Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kanye “Donda” Listening Party 3: Lights Himself on Fire, Replaces Jay Z with DaBaby, Features Marilyn Manson, Remarries Kim in Mock Ceremony


Kanye West’s third listening party for his unreleased album, “Donda,” was a strange affair, of course.

In Chicago, at Soldier Field, Kanye put on a show, a spectacle that was simultaneously meaningless and weird, offensive and bizarre.

With a replica of his childhood home topped by a cross set in the center of the stage, Kanye welcomed recent alleged rapist Marilyn Manson. Then he replaced a verse of one of his new songs originally sung by Jay Z with Da Baby, the rapper currently cancelled for making anti-gay remarks in public.

Later in the show, Kanye set himself on fire, had to be extinguished, then participated in what looked like a wedding ceremony with someone who looked like his ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

I am not a “Donda” expert, but online people who watched said they didn’t care for this version of the album, and preferred the last listening session in Atlanta.

What Kanye has become is a circus master. It’s all flash and show, there’s very little substance. Limousines circled the house, there were armies of extras marching around on stage. No one who was watching had any idea what was going on.

Did Kanye?

There were many references to Jesus, God, and Christ. But it’s all just a collage, like spin art religion, sound and fury signifying nothing.

I’m trying to imagine what the real Donda, Kanye’s late mother, would think of all this. Is it mental illness as performance art? And why do people pay money this, and stare? I’m surprised by the comments online. No one likes “Donda,” but they’re convinced it’s some kind of masterpiece they just don’t understand and will love one day.

And no “Donda” release followed. Of course. Because there is no “Donda.” The album doesn’t exist in all likelihood. It’s just a work in progress designed to lure ticket buyers to stadiums to buy expensive merchandise.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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