On the surface, the quintet of records that West has produced from his musical workshop in Wyoming over the past month feels like a rejection of Pablo's bountiful excess. Each was supposed to consist of only seven songs. (Taylor's KTSE, the last of the bunch, has eight tracks.) They would be intimate, provocative, and of-the-moment. Sometimes they were so of-the-moment that they weren't finished until the second they debuted, with West snapping the cover art for ye on his scenic drive to the release party. Taylor's record, that final one of the batch, is getting another upgrade soon because of sample clearance issues. The work is never done.
So, in the half-assed and impulsive spirit of the project, why not pick the best two songs from each record and make a decent 10-song sampler? It's a crowded month for pop music's A-list, with Beyoncé and Jay Z releasing their Everything is Love on June 16 and Drake's Scorpion arriving on June 29, so not everyone has time to sift through the clutter. That's what I've done with the Spotify playlist below, and further down you'll find some thoughts on which of these records are worth listening to in full and which ones should have stayed in the mountains.