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Dec 30, 2010
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It was only released late in November but already, and very quickly, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has a rightful space in most everyone’s best-of year-ender lists.

[firstpara]It owns a substantial amount of airtime in everybody’s listening capacity, and is now at the receiving end of a fondness for the year 2010.

It’s safe to say that with recent indiscretions—the much publicized melt-downs, chaos on Twitter and a disgraceful behavior involving a teen star, just to name some—Kanye West is out for redemption.

And on the first track alone, the very grand “Dark Fantasy,” you know that he will do everything to get it. “Can we get much higher” a choral asks in reverie.

It’s grand and gaudy and ambitious but you oddly find yourself rallying in his favor.

By “Power,” the third track, there isn’t anything holding you back from forgiving his past sins and from joining him in his pursuit for higher heights.

“Power” and “Monster” are easy favorites, what with the bigger-than-facebook proportions of their rhyme, rhythm, and vibe.

But it is “So Appalled,” with its samples floating above warm sonic surfaces, that the record’s genius in revealed. 

It is almost ridiculous to mention the merits of “Runaway.” Sinister piano keys offer the organic realness of this epic, while the full armor of effects give it the robotic perfection of the future.

What makes it cathartic, what gives it a tug at the fringes of your gut, is the honesty in full abandon. It is one-part bitter, a shade of pain, and a glimmer of hope dressed in majestic music.

“Hell of a Life” bursts with so much 21st century attitude, it erases the so-called gravity of “Runaway.” “I think I fell in love with a porn star” the song begins. Don’t bother waiting for irony; the song doesn’t look back from its rolling hedonism, thankfully. It is catchy, it latches all at once to your head and doesn’t let go.

“Blamgame” follows and here, you know you are in the middle of the record's climax. It can’t get any higher lest your mind gets twisted a screw too tight. The song thankfully gets a bit too belligerent, it brings you back to where you are: listening to a pop record, okay what’s next.

“Lost in the World” is such a fantastic dance track, you can imagine all the clubs blaring this gem come new year’s eve. “Who will survive in America” is the almost requisite socio-political chant of the record.

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But with hip-hop’s undeniable wits, the song becomes something you will want to listen, if only for its poetry: “The illegitimate daughter of the mother country/ whose legs were then spread around the world/ and a rape that is known as freedom/ free doom.”

The record ends rather abruptly with that track, but by then, you’ll also wonder how else do you end such a trip?

It’s a magnificent representation of where we are, how far we’ve gone, our capacity to create, and what we’d do for forgiveness. Doesn’t sound like a record review now, is it? That’s how big My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is. We highly recommend you get this record.

WORDS BY LOU E. ALBANO

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