The beginning of what exactly, BEP? A new sound? The hip-pop crew does wade more deeply into club music terrain here: Droning beats, sinewy synths and robo-vocals, not to mention the lack of anything that smacks of standalone smash hit (possible exception: "Do It Like This"), gives the album a long-playing dance groove feel. Perhaps this beginning is a philosophical reinvention? The new style blends the Peas together into a unified front rather than a group of individuals. BEP is almost unrecognizable, but it's exciting to see what will happen on this new journey.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy earns its title. Kanye combines deep melancholy and triumphant hubris into a stunningly intense experience, from the chiming handclaps of "Power" to the despair of "Blame Game." Brilliantly, Kanye couches these fantasies in a progressive hip-hop context, inviting Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and others to participate in the madness. The high price of materialism serves as a running theme. "This pimp is at the top of Mount Olympus," he says on "Gorgeous." But when he aspires to "jumping out the window" on "Power," one wonders if it's all worth it.