Misinformed Reviews #6: Sigur Ros – Kveezus

Kveezus Kveikur Yeezys

Sigur Ros has always been the most controversial group on the scene since their inception. These Icelandic post-rockers always seem to find themselves making headlines. Much of this is attributed to their admittedly arrogant and brash front man Jonsi (or as he likes to go by sometimes, Joonzy). Jonsi has been accused of everything from overtly sexual lyrics to paparazzi baiting. None of this is helped by the fact that he’s having a child with starlet Kim Deal Ashian. Whether he’s making controversial statements during broadcast relief efforts (“Jón Gnarr doesn’t care about Stekkjastaurs”) or stealing the spotlight from pop stars (“I am going to let you finish but Jakobínarína had one of the best music videos of all time!”), Jonsi has gone back and forth between being hated for his antics but considered a genius for his music.

jonsi and kim and kanye

The happy couple, Jonsi and Kim (aka Kimsi).

Now with the group’s latest effort, that divisive personality has taken over. Kveezus takes things to the next level. The title is either a combination of the Icelandic word for candlewick and Jesus, or even more likely a tribute to The Passion of the Christ lead actor Jim Caviezel. This deity imagery is strong within the album and strong within Jonsi’s attitude. The opening track “On Sighttenstein” kicks off with Jonsi singing in his sweet, dreamy falsetto “Joonzy season approachin, fuck whatever y’all beeennnnnyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAHHHHHHH hearin’.” It’s a bold statement but not even strongest on the whole album. The band collaborates with French group Daffy Punk to take a harder edge in the instrumentation that was lacking in their past works such as and “Late Ágætision.” Later in the song he rattles off lines like “no sports bra lets keep it fljótum.”

The sure to be most talked about track on the album is “I Am A God-dledigook (Featuring Guð).” Jonsi hushly and tenderly croons over bowed guitars and mallet played drums about how he is a man of Guð and to “hurry up with my damn crossiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuueeeeeeeeeeeIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIiaaant!” Pastry cravings aside, Jonsi is expressing his duality both in the hands of Guð and an equal to Guð.

“New Slavics” may sound familiar to those who keep up with music news, as the group debuted the song by projecting a video of Jonsi’s face crying onto buildings across the world while the track played in the background. It’s intentionally uncomfortable and unwatchable. Over the barrage of looped guitars Jonsi talks about his mother living in a time when television was not broadcast on Tuesdays in Iceland.”

Things get a bit saucy with the provocative “I’m Inni.” Some choice one-liners:

“”damn yo lips very SlEEEAAAAAAOOOOoooft””

“Eating Icelandic Þorramatur all I need is hrútspungar”

“Neck, ears, hands, eating Var”

“Your Takk… let ’em out, free at last.”

You’re Bound 2 find this album a must have this summer season. If anything, to admire the spectacle.

I’d give this 1 out of 1 deities. There can only be one, and Jonsi and co have established that they are it.

Previous Misinformed Review: The Knifes – Milkshaking the Habitual

Follow me on Twitter: @DustyEffinHenry

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Misinformed Reviews #5: The Knifes – Milkshaking the Habitual

The Knifes - Milkshaking the Habitual

Swedish duo The Knifes are back and more fun than ever! Grab your sunscreen because your gonna wanna be blasting this one while on the beach or cruisin in your Corvette convertible on the way to the mall.

The Knifes members are siblings (see also: The Proclaimers, Nelson, Mackymore & Paul Ryan, etc.). And like most cool European brothers and sisters, they like to party. This album comes off of the critical acclaim of Karin’s 2009 solo record “Sugar Ray.” So there was a lot of expectations with this album. The Knifes ended up creating this incredible concept record: “Milkshaking the Habitual.”

The album title is obviously an obscure reference to Kelis’ underground hit “Milkshake” – whom The Knifes have always cited as an influence. It shows on this album. The title is also a clear indicator of the style they’re going for. The songs are sugary sweet and creamy, just like a milkshake (YUM!). The tracklist is an onslaught of short and simple pop songs. Move over T. Swift, bcuz tha Knifes are here and you’re in TROUBLE.

