New Jersey, 1968
Présents et absents, John Batho
Spike Jonze Week
Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
RANKING KANYE WEST’S ALBUMS ONCE AND FOR ALL http://illrts.co/1m1a
Yesterday marked the 10-year anniversary of Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout. In the decade since its release, West has gone on to redefine parts of hip-hop and exert unprecedented influence over pop culture as a whole. For anyone who’s a sincere fan of quality music, it’s a period that can only be looked back upon fondly. Every Kanye West album is arguably classic in its own way, but in keeping with the tides of nostalgia, there are few things that rap fans like to do more than compare Ye’s six solo full-lengths against one another. It’s a fierce debate that pops up on social media seemingly every day, and with each LP being so impressive, it’s an endlessly alluring conversation because people consistently offer a different take, and no one’s ever really right or wrong. With this milestone date in Kanye’s career as a reminder, we’re stacking up each of his projects against one another, once and for all. Jay Z did the same thing with his own 12 albums back in December, so we know that these arguments can be relevant outside of the obsessive fan demographic. When an artist has a strong discography, there’s an inevitable temptation to try and make sense of it all. Here’s our shot at doing just that with Mr. West.
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I used to write a website about movies and television with the occasional Think Piece on Gwyneth Paltrow’s spending power. It is a website that just happens to be closing up shop for good tomorrow, unfortunately. Ours was a love the world could not understand. R.I.P.
By the end of my tenure at the soon (so soon) to be defunct pop culture website, it genuinely felt like I was reading the Entire Internet every day, and the only takeaway one can have from reading the Entire Internet every day is that the Internet is 100% Horrible. There’s a common sense that the Internet is just a collection of sad adolescent trolls hiding in their parents’ basements throwing digital feces through the proverbial bars, but the truth is much worse. Everyone is throwing the digital feces. The trolls just enjoy it a little more.
So, one of the most wonderful aspects of stopping writing for that website on a daily basis was that I also stopped reading other websites on a daily basis. With rare exception, I haven’t LOOKED at a blog in six months, much less read one. I still look at Tumblr most days, but Tumblr might as well be Instagram. It hardly counts.
And yet, I somehow have not managed to escape Blog Culture, because Blog Culture has become so pervasive that we are all doomed to a wasteland future of ad hominem non-jokes, knee-jerk unreflective judgements punched out on iPads during commercial breaks, and a Smithsonian’s worth of #selfies.