Review ·

Kanye West’s new fondness for vocal effects has mostly been characterized as an arrogant attempt at co-opting a trend, but in the context of his latest exhibit, there seems to be more behind the choice than many have acknowledged. West is notorious for his honesty, but the bulk of his emotional expression up to this point has revolved around fairly one-dimensional constructs: happiness, anger and frustration. After a famously rocky year, things aren’t nearly that simple for him any longer.

 

West correctly recognized that this complexity could lead to some of the greatest art of his career, but discussing your own depression is never easy, especially not for someone with so much pride. The robotic combination of Auto-Tuner and fuzz filters became a security blanket for his markedly honest verse on Young Jeezy’s “Put On.” And that naturally carried over to the entirety of 808s & Heartbreak, particularly on “Love Lockdown” and, even more so, on the elegantly desolate “Streetlights.” After losing the most important people in his life while at the same time becoming even more isolated due to his fame, West has simply run out of ideas for what to do with himself. He’s been forced to live entirely in his own head, and he's apparently had trouble reconciling what he finds there.

 

The success of 808s & Heartbreak is that West accurately tells his own story while still speaking about universal themes. The project is structured much like a high-end runway show, so although most songs work on their own, they’re far more revelatory as a group. Because each track is largely built with the same set of tools, even those that don’t seem that interesting at face value (“Heartless”) or that initially come off as thematic outliers (“Paranoid”) benefit heavily from being takes on a broader motif.

 

West famously decided to put aside rapping for this album, a conceit many will be hesistant to give themselves over to. But it's only a problem from the outside looking in. He probably would have been able to communicate the same ideas with rap, but the “less is more” approach to his delivery is a stronger statement. Meanwhile, Young Jeezy’s sole rap on “Amazing” carries more weight than usual because it stands alone, making it a surprisingly appropriate cameo.

 

On the other hand, “See You in My Nightmares” suffers from Lil Wayne’s attempt to straddle the line. He’s unable or unwilling to fully commit to the assignment and drags West down with him into a rambling, insincere temper tantrum. Affected anger is in fact a common reaction after a break-up, but it may be giving them too much credit to assume that they’re being deliberately ironic.

 

808s & Heartbreak may initially seem uncharacteristic, but without the limitations of genre, West is fully embracing the grand, theatric backdrops that he’s always loved. The industrially orchestral sound of “Robocop” or the lengthy instrumental break on “Say You Will” are things he’s been circling around all along but didn’t have the leeway to pursue completely. His larger goal has always been to make music that transcends time and society, so now that he’s climbed high enough to jump off of these tall cliffs, he’s going to take full advantage.

 

West certainly sacrificed some support from his supposed core audience with this turn. In the long run, though, history tends to reward art that was jarring at first but eventually helped to change convention. If you feel deceived, remember that West took flack for the pink Polos and chipmunk samples too. Through it all, he stayed dedicated to his vision. Eventually, he'll release another groundbreaking hour of music for you to protest and 808s & Heartbreak will be part of the "old sound" you were looking for.

  • Say You Will
  • Welcome To Heartbreak featuring Kid Cudi
  • Heartless
  • Amazing featuring Young Jeezy
  • Love Lockdown
  • Paranoid featuring Mr. Hudson
  • RoboCop
  • Street Lights
  • Bad News
  • See You In My Nightmares featuring Lil Wayne
  • Coldest Winter

After "Love Lockdown" was released, speculation began over whether or not Kanye West did it as a joke-- a way to comment on T-Pain's success, while whetting appetites for his new album, 808's and Heartbreak. However, Kanye recently confirmed via a listening party that the entire album is made up of sparse electronic production, and surprisingly, vocoder-assisted singing vocals by Kanye. That's right, "Love Lockdown" is the rule, not the exception.

808's and Heartbreak isn't completely without rapping, however. Young Jeezy pops ups for guest bars on a track that West sings on. And in a move for auto-tuner dominance, Kanye is joined on a track by Lil Wayne, who also sings.

