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Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (33 1/3) Paperback – June 19, 2014
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“In Graves' book, he not only breaks down each track on the record, but he also effectively lays out the context of the album's release, explaining why Kanye is deserving of an investigative book like this one (and hopefully soon, others), and what about Mr. West makes him the biggest and most off-putting rock star on the planet.” ―Dan Buyanovsky, Revolt TV
“Kanye West is the millennial generation incarnate, or at least that’s what Kirk Walker Graves would have us all think. Throughout the 150 or so pages of this book, Graves unpacks the enigma that is Kanye West’s personality and art. This book isn’t so much about the musical qualities of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as it is about how Kanye’s ego and public persona can be used to explain modern 20-somethings. Graves finds meaning in West’s music that I never would have picked out on my own. His fandom is clear, but he never steps into hyperbole in his praise of the music. Though, at times, it feels like his discussion of this album can get a bit too academic, I appreciate the thought that he has put into his analysis of Kanye’s work. This book is some serious next-level music criticism―I never realized how much Kanye’s Gucci line meant to my life before this guy told me about it.” ―SLUG Magazine
“West may be divisive enough to not win over his detractors, but Graves' mix of fanboy marvel and critical detachment is persuasive enough to convince even detractors to give My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a close listen. At the end of its 132 pages, Graves makes a convincing argument that this four-year-old deserves a spot in the 33 1/3 series. But perhaps more important, he does something that great criticism should do: he makes you want to listen to the album.” ―Sean McCarthy, PopMatters
“Kanye West's fifth album is only a few years old, but that didn't stop Kirk Walker Graves from writing a book proclaiming it an instant classic that perfectly captures the spirit of its era. Graves unpacks the cultural meaning and significance of West's famous ego and chaotic public persona, and examines the music both in the context of the rapper's brilliant body of work, and how it fits into the social media era.” ―"14 Books From 2014 Every Music Lover Needs To Read", Buzzfeed
“Listed on NYLON's 'Best Music Books to Read This Summer'” ―NYLON
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Top Customer Reviews
Kirk Walker Graves, author of the 33 1/3 entry for Kanye West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, assumed the burden of dissecting the eponymous album for this very reason. Why focus an intellectual analysis on an album only four years old, nearly devoid of historical context? The author sends the message that MBDTF is the first album that wraps its tendrils directly into the psyche of a society that treats socializing as preparation for personal celebrity, desiring all things immediately not just due to impatience, but because soon now will be irrelevant. Much like the album and our pop culture, the importance of Graves’ analysis cannot be understated, or delayed.
Graves shows a level of enthusiasm for his work comparable to a toddler with a leaf blower in a realm of endless cotton candy. The book begins by giving one of the best explanations of Kanye, the artist and the human, that I have yet read. It helps the reader place him within the digital culture now pervading the world that I previously mentioned.Read more ›
it's obvious that the words from this book came from a genuinely good place: an excellent writer who is a kanye fan. and that's what this book is: a track by track pop-culture analysis from the perspective of a fan, rather than an unbiased explanation of the creation of the art and the impact it has on "pop culture."
since mbdtf fused into my life and became a soundtrack to heartaches and euphorias and stuff in between, I wanted to know more about this album on a technical level: what were the studio sessions like? what did Pete Rock, the RZA and Qtip contribute? what kind of cathartic experience did Kanye have when the piano keys, Pete Rock drum loop and Rick James "look at you!" sample came together, if any? etc.
these are pretty specific questions, but questions worth investigating. I think.
it's incredibly difficult to write anything about Kanye that most fans don't already know. and I thought this book would be different. it's not. overall, with the exception of a few minor errors and too many pop-culture associations, it's a good read for the kanye consumer. not so much for the true listeners of my beautiful dark twisted fantasy. I didn't really get anything out of it that hasn't already been printed on glossy, or matte finished covered magazines.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're into hip hop, especially Kanye in particular, this book is not for you. There is very little insight into the music or lyrics of the album. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Eric Ordonselli
Beautifully written, I cannot express enough how well this book was written. It drew me in with every word of every line. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brian LaRocco
I'm astonished by the 5-star reviews for this entry in the 33 1/3 series. Being a big fan of Kanye West, and specifically this album (I gave a 10 minute presentation on its social... Read morePublished 22 months ago by The Mediocre Gatsby
Amazing read, I love how the whole thing is dedicated to just one album. Plus if you love Kanye, then you'll love this book.Published 23 months ago by Connor Pollack
This one is much different than other books in the 33 1/3 series, which I love. It is different but that wouldn't be a bad thing if the volume didn't come off stinking of... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ron Gubitz