Songs like “A Tooth for An Eye Candy” are reminiscent of Britney Spears’ “E-mail My Heart.” Hovering above all the cutesy crush canoodling is some higher thinking though. You could say that the album is tribute to decadence and commercialism. Think Kanye West but BIGGER. These swedes LOVE money and they’re not afraid to talk about it. Whether they’re name dropping name brands (like Marc Jacobs’ new “Fracking Fluid” line) or fashionable trends (like gender equality, so fetch) they are up on every that glitz. The Knifes love money and they simply cannot get enough of it. They just want more and more. The Knife portrays themselves as the capitalist dream realized and they are livin’ it up. Don’t worry about other things in life. If you’ve got money it’s alllllll goooood, they’d say.

Karin swoons with her hush baby-doll vocals on “Full of Flower.” She serenades “Sometimes I get problems that are hard to solve what’s your story?” over a chip-tune beat. Then her brother Olof comes in at the end with his super strong, powerful masculine vocals “lets talk about you and me.” “Old Dreamz Waitin’ 2 Cum True” is the obvz club banger here, though I think they could’ve added another verse or something. It goes by really fast. Can’t wait to hear “Raging Lung” at high school dances and wedding receptions this year.

In the spirit of the album, I’m going to give it $999,999 out of $1,000,000 (I only left out $1 to keep them motivated to make more – free market baby!!!). All in all, this is The Knifes most accessible work to date. It’s fun, spunky, and just a good time waiting to happen.

xOxO ~*~ThE kNiF3s 4LyFe~*~

Previous Misinformed Review: My Bloody Valentino – m p 3

Follow me on Twitter: @DustyEffinHenry

My Effin Lists: Top 10 Songs of 2012

EffinListsTop2012Sons

It was hard enough narrowing down the top albums of the year, but picking out the best songs is even worse. Since I got a bit wordy with my top albums posts (part 1 and part 2) I’m going to keep each review down to one sentence. Let’s see how this goes.

10. Kanye West & R. Kelly – To The World

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Yeezy describes this one best: “R. Kelly and the god of rap, shittin’ on ya HOLY CRAP.”

9. Jason Molina – Sad Hard Change

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Jason Molina uses home, lo-fi recording and the creakiness that comes with it to its full capacity of reflecting heartbreak.

8. Sharon Van Etten – Give Out

SharonVan

“Give Out” is the painful gulp you take before leaving something (or someone) you know is bad for you but with uncertainty if it’s the right thing to do.

7. The Men – Open Your Heart

TheMen

Sweaty basement thrashing takes a surprisingly melodic direction.


6. Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

FatherJohn

Funeral crashing is done better with crooner dance moves and electrifying reverb.

5. Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

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If ever there was a “motto” or mantra to describe how most of us want to live, Kendrick has coined it in this song.

4. Cloud Nothings – Wasted Days

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Epic thrashers don’t have to pointlessly meander to the point of boring; Cloud Nothings have revived the instrumental build-up.

3. Frank Ocean – Bad Religion

FrankOcean

Taxi cab confessions aren’t new, but Ocean’s insights on spirituality and love bring new school cool with old school sensibilities.

2. Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

Japandroids

LETS DRINK BEER AND CARPE DIEM BECAUSE WE ARE YOUNG AND THIS IS THE NEW ANTHEM FOR ALL OF US WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING.

1. Dum Dum Girls – Lord Knows

DumDumGirls

It’s easy to play the victim, but instead Dum Dum Girls take the perspective of the harmer and do so with a timeless melody and wistful instrumentals.

To see my whole list of top songs (not in order, organized to flow together the best) check out my Spotify playlist:

My Effin Lists: Top Albums of 2012 (Numbers 10 – 1)

EffinListsTop2012

Continuing from my last post, here are my top 10 albums of 2012.

10. Dum Dum Girls – Season In Hell

Though technically an EP, “End of Daze” has the richness and depth of a full length album. Dum Dum Girls have matured with this release. While past releases had their swirling guitars and surf-rock sensibilities, “End Of Daze” takes these ideas and gives them a sense of timelessness. The dream murmur in their cover of Strawberry Switchblades “Trees and Flowers” is a captivating haze that holds the listener in to here every breath and guitar strum. “Lord Knows” could be placed in any era and feel just as poignant. Dee Dee’s low crooning in the verses, rising to the chorus feels triumphant and crushing as she sings “Oh boy, I can’t hurt you any more.” “End of Daze” isn’t all about slow ballads, as it begins and end with  powerful rock tracks (“Mine Tonight” and “Season In Hell” respectively). Through all of its turmoil and desperation, the album ends on a somewhat hopeful note: “Lift up your gaze, it’s the end of daze.”

