A Must-Read Kanye West Roundtable

Were you one of the poor souls spazz­ing out over Kanye’s 10.0 from Pitch­fork? How per­fect­ly 2002 of you. If you’re look­ing for more grist for the mill, look no fur­ther than Jeff Weiss’ excel­lent My Beau­ti­ful Dark Twist­ed Fam­i­ly round­table, in which sev­er­al crit­ics offer their thoughts on what most peo­ple seem to believe is the album of the year. (I’m inclined to agree with most peo­ple.)

Not good enough? Jeff and his friends are real­ly, real­ly fun­ny.

The Most Anticipated Album of 2010

Can’t tell you how excit­ed I am to hear Kanye’s new album. “Run­away” just blows me away. I’ve loved every­thing he’s done so far, so why should My Beau­ti­ful Dark Twist­ed Fan­ta­sy be any dif­fer­ent?

Feel like he real­ly turned a cor­ner with 808s & Heart­break, which I felt was unfair­ly maligned in some cir­cles as being too misog­y­nis­tic. I thought it was a painful, hurt­ful, fright­en­ing breakup album. Loved it. So did Mau­ra and Whiney. I feel like his next album is our sweet reward. Can­not wait.

Video: Kanye West — “Heartless”

I was talk­ing to Mark this after­noon about the state of the music indus­try, some­thing we do from time to time, usu­al­ly when I’m cer­tain that it’s final­ly reached rock bot­tom. There’s some­thing fore­bod­ing in the Novem­ber release cal­en­dar. If this year is real­ly the music industry’s last gasp, then Novem­ber will be its death rat­tle.

Who isn’t releas­ing albums in Novem­ber? Justin Tim­ber­lake. He — and the tire­less Rihan­na — are the only major stars who come to mind that aren’t squeez­ing albums into 2008’s Q4. It’s shock­ing. I keep going back to Maura’s post that sug­gest­ed that this could be a sign that the end is nigh for mul­ti­mil­lion­aire artists and the com­pa­nies that back them. Is this it?

If it is, there’s only one album that I’m even remote­ly curi­ous about in the hol­i­day glut of new releas­es. It’s Kanye West’s 808s and Heart­break. Few artists have such a total­iz­ing aes­thet­ic. Mr. West syn­the­sizes cool ideas unlike any oth­er artist work­ing at his lev­el. Time and time again, I’ve looked for any rea­son to dis­miss his work as pas­tiche, but to do so would be a big mis­take. Kanye West bor­rows, steals, and co-opts styles unlike any­one since Madon­na, sniff­ing out trends and taboos and ele­vat­ing them to the main­stream.

Watch Kanye West’s new video, “Heart­less.” His cool­ness is unde­ni­able.