A guide to Kanye West's revamped 'Life of Pablo'
This isn’t an April Fools’ joke.
After a meandering saga that took Kanye West’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, from a truncated premiere at Madison Square Garden to an ill-fated period of TIDAL exclusivity, the entire project is now available to purchase or stream on major services including Apple Music and Spotify.
But fans who managed to successfully download Pablo from TIDAL in the hours following West’s February Saturday Night Live appearance shouldn’t ignore the news. West has emphasized Pablo‘s ever-changing nature and, true to his word, the version uploaded to services today sports a number of tweaks that differentiate it (albeit slightly) from the original master.
West mainly fiddled with Pablo‘s mixes and volumes — logical, considering the eleventh-hour push to complete the album likely prevented much finesse. Even for audiophiles and superfans, that makes listening to the new mix of Pablo a bit like swallowing a placebo: Did the beat on “Pt. 2” always slap so hard? Do the vocals on “Ultralight Beam” really have more reverb? But there are also a handful of lyrical modifications and new sounds that definitively set this version of Pablo apart from it’s predecessor. Below, we take a look at all the new changes to the album:
Chance the Rapper has a new line on “Ultralight Beam”
The rising Chicago MC’s verse still begins with the lyrics, “When they come for you, I will shield your name / I will field their questions, I will feel your pain,” but while a brief silence once followed those lines, now Chance intones “No one can judge” before the song snaps back to the original. And moderate remastering makes the song’s lauded choral portions ring out even stronger.
“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” includes some sleek backing vocals
Kid Cudi’s tenor and West’s Auto-Tuned hook already made Pablo‘s second track one of its vocal standouts. Now a woman’s voice joins West for the last line of his verse (“I want to wake up with you in my beautiful morning”) to make the song’s transition in “Pt. 2” even more impressive.
West altered a lyric on “Famous” — but not the one you’d think
The version of “Famous” that hit the web in mid-March and streaming services earlier this week is included in Pablo‘s latest iteration. It swaps out the lyric “she be Puerto Rican day parade wavin'” for “she in school to be a real estate agent,” but leaves his disparaging line about Taylor Swift intact.
The industrial sound effects on “Feedback” and “Freestyle 4” have been modified
The peculiar effects on these mid-album tracks added more avant-garde flair to Pablo. And while they remain fundamentally the same, West softened the edges on both, shortening “Feedback” by a few seconds and changing the timbre of noises around the 0:45 and 1:38 marks in “Freestyle 4.”
West rerecorded his first verse on “Waves”
This makes sense, because even given the hasty nature of the Pablo sessions, “Waves” was thrown together at the last minute. Nevertheless, the lyrics and intonation remain nearly identical. The new version of “Waves” also boasts one of the new Pablo‘s best sonic tweaks: West evened out the snare drum’s volume, making the track’s beat less jarring.
“FML” sports minor improvements that make it a smoother listen
West synchronized his vocals and the song’s beat more seamlessly and subtly added some additional background vocals toward the end of the cut.
“Wolves” includes Sia and Vic Mensa once again
Hours after releasing Pablo, West kicked off the album’s saga of revisions when he tweeted “Ima fix wolves.” In mid-March he released a fresh version of the song with the guests who appeared with him when he premiered the track on Saturday Night Live in 2015. He also broke Frank Ocean’s vocal coda into its own song, “Frank’s Track,” and both appear on the new Pablo.
Album closer “Fade” has received edits — and an actual conclusion
West removed some of the track’s soulful ornamentations, but also gave “Fade” an ending (rather than an abrupt cut), making the revisions here a net gain. After the pulsing beat dissipates, West reintroduces the sample for a final “I can feel it!” and allows its echo to conclude Pablo.