9. Naomi Punk – The Feeling

Naomi Punk’s “The Feeling” is right next Nirvana’s “Bleach” on my record shelf. While clearly a coincidence of alphabetization, it seems like appropriate placement. They group hails from Olympia – where Kurt Cobain spent much of his early Nirvana days digesting everything K Records. The band’s whole D.I.Y. aesthetic lines up the indie scene in the early 90s. The album sounds as if it was recorded in a basement. Guitars clash (there’s no bass) and vocals fight to be heard in the background. Bands like Best Coast have successfully imitated lo-fi Garage Rock production, but Naomi Punk lives it.

Until I actually picked up the record, I had no idea what he band was saying – another similarity with complaints Nirvana got when they first hit it big time. On “Burned Body” the vocalist (the members are virtually anonymous to the Internet) defines it best as he yells “All my words are so cryptic.” Once you get past the noise and can make out what the band is saying, it’s equally as brilliant and disturbed in simplicity. Like on the second to last track, “The Buzz,” :

“I wanna cut it out. I wanna rip it out. I wanna kill it now. I wanna feel a feeling.”

The group original released “The Feeling” on locally owned Couple Skate Records earlier this year before it was re-released on Captured Tracks. This band is moving fast but not compromising to be accessible.

8. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

I really have no desire to write a whole think-piece about Lana Del Rey (though I already tried once, along with every other music writer ever). Aside from the “misleading” vibes and cringe-worthy SNL performances, Del Rey put out what I think is an excellent pop record for the new decade. The dramatic string arrangements put against new-school hip hop beats creates the fantastical imagery of a “Marilyn Monroe has a baby with Kanye West, Read More On Page 2!” tabloid. Del Rey is making mainstream music that’s actually more interesting than any of the other songs on Top Hit Radio Stations. Listen to Justin Bieber’s “Girlfriend” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and put it against a song like “Born To Die” or “National Anthem” and tell me she’s not doing it better.

7. Wild Nothing – Nocturne

If Tanlines’ “Mixed Emotions” was 80s pop radio, “Nocturne” would be the album the “cool, misunderstood” kids would be blasting on their Walkman. Wild Nothing are writing songs in the vain of The Cure. Opener “Shadow” feels like an upbeat, summer car tune but with lyrics like “Oh why is your hate so addicting” you wouldn’t think it would be. Things don’t slow down much on this record. Jangles guitar parts and sustaining synth noise in the background makes the album feel bright and light. It’s feel good music for people who are comfortable with being sad.

6. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Getting past the hype is the hardest part of listening to “Channel Orange.” Frank Ocean is ending up on a lot of people’s lists and sometimes it’s hard to remember why. It’s not just because Frank Ocean is cool to like, it’s because the songwriting on this album is exceptional.

SPIN magazine recently had an article talking about how “Alt. R&B” was the trend of the year, citing Ocean as a prime example. I’d like to politely disagree. I think Ocean’s successes is less about him fronting a new genre and more so about him getting new people to listen to his genre. I’ve never really been much for R&B of the past couple decades – I found it cheesy and hard to relate to (sorry Ginuwine, I can’t connect with “If you’re horny, let’s do it. Ride it, my pony”). On “Channel Orange” Ocean tactfully discusses topics like faith and grappling with sexuality (“Forrest Gump”) but Ocean doesn’t turn his back on writing soulful love songs (“Thinkin About You”). “Bad Religion” is the emotional crux of the record, with Ocean pondering his beliefs against his sexuality in the back of a taxi. With some help from Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer, and Andre 3000, has created a masterful transition piece for newcomers to R&B.

5. DIIV – Oshin

It’s not surprising that DIIV and Wild Nothing share a label and have collaborated in the past (well, with Zachary Smith’s other project, Beach Fossils). DIIV merges the shimmer of Wild Nothing but with the brighter parts of the 90s grunge movement (Smith is a huge fan of Kurt Cobain). Each track on “Oshin” fades into the next seamlessly, like an endless summer.

