When I think about Jesus Is King, Kanye West‘s new gospel-tinged album, I’m not left with the impression that it’s ‘good’ so much as it is ‘compelling’. Hearing pop culture’s most self-aggrandising figure squeeze his psyche into praise music, which exalts someone else by definition, is strange. Throwaway lines about his range of shoes and an enormous tax bill, nestled between choral lines which could shake the gates of Heaven, only add to the weirdness.
But, as we must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, we must render unto Yeezy what is Yeezy’s: the guy knows how to build an aesthetic, no matter how ideologically muddled it may be.
The new clip for Closed On Sunday, released this morning, showcases the latter-day Wests at their most cult-like. A legion of off-roaders charging through Wyoming wilderness feels like something straight out of The Road or Children of Men; the very next shot, of West, his wife Kim Kardashian, and their children nestled in a rocky outcrop is a Nativity scene furnished by Ray’s Outdoors.
Who is saved in Kanye’s kingdom? Is it only his exultant family and drab-smocked flock, those invited to cut doughnuts in tracked vehicles (looking at you, Kris Jenner)? Are we to be granted absolution by watching him sing about a historically homophobic chain of fried chicken restaurants? I don’t have the answers, but when I watch this clip, I see a very rich man, standing in the cold, half a world away from myself.
Anyway. Watch below: