Kanye West Jesus Is King Def Jam
So Kanye has found God. Having teased a pivot to Christ with his mysterious Sunday Service performances – viewable on that most holy of platforms, Kim Kardashian’s Instagram stories – Ye’s new album Jesus Is King serves as his confirmation; an official renouncement of the devil, new dresses and all his other works.
As you might expect, Kanye’s sound on Jesus… is all very God-forward. There are Biblical verses where bars should be, church organs swelling under Gospel choirs and more allusions to the almighty than your average mass. In places, the results are suitably sublime, as in the opening minutes of Selah, where chanted hallelujahs build heavenly to a righteous sermon. There are even tracks, such as Follow God and Water, where Kanye’s redemption sounds complete, soul-led instrumentals channelling the best moments of his discography.
More often though, it feels as if Ye is leaning on religious imagery as a crutch, repeating Christian clichés to the point that it sounds like he’s trying to convince himself of his religion as much as convert his audience.
There’s also the issue of the mixing, which regularly ruins what should be the album’s most victorious moments, most notably the transition between No Malice’s verse and Kenny G’s saxophone solo (what a sentence, maybe God is real) on Use This Gospel.
While certainly a step in the right direction after the shambolic Ye, Jesus Is King is ultimately the sound of a man hiding behind God. Kanye may well be born again, but it will take much more than this album to resurrect his reputation.