“How Long Have You Known” is playful and sways with the iconic-feeling lead guitar melody. The stuttering guitar on “Earthboy” feels spacey but never gets too weird or inaccessible. The sound of the album flows back and forth like an ocean. It wouldn’t be surprising if DIIV tracks end up in summer sale commercials sometime in the future (with the inevitable lawsuit, if 2012 has proven anything to us). “Oshin’ is definitely a singular piece. While each song sounds fine on its own, something is lost when it tracks aren’t strong together as a pulsing, sonic experience.

4. Father John Misty – Fear Fun

How did this man stay behind the Fleet Foxes drum set for so long? I’ve been listening to J. Tillman’s solo material for several years now. His albums always felt like nice companions to the Fleet Foxes records but, to be honest, I was never completely captivated. With Fleet Foxes behind him and a new name (Father John Misty), Tillman has finally delivered his most authentic and engaging work yet.

Tillman is a hilarious person. All of his interviews render on the ridiculous side of things. Instead of doing another mopey singer-songwriter album, he decided to write something that is just as ridiculous, sarcastic, and absurd as he is. The folk-rock genre has been taking itself too seriously for too long. The music is performed exceptionally but does not break new ground – Tillman does that with his lyrics instead. Not since Weird Al Yankovic has wit and humor in songwriting been so impactful (only partially kidding). In just the first few lines of “I’m Writing A Novel,” we get this gem:

“I ran down the road, pants down to my knees
Screaming ‘please come help me, that Canadian shaman gave a little too much to me!’
And I’m writing a novel because it’s never been done before”

He’s equal parts cynical and surrealist. Self-referential writing in music is usually few and far between, but at the end of “Every Man Needs a Companion,” the album closer, it feels particularly important to giving the album the proper context.

“Joseph Campbell and The Rolling Stones
Couldn’t give me a myth
So I had to write my own
Like I’m hung up on religion
Though I know it’s a waste
I never liked the name Joshua
I got tired of J”

3. The Men – Open Your Heart

Metz may have done punk and garage the loudest this year, but The Men did it the grimiest. “Open Your Heart.” The blend of country and garage rock just sets the tone for getting in trouble. The Men are carrying the torch for 80s punk bands like the Buzzcocks; rough and misunderstood by the current music climate. Nothing on “Open Your Heart” feels polished up. Listening to this album feels like being at a sweaty basement show where the band is screaming five feet away from you and diving into the crowd.

The first two songs, “Turn It Around” and “Animal,” set the stage with screams and muddy distortion. Then there’s the dramatic shift with the third track “Country Song,” which is an extended, slow trudging, instrumental with western overtones. Songs like this show that the band is not just about playing loud and goofing off. They’re listening to those same psychedelic albums Tame Impala is, but reinterpreting it through a greasy lens.

The title track “Open Your Heart” encapsulates the feeling brewing throughout the record. Optimistic through all the shit. Mark Perro doesn’t have a perfect and clean voice, but it feels so real and authentic that you want to shriek and yell with him. Still though, even though the album focuses on distortion and pummeling drums, I keep finding myself coming back to the acoustic driven track “Candy.” Hearing Perro sing “when I hear the radio play I don’t care that it’s not me” on the song feels so relevant to what the band is about. They’ve come to terms with not getting Top 40 success. The Men is about playing the music they want to and giving the middle finger to consistency.

2. Japandroids – Celebration Rock

If you start and end your album with the sounds of fireworks, you better be able to back it up.

Japandroid’s sophomore album “Celebration Rock” is the soundtrack of teen years gone, not knowing what’s coming next, and not giving a shit about any of that because tonight we’re going to fucking party. It’s not very surprising that I’ve found myself and friends around my age all resonating with this album. Most of us don’t know what we’re going to be doing next, but sometimes we just don’t want to think about that. We’re all young, so why can’t we just be okay with that and worry about the rest later on? It’s incredibly nostalgic. Even the sound of the album sounds like something I’d hear on the radio when I was a kid – big drums and even bigger guitars and shouting.

Brian King doesn’t change up his guitar effects to much throughout the record, but that only adds to the urgency of the eight track album. King and drummer David Prowse opted to record this album live in the studio as opposed to multi-tracking and doing overdubs like they did on their first album, “Post-Nothing.” The difference between these two records is incredible and most if it can be cited back to that production choice.

