Finally, the reason I wanted to start this Millard with the Music Reviews column is here. Welcome back, Mr. West.
Did Kanye West’s “Donda” live up to the hype? How does it fare against Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy?” And what on Earth will I choose for a third album? Keep reading and find out.
Kanye West, “Donda” — August 29
This is the album that seemingly took forever to release. I swear it was supposed to be released a month ago — after Kanye West had his listening party of sorts in the Atlanta Falcons stadium. Nope. I thought it would be released immediately after his party at Soldier Field in his hometown of Chicago. Again, it was not.
It was interestingly released on a Sunday, which is very unusual, but Kanye West is an unusual person. Is it good? Not particularly.
There’s no songs that will get any radio airplay. A lot of the songs feel like filler just to pass the time. With 27 tracks and a total run time of 108 minutes, 49 seconds, it is the definition of a slog. I’m not trying to speak ill of religion, but ever since Kanye West went full tilt into his religious side, which you can hear fairly often in “Donda,” he hasn’t really been all that good. I don’t think Kanye’s fans want him to go down that religious route. They want the old Kanye back. While there’s a few slivers of him in “Donda,” what we get of vintage Kanye is not enough.
Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “Jail, Parts 1 and 2,” “Hurricane,” and “Jesus Lord, Parts 1 and 2.”
Scotty’s Score: 60/100.
Drake, “Certified Lover Boy” — September 3
Drake is quite a bit different from Kanye. For one, he sings a little more than his rival. With “Certified Lover Boy,” I feel like he uses his featured artists better than Kanye West does, with some of those featured artists being on both albums.
This album is kinda par for the course when it comes to Drake. There’s a couple of songs you’ll probably hear on the radio and maybe at a sporting event like a basketball game. Drake’s sense of humor shows through with some of these songs, and he has some lines that make me smile. As far as I’m concerned, this battle goes to the guy who the world first came to know from “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “Fair Trade,” “Way Too Sexy,” and “IMY2.”
Scotty’s Score: 80/100.
Halsey, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” — August 27
Halsey is easily one of my favorite female artists out there right now. “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” is her first album after the birth of her first child. It is produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame and Atticus Ross. Reznor and Ross have collaborated with each other a lot, most notably when they won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for “The Social Network.”
Halsey, who is commonly labeled as a pop artist, turns more to her pop-punk style that she exhibited with Machine Gun Kelly and yungblud in 2020. This album has a lot of different genre influences. It’s a little bit of a concept album, with themes of pregnancy and gender roles. I’ve loved Halsey’s music since the first time I heard it, and this album just proves to me how talented she is. She’s got probably my favorite female voice in music.
Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “Lilith,” “You asked for this,” and “honey.”
Scotty’s Score: 90/100.