After over one year of continuous release delays, on Oct. 25, 2019 musician Kanye West released his ninth studio album “Jesus Is King.” As the title suggests, the album is a devoted worship album to God and Jesus Christ.
With an 11-song tracklist, “Jesus Is King” has a total runtime of 27 minutes. This runtime is significantly shorter than the typical album release, but falls in line with Kanye’s recent sub-30-minute album releases. Only 3 of the 11 songs on the tracklist exceed three minutes.
The album begins with “Every Hour,” an energetic choir praise, backed by a piano that contributes a very lighthearted vibe. The choir performing this song is the same choir that has been performing “Sunday Service” with Kanye every Sunday over the past few months. Strangely, the song seems to be very roughly cut at some points. There is significant repetition on the track and it seems that Kanye simply copy and pasted the same audio clip of the performance three times, bringing the track to a total runtime of 1:52. It massively falls short of what Kanye’s fans have come to expect from him.
Arguably the strongest track on the album, titled “On God,” reminds Kanye fans of the energy that is embedded in his album “808s & Heartbreak.” Fueled by a constantly repeating synth sequence, “On God” excites the listener and provides some insight into Kanye’s personal life. Kanye brings up the times he has bleached his hair and complains about tax rates. Rapping, “The IRS want they fifty plus our tithe. Man, that’s over half of the pie,” Kanye seems to fail to understand the mechanics of the progressive tax by implying that he loses half of his income to taxes. He proceeds to justify charging large amounts of money by using the fact that he is taxed heavily. This tangent is completely unrelated to the theme of the album.
“Jesus Is King” finished with the 49-second track “Jesus Is Lord.” While “Jesus Is Lord” is fitting as a closing track in theory, the song seems to cut off in the middle of a bar. It is a horribly unsatisfactory conclusion to “Jesus Is King” and I am sure that many fans are disappointed by the outro.
Overall, “Jesus Is King” has excellent production, but really only that. Christian lyrics can be appreciated, but the elementary nature of Kanye’s verses throughout the album makes me think that Kanye haphazardly replaced secular lyrics with religious ones.
“Jesus is King” earns a 70% in my book. Hopefully Kanye repeats what he did at the release of “The Life of Pablo” and edits some of the tracks. Better luck next time, Kanye.