Music: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The risqué standard cover art of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is Hip Hop messiah Kanye West's fifth album, released on 22 November 2010. The album was initially planned as a continuation of his College Trilogy (The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation) to be named Good-Ass Job, but the concept was eventually discarded.

The album was recorded across 2009 and 2010 primarily at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, where Kanye block-booked the three session rooms indefinitely and worked practically around the clock, with additional sessions at Electric Lady Studios and Platinum Sound Recording in New York and Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, with the help of a Serial Escalation Long List of rappers, producers, singers, engineers, and session musicians (more than ninety!).

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy received rave reviews, being ranked as one of the best albums of 2010 and of all time, with individual songs like "All of the Lights", "Runaway", "Power", and "Monster" taking equally high positions in song rankings.

Critics applauded the album's musical ranges, production, and thematic material, and the album won three Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album, as well as Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("All of the Lights"). However, there was mass controversy over the album not being nominated for Album of the Year alongside Watch the Throne (Kanye's collab album with Jay-Z), which many felt was an Award Snub. Kanye has stated that this was his own doing due to releasing the two albums in the same year.

The album was listed at #353 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Tracklist:

  1. "Dark Fantasy"
  2. "Gorgeous"
  3. "Power"
  4. "All of the Lights" (Interlude)
  5. "All of the Lights"
  6. "Monster"
  7. "So Appalled"
  8. "Devil in a New Dress"
  9. "Runaway"
  10. "Hell of a Life"
  11. "Blame Game"
  12. "Lost in the World"
  13. "Who Will Survive in America?"

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Tropes:

  • Album Filler: "Blame Game" is stretched up to seven minutes, due to comedian Chris Rock delivering a telephone conversation with the supposed past lover of Kanye West, which goes on for five minutes, full with profanity and sexual comments. This is amusing to listen to the first two times you play the song, but can get rather tedious afterwards. Arguably justified, though - it's the phone conversation Kanye refers to in his last few lines.
  • Auto-Tune: This album uses it in a great example of Tropes Are Tools. "Runaway" uses Autotune to distort Kanye's voice heavily for the last three minutes or so to mimic a guitar solo (it's been compared to King Crimson's Robert Fripp). A number of critics have speculated that this is intended to be a metaphor for Kanye's difficulties in expressing himself verbally.
  • Badass Boast/Blasphemous Boast: Cy Hi da Prynce claims in "So Apalled":
    If God had an iPod, I'd be on his playlist.
  • Body Horror: One of the images in assocation with MBDTF is a bear with five different mouths. As if that wasn't enough, there's a human equivalent.
  • Bookends: The album begins and ends with instances of Spoken Word in Music, similarly to Kanye's debut The College Dropout. They are also two thematically important questions asked by other performers, "Can we get much higher?" and "Who will survive in America?".
    • "Gorgeous" begins and ends with Kid Cudi's verse.
  • Concept Album: Considered to be this with unifying themes of the nature of celebrity, intense introspection and Self-Deprecation, and primal emotions.
  • Contemptible Cover: Seen above. There is a version of the cover with the risque image pixelated out, as well as alternate versions with different images entirely.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Dark Fantasy"
    The plan was to drink until the pain was over
    But what's worse, the pain or the hangover
  • Epic Rocking: 10 of the 13 tracks are longer than or around 5 minutes long, with the longest being the 9-minute "Runaway".
  • Heel Realization: "Runaway" is this in spades.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In "Runaway", Kanye protests his own proclivity for this.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Upwards of 90 staff! For one album! Few could get away with it, fewer still could make it work.
  • Loudness War: A really bad case. Nearly every song gets clipped.
    • A saving grace is that the video clips on youtube (for example) don't have this loudness issue, as such they sound and look fantastic.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The music video for "Monster" is full of horror images and was apparently so frightening and racy at the same time that MTV banned it.
  • One-Word Title: "Gorgeous", "Monster", "Power", "Runaway".
  • Progressive Rock: Believe it or not, a major influence on this album. There's a good reason "Power" samples King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" from In the Court of the Crimson King.
  • Questioning Title: "Who Will Survive In America?"
  • Product Placement: "Runaway"
    Invisibly set, the Rolex is faceless
  • Record Producer: Q-Tip, RZA, DJ Premier, Madlib and Pete Rock helped with the recording sessions.
  • Sampling:
    • "Dark Fantasy" contains samples of "In High Places" by Mike Oldfield.
    • "Gorgeous" has samples of "You Showed Me" by The Turtles.
    • "Power" has a sample from "It's Your Thing" by Continent Number 6 and "21st Century Schizoid Man" from King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King.
    • "So Appalled" has samples from "You Are-I Am" by Manfred Mann.
    • "Devil in a New Dress" has a sample from "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" in the version of Smokey Robinson.
    • "Runaway" has a sample of "Ecpo '83" by K.B. Ranch.
    • "Hell of a Life" has a sample of "She's My Bahy" by The Mojo Men, "Stud-Spider" by Tony Joe White and "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath from Paranoid.
    • "Blame Game" contains elements from "Avril 14th" by Aphex Twin.
    • "Lost in the World" has samples from "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango, "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins, "Woods" by Bon Iver and "Comment No. 1" by Gil Scott-Heron, who is sampled again during "Who Will Survive In America?"
  • Shout-Out:
    So much head, I woke up in Sleepy Hollow
    Too many Urkels on your team, that's why your wins low note 
    • "Gorgeous" provides a shout-out to a shout-out with the line "choke a South Park writer with a fishstick", referencing the South Park episode "Fishsticks", in which West was spoofed.
    • The music video to "Runaway" was reviewed in an episode of Todd in the Shadows, where Todd did a crossover with The Rap Critic.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Lost in the World" and "Who Will Survive In America", which are connected by the same beat.
  • Special Guest: The album features appearances by Raekwon, RZA, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Charlie Wilson, Big Sean, Cyhi the Prince, Swizz Beatz, Dwele, Nicki Minaj, T.I., Drake, Teyana Taylor, Common, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Fergie, Rihanna, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Elton John, MIA, Justin Vernon, Seal, Beyoncé, Kid Cudi, Mos Def, Santigold, Alicia Keys, Elly Jackson, Chris Rock and Tony Williams. Q-Tip, RZA, DJ Premier, Madlib and Pete Rock helped with the recording sessions.
  • Take That: In "Power", Kanye West references Barack Obama who called West a "jackass" for claiming that Taylor Swift hadn't won her award fairly during the MTV Awards.
    They say I'm the abomination of Obama's nation
    Fuck SNL and their whole cast
    Tell 'em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass
    More specifically, they can kiss my asshole
    I'm an asshole? You niggas got jokes