solo is isolated from the rest of the song entirely.
The only slapper on the LP is "Follow God," a return to form for West, featuring a chopped and screwed sample and heavy kicks. The quick, slick flow Ye uses here took the record in an impactful direction, but the song is painfully short.
It's not that Jesus is King is bad, it's that it could have been much better. Kanye's foray into gospel should have been a heavenly experience, but it's half-baked, incoherent and ultimately falls short of godly. Kanye stans will certainly get their fix from Jesus Is King, but for everyone else, it leaves much to be desired. (Def Jam)