Yesterday marked the official release of the highly anticipated, been-leaked-for-days, Kanye West–led G.O.O.D Music collective album Cruel Summer.
It's not bad.
Saying that about most albums is grounds for celebration. Singles can be good, but few albums really stand out as "not bad," with the rare few deserving the honor of being called "good." Kanye West is one of those artists who has dwelled in the elevated realm that is "great," a world unknown to most, since he began releasing albums in 2004. So to have anything associated with his name described as "not bad" is a bit of shocker.
But where did it go wrong? How can an album with five of the more notable rap songs of 2012 ("New God Flow," "Clique," "Cold," "I Don't Like (Remix)," and "Mercy," with the latter serving as the song of the summer, and arguably the year) be such a letdown? Is it musically a disappointment or is this just a byproduct of the high expectations that we have for anything Kanye West is attached to?
Amanda Bynes is the latest former child star to implode this summer, following fellow Valley girl Kristen Stewart's cheating meltdown and the perennially imploding Lindsay Lohan's latest mishap with the Chateau Marmont. Bynes has been charged for two hit-and-runs, one of which involved sideswiping a police car and then bizarrely asking President Obama to pardon her over Twitter. I started following Bynes on Twitter a few years ago, surprised to find out that an actress I had always assumed was sort of down-to-earth and tomboyish based on her onscreen image was actually a party girl prone to posting a million duck-faced self-takes and inspirational quotes about love.
Earlier in the month it was announced that Hollywood fauxteur/stubble enthusiast Brett Ratner would take on producing duties for the upcoming Academy Awards. This week came word that schticky Yankees fan Billy Crystal was interested in returning to the hosting job he abandoned eight years ago. For anyone who confidently assumed the Oscars could get no worse than this past year’s Franco-phile disaster, the following text messages — hacked using British ingenuity from Ratner’s iPhone — should lower your expectations well below sea level.