The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
Critic Score
Based on 36 reviews
2016 Ratings: #212 / 987
Year End Rank: #6
User Score
2016 Ratings: #21
Liked by 1094 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Pretty Much Amazing

Pablo may come just shy of being his greatest achievement (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy holds onto that distinction), but it’s the grandest distillation of West’s world-swallowing artistic vision, a sum of its superlative elder siblings.

100
NOW Magazine

Most pop stars are content with a me-against-the-world mentality, but The Life Of Pablo posits a mantra more like me-against-myself, expressed as a mainline rush of gospel, rap, soul, house, noise and pop, and full of digressions into the highest highs and lowest lows.

100
A.V. Club

It feels far different from any of the tightly constructed, singular works of West’s past, and from a sonic standpoint, it sounds almost like a greatest-hits collection of nearly every sound and musical idea that he’s cultivated up to this moment.

90
Pitchfork

A madcap sense of humor animates all his best work, and The Life of Pablo has a freewheeling energy that is infectious and unique to his discography. Somehow, it comes off as both his most labored-over and unfinished album, full of asterisks and corrections and footnotes.

90
Rolling Stone

It's a labored-over opus that wishes it were a mixtape, trying hard to curate the vibe of a sprawling mess, and that's because it's made by an artist who feels like a mess and doesn't care to hide it.

90
FasterLouder

If The Life of Pablo is about anything, it’s about the absurdity of being Kanye West.

89
Northern Transmissions

The Life of Pablo is an album that needs no introduction.

86
HipHopDX

Pablo could easily be confused for a collaborative album. It’s as if Ye said, “OK, ya’ll tired of hearing me rant? Well listen to how dope the rest of your favorite artists sound when Kanye is conducting.”

85
The 405

After seven manic albums attempting to prove his perfection, Kanye is seeking penance on The Life Of Pablo. Here, he delivers 18 heavenly hymns. It's everything else that needs forgiving.

84
Sputnikmusic

In its utter madness it somehow forms a coherent picture of Yeezy’s unhinged genius.

83
Entertainment Weekly

A right-now snapshot of a restless, neurotic artist’s ever-evolving psyche. Like the man himself, the album is emotional, explosive, unpredictable, and undeniably thrilling.

80
The Needle Drop

Kanye West's experimental opus.

80
FLOOD Magazine

A mighty weird “gospel album” wallowing in contradiction, a collection of music that acts as if music itself couldn’t have possibly existed before it.

80
Crack Magazine

The Life Of Pablo is a frustrating but undeniably engaging listen – dazzlingly unpredictable and fleshed out with enough strokes of radiance for us to follow Pablo’s lead and keep the faith.

80
DIY

A genius - and yes, perhaps a little bit crazy - with an attention to detail like no other, no matter what might slip from his grasp, Kanye West is in full control of every atom of ’The Life Of Pablo’. 

80
XXL

T.L.O.P. does the perfect job of showcasing what makes Kanye brilliant — excellent production mixed with creative samples and his Quincy Jones-esque ability to get the best work out of some of music’s most talented artists.

80
Slant Magazine
Kanye is the rare artist who can turn a cry for attention into something more: a distillation of his artistic output to date that’s quintessentially Kanye, whether you like him or not.
80
Drowned in Sound

Our political leaders may no longer present themselves as gods, but our rappers do. The Life of Pablo proves that sometimes they give us our Taj Mahals too.

80
Spin

As glacially paced, mood-enhancing music, Pablo is a hypnotic slam-dunk and this reviewer will be among those first online if an all-instrumental edition finally surfaces on Vocaroo, because over the long haul ‘Ye the MC here proves as elusive as the proverbial Cheshire Cat.

80
NME
More an obscure self-portrait than a Picasso masterpiece, ‘The Life Of Pablo’ retains its author’s status as the most interesting man in music. But he makes it seem like harder work than the effortlessness we’re used to.
70
The Sydney Morning Herald
The provocative polymath counts fashion as his chief creative focus these days, and it shows on his new, inward-looking album.
70
God Is in the TV
‘The Life of Pablo’ is a perfect summation of where West is in his career and life right now – it’s varied and certainly not consistent, but even at its lowest ebb there’s a talking point. He might talk a lot of shit but at least he’s good at what he does.
70
Exclaim!

It remains a modern gospel that is undeniably West's own, with a handful of vexatious moments peppered throughout the undeniably visionary ones.

70
AllMusic

The other way to look at the erratic Pablo is as an "instant" LP, one that was mastered at the last minute and debuted via streaming. On that count, it's a fascinating, magazine-like experience with plenty of reasons to give it a free play.

