We all shared restless feelings in 2016 — watching the news, waiting for the next disaster. The small moments, the ones where we could press play and forget everything else, felt a little more romantic. In general, the music we heard this year matched our restlessness. Faced with the world around them, artists turned inward and created masterpieces.
This lesson in what makes The Beatles’ White Album great helps inform a critical look at The Life of Pablo, the most recent outing by Kanye West. The two albums are not unfamiliar. Think about their contentious releases, their vexing run times. Think about the music itself. We see history repeat itself, an artist’s reality affecting the product they create.