Kanye West
808s and Heartbreak


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
November 24th, 2008 | 335 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everyone, I'd like you to meet the emotionally fragile and digitally enhanced Kanye West.

There is a slowly, but steadily rising revolution occurring with R&B artists, and it can be directed towards the Auto-Tune. What the Auto-Tune entails is perfectly tuning pitches digitally, which in turn, alters varying pitches in a glitchy, almost robotic manner, while maintaining the artist’s voice. This artificial method has been used lately by Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain, but also in the past by Cher among other artists. Now, the self-proclaimed ‘voice of our generation,’ Kanye West, is digitally changing his voice to ‘perfection.’ Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreaks is a minimalist album that is free from samples and, for the most part, rapping, which makes his album a revolution within his career.

808s and Heartbreaks is an emotional trek; it dives into the tribulations during the past few years of West’s life, such as the passing of his mother and his fiancée breaking off ties. The beats and mood of the album certainly represents Kanye West’s emotion vividly and thoroughly through a Roland TR-808 (the 808 in 808s and Heartbreaks, duh). The TR-808 creates lively, pulsating tribal beats in tracks like “Welcome To Heartbreak” and the dynamic single of the album, “Love Lockdown.” Additionally, it creates haunting beats, like in the six-minute “Say You Will,” a track that exposes a desperate man.

With the practical void of rapping makes 808s and Heartbreaks so refreshing. When I say that, you are less likely to find a track like “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” or “Gold Digger” on this album, even though the prolific dance track, “Paranoid,” would be the closest representation of his past style. Another noticeable facet is the lack of skits. In turn, it makes this album so much more complete and sets a rather serious tone. When Kanye West is at his most emotional moments on the album (“Bad News,” “Coldest Winter,” “Say You Will”), the Auto-Tune vocals take control. Granted the presence is spread throughout the album, when West is at his emotional climax is where the prominence of the device takes shape.

With concern to his story, come the lyrics, which can be plain and rather average, although I will grant an exception of the beautifully crafted “Streetlights.” Yet, Kanye West leaves little room for lyrical creativity, and takes a more straightforward approach towards songwriting. I mean, “Heartless” is about being his fiancée being heartless, “Bad News” speaks of bad news in his life, and you can pretty much assume the rest. However, the predictability should not take away Kanye’s capability to express his emotions through singing, which is ultimately the driving point of the album. In fact, “Coldest Winter” is Mr. West’s defining moment of 808s and Heartbreaks, which is riddled with elegant, hip-hop beats and compassion with a simple message about a huge loss.

Perhaps the biggest thing to take from 808s and Heartbreaks is the well-knit structure of the album. Every track finds it’s spot and the fact Kanye West is always on topic lyrically makes 808s and Heartbreaks a desirable, interesting listen. After all, it is not easy being acclimated with the removal of Kanye West’s signature rapping style along with the addition of the Auto-Tune. I will admit, it was a mini shell shock at first, but slowly, an appreciation for his newfound style appeared. Everything takes time, but it is more or less, whether you are willing to take the time to commit to such drastic change. So please, meet the emotionally fragile and digitally enhanced Kanye West.



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user ratings (1615)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
iarescientists
November 24th 2008


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i feel like that intro is way too overdone, in that every fucking review has the same exact intro

other than that ilu ryan

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess that's what I get for not reading the other reviews. Oh well

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean I'm split right now, give it like 2 minutes to turn into a 4 on the review, rather than my rating...I mean I wrote this review as if it were that goodThis Message Edited On 11.24.08

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really want to finish my review of this, but I'm sure you guys have covered most of the points I would have at this point.
Fantastic record though.

AggravatedYeti
November 24th 2008


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This gets better the more I listen.

ant4tbc
November 24th 2008


373 Comments


man, i was expecting this to suck.

i think i need this.

kygermo
November 24th 2008


996 Comments


im sick of this motherfucker. seriously, q-tips album dropped a few weeks back and pretty much got no love. this asshole puts out a new album and everyones ridin his gravy train. the masses make me sick. and yes, im aware i sound like a tool.

otherwise, nice review.

204409
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


3996 Comments


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McP3000
November 24th 2008


3941 Comments


goddammit i guess this means i have to listen to this fucking thing even though i dont want to.

if i end up liking it i dont know what ill do with all my deeply rooted kanye hate. Probably just throw a hissy fit in the community thread, idk

ninjuice
November 24th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Am I the only one who's reminded of Eiffel 65 while listening to the auto-tuned vocals?

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kinda

farfaraway
November 24th 2008


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i don't know about you but coldest winter gave me chills...
good review

kingcutie
November 26th 2008


6 Comments


I recently had a chuckle at his speech after winning an AMA when he said he wanted to "be elvis" - I like the way how Kanye is going out there to change/mix the musical genre's.

respect to him and what he's doing for the music industry.

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 26th 2008


3742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album bumped up, probably gonna be top 5 for this year for me

MIRAI87
November 27th 2008


249 Comments


This album will probably win the most votes for the coveted 'Thought it would suck but is actually suprisingly good.' award. I have no idea where these awards are, but if they exist he gets one.

jontheatheist
November 27th 2008


79 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Eraser kicks the living shit out of this imo.

AtavanHalen
November 27th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

wtf?

SpinLightTwo
November 27th 2008


1043 Comments


I've heard a few songs from this and really like most of them, but the myspace stream is all messed up.

captainbrett
December 1st 2008


14 Comments


seems a standard sort of empty to me. dragged down by the fact that this man is one of the most arrogant people to walk the earth.

Shattered
December 3rd 2008


44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Alright after a couple of listens, i have this to say. The album is good because of the emotion put into it. Although it is not the old kanye we all know and love, it is still decent stuff. However, I sorta hope this is a one time deal.



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