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Des Moines Art CenterBarmudaDM RelishBike WorldMarci Boudreaux

Sound Check

6/19/2013

cd kanyeKanye West

“Yeezus”

Rock-A-Fella/Def Jam

Fatherhood does mysterious things to men. At least, that’s the reason I’m prepared to go with to explain the evolution being exhibited by Kanye West in “Yeezus.” Bombastic, maybe-just-a-touch-crazy title aside, “Yeezus” is a markedly less absurd album than West’s past fare, and the result is at times stunning. West has always been capable of amazing music, but his ego and delusions of grandeur have tended to get in the way. And while “Yeezus” is still certainly grand, the lyrics display a level of depth and humor (dare we say maturity?) that have sometimes been lacking in West’s work. For a perfect example, look no further than “I am God”: a track that on the surface appears to proclaim West’s messiah complex alive and well, but whose lyrics are a scathing indictment of fame worship. CV

 

cd Brett MichaelsBret Michaels

“Jammin’ With Friends”

Poor Boy Records

When not busy with the Rock of Love skank-train, Bret Michaels still occasionally makes music. After the mixed success of 2010’s well selling but poorly reviewed “Custom Built,” “Jammin’ With Friends” serves up much safer tracks. Of the 15 songs on the album, only four are new originals. The rest are a collection of covers and re-recordings of Poison classics, and — as the name implies — the album features a slew of guest musicians. Some of the collaborations make more for interesting discussion than interesting music — that’s Loretta Lynn on “Every Rose Has its Thorn” — but most of the tracks are harmless, hard rock fun. However, Poison fans may be frustrated to learn that, while guitarist C.C. DeVille is featured on the album, it’s not on any of the Poison songs: Most of that guitar work is handled by former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. CV

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