“Celebration Rock” is full of “Oh Oh Oh Ooooooh!” chants and King more-so shouts than sings most of the time. Japandroids are able to deliver lines that might otherwise be thought of as heavy handed and make them endearing and organic. Listening to “The House That Heaven Built” is better than any sort of motivational seminar.

“When they love you, and they will
Tell ’em all they’ll love in my shadow
And if they try to slow you down
Tell ’em all to go to hell”

Japandroids is affirmation that it’s not uncommon to be unsure of what you want to do next. For a generation facing horrendous employment rates, that’s crucial. Until then, we’re drinking.

1. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

In 2012 Dylan Baldi turned away for his pop-punk solo  past and came out as the tortured front man of a slaughtering indie punk band.

Cloud Nothings releasing “Attack On Memory” was an incredible shock. Listening to their past material seems to provide very little clues that Baldi would make this drastic of a change in his music. Whereas before he seemed to worship at the temple of Rivers Cuomo, he now burns sage at the altar of Frank Black. Lo-fi bedroom pop-rock snippets have become Steve Albini produced guitar epics. This time around, Baldi recorded live in the studio with his band instead of by himself. Good move.

“Wasted Days” has one of the most erupting breakdowns in a rock song in 2012 (or in the past few years, for that matter). Droning on a single note for minutes can be boring, but Cloud Nothings use it tactfully to heighten the anticipation for the final repetitions of Baldi yelling “I thought I would be more than this.” Then on just the next song, we get the less doom-centered side of Baldi with the foot-tapping, rattling “Fall In.”

“Stay Useless” covers similar ground as Japandroids, but with only a few “ohhh ohhs” this time. Baldi is more desperate in his please than Japandroids’ hopeless romanticism.

“I need time to stop moving. I need time to stay useless.”

What sets “Attack On Memory” above the rest of the garage/punk albums in 2012 was its balance of grit, melody, and noise. All the factors felt incredibly balanced. It’s not an optimistic album, but it feels realistic. Even at 20 years old, Baldi knows how to vent his frustration in a relateable way and does so with annihilating guitar barrages.

On the final track “Cut You,” Baldi shows us just how twisted he is. As he mourns an ex moving on, he laments how her new lover is not as screwed up as him. On the surface, it’s sort of a disgusting song. He pleads “Does he hurt you like I do?” “like it would be a bad thing if her new boyfriend wasn’t abusive. He portrays a sense of entitlement with “I need to know, I deserve to know.” But stepping back, I can’t say that I haven’t felt he does in this song – mainly in my weakest and most regrettable moments. Its uncomfortable to hear because it’s so close to what we try to hide. In the end he confesses “I miss you cause I like damange, I need something I can hurt.” Making a revelation like that is the mark of an excellent songwriter.

Word is Cloud Nothings are working on a new album 2013 that’s going to be even noisier. If they keep with this direction and trajectory, this young band has the chance to really help propel the new punk-revival.

Honorable Mentions

Silicon Girls – Rana

Swans – The Seer

Mac Demarco – 2

Beach House – Bloom

Moon Duo – Circles

Death Grips – The Money Store

Jason Molina – Autumn Bird Songs

ExitMusic – Passage

Silversun Pickups – Neck of the Woods

Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

Lemolo – The Kaleidoscope

Stagnant Pools – Temporary Room

Pinback – Information Retrieved

Balmorhea – Stranger

Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

Jack White – Blunderbuss

Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Response

G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer

Misinformed Reviews: Top 10 of 2012

There are a lot of albums that came out this year and I listened to every single one (literally, every album). So that means this is the only blog with authorities on which ones where the best. Read my list and buy them and then give me a portion of the proceeds.

10. Tyler, the Ocean – Chanel ORANGES

ChanelOrange

This is the first release by the singing guy member from Of Future and it’s the best album of the year, but only number 10 on my list. There’s a song where he imagine Miss Khleo as a stripper on the eleven-minute song “Pentagrams.” He also has a song about Tom Hanks and that made me smile big, it’s called “Thinkin’ Bout You.”

9. Bleach Horse – Broom

BeachHoesBroom

i did not listen to this album

8. Maggimore and Paul Ryan – The Heist

macymore

Like I said in my previous review, it’s good that rap music is actually real now. This albums makes people actually use iTunes again. Wow.

