Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review: Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye West
808s and Heartbreak

Kanye West has a big mouth, a big ego, and has always wanted to be bigger than hip hop itself. With his fourth album, he finally transcends the genre, ironically enough, by keeping things small.

"808s and Heartbreak" is the rap equivalent of an acoustic rock album. There are no "Gold Digger"-esque samples here, no "Jesus Walks" grandiosity. Just tribal 808 drum machine beats, auto-tuned vocals and poor Kanye's broken heart.

It works beautifully. West trades bravado for insecurity, and money-makin' for personal loss. The majority of the tracks are incredibly somber, including album opener "Say You Will" and closer "Coldest Winter." For a hint of variety, Kanye throws in a couple of upbeat (yet still lo-fi) numbers, including the string-driven "RoboCop" and very French-dance-club "Paranoid." Nearly every track is a winner, especially "Heartless" and "Street Lights." This is definitely one of the best records of the year.

Street Lights [MP3]

For fans of: Lupe Fiasco, Bloc Party
Rating: 3.5 of 4

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

that's interesting because I just listened to this the other day and was bored stiff. I have never liked Kanye and thought that he was just a pop star who couldn't sing. This album screams Craig David circa 2001 to me.

su-tang 3000 said...

I would say that I should have prefaced this by saying "If you like Kanye, then you'll like this new record." But hardcore Kanye fans hate it. I guess in the end I really enjoy its lo-fi, slow-burn feel.