Kanye says that the album is about emotional nakedness, and most of the songs are about his breakup with one specific woman. Kanye reserves one song for the memory of his mother, album closer, "Coldest Winter."
 
808's and Heartbreak
has been slated for a November release, in order for it avoid collision with Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, for which Kanye serves as producer.

Of Great and Mortal Men - 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies Toxic Holocaust An Overdose of Death...

Seems that it's not being called 'Good Ass Job.'

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

just keep your love locked down daba

Kasra

i like the name good ass job. it kept in the flow of college

partsys

good ass job does not keep "the flow of college"

umm

it does keep the college flow, its going backwards. like back in time.

TheKidd

this cd is gonna be one of the best. its good to slow it down with some love songs.

mia

I've only found "808" with 4 songs included.Shall I wait for December?

fabry

wikipedia. it has a list of songs said to be on the new cd..and its actually being released on the 24th if this month.

Jasminne

CANT WAIT TO COP KANYE'S ALBUM

SUPRAKING WESSON

yeah good ass job would have been better because he dropped out then registered graduated now he has a good ass job it

rawr

He is going to release another album in the summer.
also most artists release albums once every 6 months, so this is about the right time.

plusss his mother just died so it could be almost a tribute album.

Josh

This album is an experimental/concept album specifically dedicated to his breakup and death of his mother. It is separate from his previous 3 albums.

It is most likely that Good Ass Job will be released in June/July of 2009, following on in the 'collegiate series'. It will be Kanye's 5th, and it is speculated that he will return to rapping, his roots.

Josh H

ACTUALLY I LISTENED TO THE WHOLE ALBUM ALREADY AND IT IS PRETTY DAMN GOOD. YEA, ITS NOT LIKE HIS PREVIOUS ALBUMS, AND IT IF DEFINITLY SOMETHING NEW AND EXPERIMENTAL BUT ITS NOT BAD. THE MESSAGE BEHIND THE LYRICS IS VERY TOUCHING. MAD PROPS.

...

Yo it's not experimental at all Kanye's just doin what he does and gettin away from monotony in hip-hop. If you actually listen to the songs not just play em and hear the sounds you hear the emotion in his voice and you can understand why he uses the auto tune... it's a sick album n I think the people who don't like it are gunna be the people who don't understand it... and also it's not a tribute to his mother in any way the only song he specifically made for her is "Coldest Winter" the rest is about the breakup with his ex-fiance... Listen to the whole album on myspace...

!

With love K. West,

What you are looking for is now found with the release of this C.D. You are stepping closer into the energy that surrounds all of us. I look forward to seeing you take all the awards you will get on this one.

Love,
Your secret G.A. peach - supporting u from the distance.

Heather

i love it

#1 fan

with love KanYe

counting the days to the release.......i know you wont dissappoint.

U R The BEST thing that happened 2 HIP HOP

tina

man i just got the album yesterday, i have to say its the best album he has made yet!!! i think ppl dont understand now that music is so repetative and kanye really brought something really new and creative to the table. man its amazing album!!

steve

Mr Winistorfer, is great here. When i heard "Love Lockdown" i felt very much the same way. And as tracks have been leaked it feels like music i'm not likely to like, but because of that i feel compelled to try. Say what you will, Kanye West is a master of the "Left Turn". I once read and article where he said he wanted to beat Timberlake to being "the next michael jackson". But he'd "settle for being the next prince". Well who knows who could be the next MJ, but Kanye is def "the next Prince".

DH Bennett

I can't believe this. Kanye gets away with murder and nobody says a thing. People keep talking about this being art and blah blah blah....John Lennon was art...Pink Floyd was art...this is in no way experimental at all. It's been done before, he's just bringing 80s retro feel which needs to be left alone. This is no way any progression in Hip-Hop. Please don't get caught in the hype, keep in mind that he's just riding a trend.

