What are the critics saying about Kanye West’s delayed 10th album Donda?

What Are The Critics Saying About Kanye West’s Delayed 10Th Album Donda?
Donda was finally released on Sunday. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images
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Alex Green, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Kanye West’s much-delayed 10th album Donda has attracted a mixed reaction from critics, who praised its vision but criticised its length.

The rapper (44) launched the 27-track, one hour and 48 minute record on streaming services on Sunday after a number of promotional events that did not culminate in the release of new music.


West subsequently claimed on Instagram that the album had been released without his approval by Universal Music Group, the parent company of Def Jam.

The album, which was initially promised a year ago and has suffered multiple delays, features material from controversial figures Marilyn Manson and DaBaby and is named after West’s late mother.


Donda West was an English professor at Chicago State University who died in 2007, aged 58, following complications from cosmetic surgery.

The Times critic Ed Potton gave Donda four out of five stars and described it as “sprawling and sometimes brilliant”.

He wrote: “Not all of Donda is that sublime. Its hour-and-a-half running time is excessive, and there are moments when you feel as if you have been kept for slightly too long on the doorstep by a Jehovah’s Witness.

“When it’s good, however, it’s very, very good. A typically ambitious and painfully honest album that veers, like its creator, between tortured and rapturous.”


Ed Power, writing for the Daily Telegraph, rated the album three stars and quipped that it had “been delayed more often than the new James Bond movie”.

The 91st Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Marilyn Manson features on Donda (Ian West/PA)

He concluded: “He is, it is true, a singular talent and his inner monologues crackle with an undeniable dark alchemy.


“And yet, like a sermon that goes on too long, Kanye’s stream-of-conscience observations on Jesus, Kim Kardashian and the importance of being Kanye suffer for an absence of breathing space. Full of sound and fury it may be – but West’s latest ultimately lacks direction.”

Rhian Daly of NME gave the album three stars and noted: “There is no artist in the world capable of making a flawless record that spans nearly two hours – Kanye included.

“There are plenty of seeds of what could be good ideas here, and some legit great tracks, but had he taken a little more time to edit things, this could have been a classic – focused, poignant and powerful.

“There are a handful of songs on this tracklist that are nothing short of brilliant and show West in introspective, thoughtful mood.”


Writing for Variety, Chris Willman said that “on a purely musical level, Donda is close to unassailable; any time spent tarrying on its release has been time well-wasted”.

He added: “What’s immediately clear is the inadequacy of the title to encapsulate West’s obsessions here.

“He returns just often enough to his late and beloved mother to almost plausibly claim concept-album status, but she has to share roughly equal space on his 2021 mantle of obsessions with Jesus, Kim Kardashian, himself and, naturally, Drake, who seems to be haunting our hero more than Satan ever could.”

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