Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Alice Ivy – Kanye West, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ (2010)
Dear My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,
C/O Mr Kanye West
“Can we get much higher?” Happy 10th birthday! Just writing to express my gratitude for this masterpiece of a record. When My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came out back in 2010 I was still in high school. I can remember at the time all of my friends were getting their driver’s licenses and this record soundtracked a LOT of car rides. At the time I was obsessed with you, but I never really looked at you from a production point of view, I just fell in love with the songs.
As I’ve matured as a musician and producer, I’ve come to realise just how ahead of your time you were. How you paved the way for pop music. You’re a rule breaker and that’s what I love so damn much about you. Even today, I can’t name another record that crosses genres so subtly, from hip-hop to disco to stadium rock, all blended effortlessly. Even 10 years on I can’t recall another album that’s come close.
The greatest influence you’ve have had on my career as a music producer is your wonderful collaborations. You’re so feature-heavy, it’s as though Kanye literally called upon the most diverse, talented names in the music of the day to come and feature on you. When listening to a song like, ‘Monster’, I get the impression that the feature artists on this album were pushed as hard as Kanye pushes the boundaries of pop songwriting. Can we take a moment to acknowledge Nicki Minaj’s verse on ‘Monster’? I personally don’t think there’s ever been a better feature verse on a song. You got the absolute best out of your collaborators and that’s something that I try to take into every writing session.
I was blessed to be able to work with Andrew Dawson, a producer who worked on this album last year. He told me that when Kanye made you, he rented out a house in Hawaii for months and invited collaborators to come through and record their songs. I LOVE this way of collaborating, no wonder everyone sounds like they’re one big family on this record. That’s how collaborative music should always be written!
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, you are in my mind, a masterpiece, textured enough to be still revealing little gems 50 listens later and bewitching enough to keep me coming back for more. Pure Genius.