Love Lockdown??...please

and NEXT PRINCE??? ARE F@#*&NG KIDDING ME??? DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW SILLY THAT COMPARISON IS??...

bucktown's finest

This is my favorite Kanye album. Its to raw and cohesive and sad and beautiful all at the same time.

We did a review on my blog check it out.

http://foolishnesspersonified.blogspot.com/2008/11/808s-and-heartbreak-is-just-that.html

~Allie.

I like what he's tried to do as a artist,
A little sick of the auto tune though.

have you heard the remake of Good Life
by Brooklyn indietronica band nite club?

one of my new fave's

http://www.myspace.com/niteclubmusic

jessica

umm, ok i dig the album. but can anyone say The Love Below.
Good concept Kanye, but Andre 3000 beat you to it.

William

Hands down should be album of the year in every genre but country.....hiphop, r&b, pop......won't happen tho. I'm tired of the industry being flooded by the same 16 bars......

/site_media/uploads/images/users/WillieBoy/m_0e17a4718ca3ea0b4bcf0364b506d27c.jpg WillieBoy

album of the year :S are you sniffing something, you're going to compare this album, to top hip hop albums like, Paper Trail, The Recession, Untitled, Theater of the Mind..come on its an okay album not something il be bummpin but he steped outside the box with it so i respect him, but i hope he never does it again

Shady

Kanye you are the best, playa haters, leave LEGEND KANYE ALONE, He's just too much!!!!!!!!1

Kanye I love you

Buggy

Yo Jessica!
thanks for the link to Nite Club
I agree, indei rockers are now the same as
hip hoppers
Loving their version of good Life
It's On Point!

todd elevate

Kanye, where did you go? This was a little too much. The album has barely any tracks, i hope he doesnt expect for people to buy it. Also, there are only a few good songs on this album. The computerized voice is not good; i mean if thats whats going to happen, i want to become a signer as well! Well, all to say, i like Kanye but i am very dissapointed with this album.

Notafan

I had to listen to this album at a listening session a while ago. At first i thought it was some kind of a prank. Unfortunately it wasn't. The songs sound as if composed under the shower. It was really hard to sit through this and i sure won't do it again. I wish Kanye all the luck, though.

Horst

keep up the good work and dont take over bored

/site_media/uploads/images/users/teenybopperbash/Picture 008.jpg teenybopperbash

No offense Shady but thats the mentality that has kept hiphop down for the last 10 years.....stifling production with the same bpm's and every album you named is just a conclusion on the same tired message...its a miracle you didn't put the Carter III in there. Hiphop used to be out there....an expression of a generation. Look back to 3 Feet High and Rising, The Love Movement and even The Slim Shady LP...you need to take a chance before you can progress. Just my view....

/site_media/uploads/images/users/WillieBoy/m_0e17a4718ca3ea0b4bcf0364b506d27c.jpg WillieBoy

i copped kanye's album, and clearly he's a genius....his album is so appropriately titled its scary....and WilleBoy is so right about hip hop....& first off he's THE dude thats gonna be the hip-hop savior. Bold expression and a flow his own....i wuddnt dare say he got swag cuz that word cant even descibe his genius mentality personified thru music!....maybe im goin to deep into this, so imma jus say KANYE IS THE SHYTE!!! :-D :-)

Qu33n KrisY

bold.

streetlights kills.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif powers

I thought this review captures what I felt initially towards this album--skepticism and a feeling of being

Alex

man he moves me with this album i can relate im his fan so i will follow him through out his carrer. my daddyslash idol kanye all hares go ta hell

tank head

The version of Love Lockdown that 808 missed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBUBiIrggtY

Nigel

Kanye did it again. He switched it up and I love the guy for that. Watch the money pile up haters.

DoN P

omg the 808's & heartbreaks is the best i love all the songs Kanye has a great talent there

katrina

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