Yeezus is at its best during moments that closely resemble 808's and Heartbreak, though it would be hard to imagine anything here really showing up on that album. Still, “Hold My Liquor” is the softest moment on the album, and Justin Vernon and Chief Keef offer their singing services to help give it that woozy, drunk at four in the morning about to pass out feeling the title would suggest. Keef is confined to an auto-tuned hook that's not too far from the more left-field material on last year's Finally Rich, and Kanye offers an emotional verse that's presumably about his struggle with Kim's friends and family not approving of him (“Then her auntie came over/Skinny bitch with no shoulders/Tellin you that I'm bogus/Bitch you don't even know us”). It's another one of those rare moments where Kanye lets his human side show, but the song really hits its stride after a breathtaking bridge from Justin Vernon makes way into a noisy, guitar-led outro. Just two tracks later, “Blood On The Leaves” starts as an auto-tune ballad with a melody that resembles “Heartless,” and Kanye flips TNGHT's “R U Ready” and Nina Simone's cover of “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday into a blistering, gripping tale of a love gone wrong. It's one of the best songs of Kanye's career, and a testament to his ability to turn samples into something both unique and emotionally captivating.
Completely agree with all this. "Blood" and "Can't" are my two favorite songs on this, especially "Blood." Unreal.
Fantastic, fantastic review that really delves into everything unique about this record as well as ties in old elements and general comments about Kanye. Highly enjoyable.