Comin’ home, again

Photo by LittleO2

The new Kanye West album has leaked, and although he’s once again admirably pushing to change up his sound (this time, synths, and lots of them), I’m still not quite sure how I feel about all of it. It’s definitely his most polarizing work yet: The majority of hip-hop fans seem to have rejected it already, while in other corners (including much of the blogosphere) it’s being hailed as maybe his best and most complete effort.

Immediately noticeable to me is that it, like his other full-lengths, has dramatic highs and lows. Somewhere in the middle is “Homecoming,” a collaboration with Coldplay’s Chris Martin. The song rides a serviceable piano loop-driven beat, rendered particularly irritating by Martin’s soulless guest vocals on the chorus. It kind of recalls an uptempo, less saccharine version of “Heard ‘Em Say,” which also featured a piano loop and pop rock vocalist – Maroon 5’s ever-mawkish Adam Levine.

Kanye’s verses are a re-recording of his lyrics from “Home,” which first popped up on the leaked advance of his debut, The College Dropout, but didn’t make the official release. I guess my mixed reaction to “Homecoming” stems from the fact that “Home,” despite its early-stage and relatively unsophisticated production, is one of my favorite Kanye songs, among the first that sold me on him as a solo artist – a big fat soul sample, a hungry Kanye, and requisite R&B crooning courtesy of John Legend that kicks up a notch into the awesome-sphere in the last minute to close things out.

Kanye West – “Home”: mp3

And for good measure, here’s another orphan from that College Dropout advance, featuring Dirt McGirt (better known to most under his Wu-nym, Ol’ Dirty Bastard):

Kanye West ft. Dirt McGirt – “Keep the Receipt”: mp3


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