70
Paste

The Life of Pablo is a fucking mess—the scattered, contradictory work of an icon straining to keep up with his own brilliant pace.

70
The Line of Best Fit

The Life Of Pablo isn’t the greatest album of ‘life’, ever, or even the best album of Kanye’s career. But at times he’s still the most adventurous artist of his generation. And the most frustrating.

60
The Skinny

West wants everything, equally we expect everything, so the result is exhilarating in its instability. The Life Of Pablo is bursting at the seams with ideas and talking points.

60
The Telegraph

It is so self-involved it crosses over into self-delusion, marked by such a tangible absence of perspective and objectivity it is as if he has actually lost sight of the elemental basics of his art.

60
Tiny Mix Tapes

“No, art is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.”

60
Spectrum Culture

The album is almost workmanlike, a reflection of the artistic process of its creator rather than a grand statement of intent.

60
Mojo

For a rapper who has excelled in redefining the artform, The Life Of Pablo is a sprawling, uneven and curiously unfinished sounding affair with a dearth of recognisable bangers.

60
Albumism

Sonically, at least, Pablo delivers and impresses throughout. Lyrically and thematically, the album is a wayward, rambling, and all-around incoherent mess, with only a handful of revelatory moments.

60
The Guardian

When The Life of Pablo is good, it’s very good indeed. What it isn’t is consistent. Perhaps it’s the sound of a man over-reaching himself. Perhaps it’s a document of a mind coming increasingly unglued.

58
Consequence of Sound

Pablo’s failures are not the result of a single narrative, but in the attempted combination of all the narratives of his life. It’s the result of attention spread too many places, of perfectionism turned to over-tinkering, of an artist pushing himself to hit a self-imposed deadline, of working in the limelight rather than in the shadows.

55
Under The Radar

The ultimate feel of the record is more like a mixtape than a completed album, and while the former would be interesting and welcome, as the latter The Life of Pablo is a crushing disappointment.

50
PopMatters

Sure, The Life of Pablo‘s obscurities and eccentricities make it ripe for endless dissection by West’s fans and followers, but make no mistake: this albums is flawed, it’s problematic, and most of all, it’s no masterpiece.

BradTasteMusic
88

This has some of the best songs Kanye has ever created on it... but it is way too inconsistent and it is a chore to make it through this album

(Edit: original score 55) hahahaha holy shit I get it. This album is genius. It all makes sense you plebs!

Edit 2: The concept of this album is tough to pick up on first listen... or even first 10 or so listens... but it’s absolutely genius.

exception
83

EDIT OF FINAL EDIT: I love Kanye

FINAL EDIT: uninspired and nothing new from kanye. i like it, but cant say its a hit anymore. very high highs, and very low lows.

EDIT: reading my original review made me cringe. 2 months after the release of this LP, i have some change of opinion. i still love this album. i think it's great, and will likely be one of my favorites of 2016. but the flaws are so apparent to me now. yes, the new mix definitely did tlop justice, however that doesnt change ... read more

morningsbell
93

It's KKB, let's go!
走って登って撃って跳んで
Tomb Raider になりたいんだ
かっこ良くて強くて
憧れなんだ Tomb Raider
Windows 98, remember those days?
夢中になって遊んだ every day
誰にも負けない諦めない
自分に誓ったあのころ never fades
Time warp! I'm 22 years old
大人の世界に change over
秘境で嘘つき駆け引き for money
Hard to keep up always stopping me but
忘れない逃げない絶対
あのころ自分 ... read more

HoustonTexas156
70

Best: Ultralight Beam
Worst: Silver Surfer Intermission

AchilleBarsacc
84

Some track are very weak, but generally is a very good album

perhaps
86

redacted

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Track List

1Ultralight Beam
5:20
94
2Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1
2:15
93
3Pt. 2
2:10
80
4Famous
3:16
92
5Feedback
2:27
84
6Low Lights
2:11
71
7Highlights
3:19
79
8Freestyle 4
2:03
75
9I Love Kanye
0:44
84
10Waves
3:01
90
11FML
3:56
91
12Real Friends
4:11
91
13Wolves
5:01
90
14Frank's Track
0:38
83
15Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission
0:56
64
1630 Hours
5:23
88
17No More Parties in L.A.
6:14
96
18Facts (Charlie Heat Version)
3:20
81
19Fade
3:13
83
20Saint Pablo
6:20
96
Total Length: 1 hour, 5 minutes
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Added on: January 8, 2016