Here we are again. As promised, Kanye West returned Friday night with another free MP3, and after a few weeks of the highest-profile collaborations (Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj… Bon Iver!), West goes this one alone. “Devil In A New Dress,” though, is the first new Kanye song — in this late Summer of West — to feel like a sketch, unfinished. Which is not to say we are ungrateful!
It is interesting, however, that after a string of beautifully chaotic, over-layered, high concept records, West at his most basic — atop a simple soul beat, courtesy of Bink! — is also his most unpolished. It’s the Kanye of “Last Call” and “Everything I Am,” but the sample is too loud, the ending abrupt and premature.
Still, “Devil” is warm and casual, with the crackle of a record and West’s half-hum/sing; it’s just not an event. There’s no denying that West has set quite a bar for himself these past few weeks — if not of quality, then at least impact — but on some level it’s equally exciting to be let in early and see an artist work. It’s a process.
If nothing else, the song is an appropriate introduction to Saturday morning’s monologue on ego (played out, like hoodies), Twitter’s creators (Biz Stone and Evan Williams) and a certain “lil girl with dreams” (guess who). Preach.
Download: “Devil In A New Dress”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 4, 2010