7. Deadmaufive – [this is the title of the album]

deadmaufive

This is probably Skrillex’s best album. I cannot believe it. It really proves that REAL dubstep is from America and that stupid British wannabes should not jack our style. I like the bass drops. MOMPMOMPMOMPMOMP

6. Mumford’s Son – Bubble

mumfbubble

Once upon a time Adult-Contemporary music was in a happy stable relationship with smooth jazz but then on one drunken night she slept with Folk-Rock. Adult-Contemporary conceived. When Smooth Jazz found out, he was livid and packed up all of his things and left, leaving Adult-Contemporary to fend for herself in the cruel dark world. Folk-Rock wanted nothing to do with the child even though the child had his indistinguishable eyes. Adult-Contemporary tried to get by working part-time shifts at coffee houses but always seemed behind on the bills. Her child was left by itself most of the time, being raised by daytime T.V. and the slew of unemployed suitors Adult Contemporary would bring home. As the child grew older it began to feel uncomfortable with its place in the world and inability to help provide for its mother. The child got a job, working in a mine, working working class word, immersed in the folk music tradition. It worked until its hands were raw and covered in dirt. After its first hard earned pay check, it bought this album.

5. Konnie West Presents G.O.D. MUSIC – Cruel Simmer

GODMusic

Apparently Konnie and his friends are gods, they say so on the song “new Gods, yo.” I don’t think they would lie so I guess we’re forced to accept this and God’s deserve to be atleast in the top 5. We learn to appreciate their “Mercy” for us, they could drag and drop us in the recycle bin with a “Click.” Cool music for good times.

4. JAY-Z – Decoded

jay_z_decoded_400_500

Hova, who is part of Konnie’s G.O.D. Squad Music, made an album with words and paper. That is revolutionary. He is the next Nirvana.

3. JapanRobots – Celebrating Rick

Japanrobots

An emotional tribute to Rick Ross by two Canadian boys with American hearts. Sounds like “The House That Rick Built” and “Younger Ross” and “The Night of Wine and Roses and Rick Ross” are all very descriptive. A+ for effort.

2. Dirty Project Managers – Swinging Low-Magic

dirtyprojectmanager

Turns out, it’s really hard to be artsy so the Dirty Project Managers make weird sounds with their voices. Great steps forward for Indian-Rock.

1. A Dell- Twenty-fun.

A Dell Twenty fun

There’s no doubt that 2012 was A Dell’s year. Her songs were really good. I mean, “Twenty-fun.” even won the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year! Do you need more convincing? Her adorable song about crushes (“Someone Likes You”), the empowering and exploiting depiction of her celebrity love affair (“Rolling All Over Depp”), and even the witchcraft song about lighting rain on fire; they’re all good songs. I’m excited to see where Adile goes on her next album but this one was good too.

55378008 (put this in your calculator and turn it upside down ;0) )

My (Not So Real) Afternoon With Kanye West

Me and Kanye West, just chillin.

As I was listening to Kanye West the other day, I couldn’t help but think what it might be like to have a casual conversation with him. Not an interview, but just superficial interaction. This is how I think it would go:

It’s a crisp Autumn afternoon as I sit waiting at El Diablo Coffee in Upper Queen Anne. I sit a table by the window, checking my phone every few minutes to pass the time while I wait. It’s not everyday that you have coffee with Kanye West. He happened to be passing through Seattle today and a mutual friend of ours (who asked specifically to remain anonymous) thought we might get along so he gave Yeezy my e-mail and we scheduled this meeting. He happened to have no gigs planner or parties to hit up while he was here, so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.

The door swings open and who should it be but Mr. West himself. He looks around the room briefly, trying to spot me out. I wave to him and get out of my seat to greet him.

“Hey there. I’m Dusty,” I say.

“Very nice to meet you. I’m Kanye.” he says.

We take his satchel over to the coffee table to reserve our spot and then go over to the counter to order drinks. We wait in line for a moment.

“This is a pretty vibrant looking coffee shop,” he says.

“Yeah, it definitely has a lot of flair to it,” I say. “I thought you might like it. It definitely stands out from the rest.”

He laughs. “Ha, well looks like someone did their homework on me.”

Seriously, try and convince me this doesn’t look like his next album art.

