Review: ‘Donda’ album, hit or miss


Courtesy of Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Kanye released ‘Donda’ on Aug. 29 reaching the top spot on Billboard’s 200 chart. TRL’s Eleanor Koehn says the album, “Overall, “Donda” had some really good, potentially classic songs” but some of them, “missed the mark.”

Kanye West released an album titled “Donda” on Aug. 29, which carries themes of his recent divorce, his mother’s death and West’s mental struggles. West is an award-winning rapper and self-proclaimed “lyrical genius.” The album took the top spot on Billboard’s 200 chart. It also broke Apple Music records, with 19 songs in the top 20 chart. With such highly praised and critically-acclaimed songs, my anticipation to listen to the album grew. 

Although I like some of West’s past hits such as “Gold Digger,” “ Heartless,” and “All of the Lights,” my Kanye expertise stops there. When the album first began, I was beyond confused at the prelude “Donda Chant.” The chant pays homage to West’s deceased mother, and the repetition of the name is in sync with his mom’s heartbeat as she died. This disturbing fact ultimately led to some of my other thoughts throughout the rest of the album. 

The album also has several notable featured guests, but these artists’ names were not displayed with the accompanying songs. Perhaps, West left out the names to allow the songs to speak for themselves or to gain the hype associated with the songs. A quick internet search told me that these artists included household names such as Kid Cudi, Marilyn Manson, Jay Z, Roddy Rich, Playboi Carti and The Weeknd.

The song “God Breathed” is an example of a song which was too slow, long and too monotonous for me to listen. The song was a total of five minutes and 33 seconds and was entirely too repetitive for the length. My attention span did not last past the first minute, and the random noises and humming in the background became white noise. 

Another song that had the same problem was “Jail,” ft. Marilyn Manson, mixing rock with the contemporary edge of West. This song had potential to be so much better, but it fell short for me yet again with repetition of the same line over and over. Even the songs with the most exciting featured artists were dull and boring. The problem with most of the songs is the length. Kanye’s album lasts a total of one hour and 47 minutes, longer than some films. Some of his songs were six minutes long, an unnecessary amount of time for the unvaried chords.

 Some of my favorite songs on the album captured the more lyrical and thoughtful voice of West. The song “Moon” featured the classic style of Kid Cudi. It was slow, but not monotonous like the previously mentioned songs. It had more of a chill vibe to it, which I really liked.

Another song that I enjoyed was “Praise God.” It had a classic Kanye rap style to it, one that could be attributed to hits such as “Monster” or “Power.” The rapping sounded as if it tumbled over every word, which was really enjoyable. I enjoyed the features in this song, which were Baby Keem and Travis Scott.

The best song on the entire album was “Hurricane.” Its guest artists were Lil Baby and The Weeknd, which created a powerful mix of rap and 80s electronic style. The first beat drop was amazing. It had some powerful harmonizing chords throughout it. It’s not only my belief that “Hurricane” was the best. It is currently rated the No. 1 song on West’s Spotify album. 

Overall, “Donda” had some really good, potentially classic songs. They had good choruses, mixed in with some big names in the rap game. However, other songs missed the mark for me. I believe the album was in some ways rushed, since Kanye produced massive hype around the album when he created listening parties. Many believe that the listening parties allowed Kanye to change his songs and listen to critics. But I think he wanted to create an internet buzz around it, and rushed his album to gain some publicity through social media. 

Rating: B+