A Review Of Kanye West’s Album “Donda”

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Charlie McMahon, Staff Writer

Thousands of people gathered at Soldier Field and Mercedes-Benz Stadium to hear it; after these three separate listening parties and many delays, it finally happened. On Sunday, August 29, 2021, the world woke up to the surprise that Kanye West had finally dropped his highly anticipated album “Donda.” This was shocking because most albums are released on Fridays. Kanye claimed Universal had put his album out without approval. The build-up for this was crazy, but was well worth the wait.

“Donda” is Kanye’s 10th studio album and it is named after his late mother, Donda West. The album contains 27 songs and runs for 1 hour and 48 minutes. The album sold 309,000 units in the first week and would become number one on the Billboard 200, soon to be taken over by Drake after he released his album “Certified Lover Boy” five days later. Kanye and Drake have been long-time rivals, the two have dissed each other back and forth over the last 12 years. With the releases of their albums it has created tensions between the fanbases. It seems like you must pick a side. There are some very notable artists featured on West’s album such as Jay-Z, Lil Baby, The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, and Travis Scott. 

I have had many songs from it on repeat for a while now, and “Off the Grid” instantly became my favorite song. The production is amazing, the beat transition is beautiful, and everyone on the song delivered during their verse. This is the type of song to hype you up. Another great song is “Moon.” It’s so soothing and touching that it makes you feel like you’re floating. It is the perfect song to listen to when trying to relax. The song “Jail” served as a reunion between Kanye and Jay-Z after their share of the 2011 album “Watch the Throne.” 

The songs on the album explore many different emotions and themes including grief and Christianity. Songs like “Praise God,” “Jonah,” and “Jesus Lord” explore these ideas. In “Pure Souls” we hear Kanye’s gospel group. The sense of grief is evident through Kanye’s depiction of love for his mother, Donda, as we hear her dubbed voice in almost every song. In “Donda Chant,” the opening track, many speculate that it represents Donda’s heartbeat as she passed away. The album reflects the grief that has affected Kanye.

Although I am a big fan of the album, I found it to be too long. I feel that 45 minutes to an hour is a good length for an album. I just can’t sit through and listen for almost two hours. 27 songs is a lot! In general, I’m a fan of quality over quantity and I can’t help but think the album would feel stronger as a whole if it had been edited down to fewer songs. “Donda” is filled with a wide variety of musical styles and moods, not to mention a wide array of featured artists. Even if you are not the biggest hip-hop or rap fan, I would recommend you give this album a listen. You will find some songs that you will play over and over again. This is a record that fits nicely into Kanye’s discography, and I think it’ll only get better with each listen.

 

For the Spotify link to the album click HERE

For the Apple Music link to the album click HERE