There has been much debate since the announcement of Kanye West’s headline slot at this year’s Glastonbury festival. To say that the announcement has split opinions is somewhat of an understatement.
As of 23/3/15 the petition to have Mr. West removed from the lineup has gathered over 125,000 signatures.
Given the rapper/producer’s record sales and influence in popular music over the last decade, this number does surprise me. But I wonder how much of the recent negative outpouring is down to his change in persona in more recent years, rather than an actual distaste in his music.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about which songs he’d choose to perform at Glastonbury. The notion that his music doesn’t fit into the theme and feel of Glastonbury is a strange one. Having seen him perform live twice, I can testify that he has the songs in his arsenal to rival any modern rock band on a main stage. The issue for me is that more recently, I would have to admit, his songs perhaps would not translate so well to the feel of a festival, and especially one that people hold so dear to their hearts.
When Jay-Z headlined the same festival back in 2008, there was a similar outcry. However, critics were soon silenced as he performed what was undoubtedly one of his most triumphant shows. Under immense scrutiny and pressure, he delivered both a musically superb and entertaining show, fitting of any festival. He even took the time to poke fun at one of the most outspoken critics of his headlining slot, Noel Gallagher, with a cover of Wonderwall.
In comparison, I would argue that Kanye West possesses a greater collection of individual songs which are more commercially successful and well-known, than Jay-Z did in 2008.
His change in persona and the affect it has had on his music must therefore be playing some part in such a public outcry. On the one hand, I agree that his self-proclaimed God status, and the (massively below-standard) music it has spawned over the last two or three years, would seem an odd fit for Glastonbury.
But on the other hand, I have faith that he will recognise this fact, and choose his set carefully. With his music, he not only has the resources to put on a fantastic musical event, but one that could remind us of just how gifted he is musically.
Along with the majority of my friends, I will still be looking forward to watching his performance on television. Here are three songs I’d love to see him play for the Glastonbury crowd.