We both share a chuckle for a moment as we finally reach the cashier. He orders a grande Americano and I order a Mexican Hot Chocolate. I try to pay but he insists, since I am sort of hosting him by showing him the area. I feel a little guilty, but in the end I am a gentleman and accept his offer graciously. The whirs and clanks of the coffee machine are loud next to us as we wait for our beverages. I can see Kanye tapping his hand against his leg, as if the sounds are giving him inspiration for a new beat. We grab our drinks and go sit down at our table.

Kanye gingerly takes a sip of his Americana.

“That’s a damn good Americano,” Kanye says.

“Yeah, this place is pretty great,” I say.

“Best coffee shop I’ve ever been to. I’ll have to remember to buy it later,” he says. We laugh, but I’m not sure how much joking was going on there.

“So our friend tells me your a musician yourself too,” Kanye says before taking another sip.

“Eh, I guess so. I play in a folk-rock, alt-country band,” I say. “We’re still small but it’s pretty fun.”

“Alternative country, huh? I love that shit,” he says. “I’ve actually been working on a side project of that genre for awhile now. Been keeping it pretty under wraps till the right moment.” He looks around the room quickly, then back to me. “I’ll show you a quick clip if you promise to keep it on the down-low.”

I agree and he pulls out his iPhone. Though he seemed initially worried about others hearing before, he plays it through the speakers. It’s a bit hard to hear, but I’m able to discern a distinct twang reminiscent of Ryan Adams or possibly the Avett Brothers. Kanye’s voice fits surprisingly well in this manner.

“No one man should have all the power…”

“This is really good stuff, Kanye.” I say.

“Please, just call me Yeezy,” he says. “Do you really think that or are you just saying that to be polite?”

“No, I really like it. It reminds me of Whiskeytown meets Wilco but with a more 70s influence.”

“That’s exactly what I’m going for! You’ve got a great ear.”

“Well it’s a great track! All I had to do was listen to it, you created it.”

We talk a little bit about alternative country and artists from other genres that we like. We both have a mutual appreciation for The Notorious B.I.G. and a mutual dislike for Taylor Swift. It helps ease the conversation quite a bit and gets us more comfortable with each other. When in a conversation with someone new, it’s always the best bet to go with any common denominator.

As we finish our drinks I ask Yeezy if he’s ever heard of Kerry Park. He hadn’t. So I insist that we simply must go check it out. It would be positively criminal if we didn’t. We get up from our seats, I open the door for him, and we step out onto Queen Anne Avenue. The weather is perfect. Cool enough to wear a light jacket, but warm enough to not need it.

We keep talking as we’re walking.

“So, how are things with your love life?” I ask. He smirks a bit and looks down at his feet.

“You know, it’s funny,” he says. “As a rapper, I’m expected to be all about gettin’ hoes and having orgies and whatnot; and I have done a lot of that, but right now I’m pursuing a girl that is different.”

“How so?”

“Well, she’s just not the typical girl I’d go for. She’s reserved, very quiet. She’s very pretty but not some bootylicious superstar model. She’s just…nice.”

“Well that sounds like it might be good for you; tone things down a bit.”

“Yeah, I think so too…what about you? You mentioned a girlfriend earlier.”

“Yeah, Kristin’s great. I’m really happy with her. We complement each other perfectly”

“Yeah man, that’s what I’m lookin’ for right there.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

Who will survive in Seattle?

We finally reach Kerry Park and witness one of the most amazing views my city has to offer. As Yeezy stands looking out over the skyline, I can almost read his thoughts: “I run this shit.”

“This is incredible,” he says. “Thank you for showing me this, Dusty.”

“Hey, it’s no problem at all,” I say. “Everyone should see this view at least once.”

I see Kanye wipe his eyes, possibly from tears but it’s hard to tell from the angle and the sunlight.

“I’ve had a great time today, but I have to meet up with our friend at the airport soon,” Kanye says softly.

“Definitely, I understand. Let’s get you back and ready to go.”

I turn to start walking back to Queen Anne Ave but I am stopped by Kanye grabbing me by the shoulder and turning me around. He looks me straight in the eye.

“Dusty. I hope to some day be half the man you have become before my eyes today.”

And with that, he vanishes in a brilliant flash of light. If I listen closely, I can almost hear the flute hook from “Jesus Walks” faintly playing in the background.