I pre-ordered "Watch the Throne" a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of listening to "Otis" by Kanye West and Jay Z immediately and loved it. I mean who doesn't enjoy "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding? It's a great sample.
This morning the rest of the Watch the Throne album was available for download. Best commute music ever!I've only had a chance to hear the whole album in full, once. (It does have 15 songs all around 5 minutes, sometimes longer.) So far, I'm enjoying No Church in the Wild and Welcome to the Jungle a lot. There seem to be wonderful messages in Murder to Excellence and Made in America, that do not exactly apply to me, but are hopefully inspirational to today's youth.
Here are some of the reviews:
From L.A. Times, "The album's highlight, and an instant classic, is “Made in America,” a solid, slow-paced Frank Ocean-teamed jam about the American dream that reveals the main difference between West and Jay-Z: humility. Above a weirdly magnetic synthetic beat and dots of pretty piano clusters crafted by producer Sak Pace of the Jugganauts, Ocean begins by gently listing a string of saints — “sweet king Martin, sweet queen Coretta, sweet king Malcolm ... sweet baby Jesus” among them, and West offers a verse that starts off humble, but by the end he's bragging about his power and slamming his critics — while Ocean sings “We made it in America.” In contrast, Jay offers a tender, descriptive recollection of his family life: “I pledge allegiance to my Grandma/For that banana pudding, our piece of Americana” From there he commits to building a family, not to shoving fistfuls of money in doubters' faces. Jay's perspective tethers West throughout the album, even if both constantly describe their good fortune in ways that would furrow Mother Teresa's brow.
The result is a cocksure, fiery, smart, if problematic, collaboration that showcases the pair's distinct lyrical skills, their way around a metaphor and an ability to execute both a grand narrative and the details that turn it into truth. Musically, the production is captivating — especially West and RZA's odd, syrupy beat on “New Day”..."
However, Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot noted a "sometimes difficult partnership" and criticized Jay-Z's and West's "self-regard" in their lyrics, stating "they urge listeners to 'watch the throne,' and gaze in awe on their good fortune."[source]
I agree with the Reuters review, "If nothing else, the contest for Year’s Most Quotable Album has just been decided." Also the Reuters review was quite informative, " it took a village to raise this “Throne,” not just the two titans. There’s nary a dull moment on an album that features not just West’s ongoing sense of sonic brilliance but production contributions from Swizz Beats, Q-Tip, and RZA, among others; vocal cameos by Kid Cudi, Seal, and an opera singer or two; and cleverly utilized samples by everyone from Nina Simone to Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera."
I totally dig the wordplay, but this is music for people who enjoy hip-hop. This is not for my mom. If you like 90s underground hip hop, like De La Soul, and current Kanye, you will like this album.