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808's And Heartbreak - Kanye West

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Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap / Artist: Kanye West / Enhanced / Audio CD released 2008-11-24 at Mercury

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    13 Reviews
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      28.11.2009 13:40
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      Kanye has really opened up in this album and you can tell he has put a lot of effort in it.

      As soon as I heard 'Love Lockdown' I knew I had to buy this album.
      West has completely revamped his style - i've always thought he made dull, typical rap music for some reason (I hadn't even listened to much of his music before this, and i made this judgement, how bad am I) but now my opinion has changed and i think Kanye has shown creativity in many ways. Because of his previous work as a producer, he really knows how to mix his music and make it sound great. He has completely ditched rapping in some of these songs which is a big step for Kanye since he became famous for it, but it definitely wasn't a bad move.
      I have listened to some of his tunes in his old album and their are some really good ones, since discovering his ability to make great music but nothing at all like the songs in this album. Kanye west has produced all of his songs which is extremely impressive as well.

      This album is great. All the tunes are really catchy and i think the songs have had a lot of effort been put into them.
      Songs like Say you will, Bad News, See you in my Nightmares, Amazing, Coldest Winter, Heartless and Love Lockdown, Pinnochio Storey (which is live) are quite haunting and you can tell a lot of emotion has been put in by West. The auto-tune has been used and you can tell this syncronized element is used mostly on the sad songs of this album. I like this new style of West where he is continuing to push the boundries of music and isn't trying to make generic niche music to fit in with the crowd but music he feels passionate about - at this period of time he had many bad things going on, like the death of his mother and breaking up with his fiance and this reflects in his music. Streetlights is one of the more different songs in the album which kind of takes you into another world and it's an amazing track purely because of its simplicity.

      The more upbeat songs, like Welcome to Heartbreak (still with an overall sad message in it) Paranoid and RoboCop are filled with great basslines, and melodies, so you have to give this guy a break! He has provided such passionate and emotional music and he has really opened up which is rare for current artists to do. I would say definitely buy this album, since it will give you a new musical experience. The overall tone of this album is sadness, a contrast to some of his older albums. Sure this quy is aragont and cocky sometimes, but he sure well deserves to be with all the effort he has put into these songs, and the videos he has done to express these songs in a different way. I know I sound cheesy in this review, but it's the truth - it is emotional, sad, haunting and expressive. Most of the lyrical content contain things like loneliness, sadness and heartache.

      This album is just what we need - something different. I can honestly say there is not one song I do not like in this album, so buy it!

      Track Listing:

      1. Say You Will 6:18

      2. Welcome To Heartbreak 4:23

      3. Heartless 3:31

      4. Amazing 3:58

      5. Love Lockdown 4:30

      6. Paranoid 4:38

      7. RoboCop 4:34

      8. Street Lights 3:10

      9. Bad News 3:59

      10. See You In My Nightmares 4:18

      11. Coldest Winter 2:44

      12. Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live From Singapore) 6:02

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      17.09.2009 16:48
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      When auto-tune meets, and almost ruins, hip-hop

      Described by Kanye himself as a 'pop' album, 808s & Heartbreak was released in 2008 on Roc-A-Fella Records. Completely different to his typical rapping hip-hop style, this album is entirely sung by Kanye using auto-tune to slightly distort his voice into an electronic sound. The same method is typically used by T-Pain, with whom Kanye collaborated with on his previous album, Graduation, when singing 'The Good Life.'

      In all honesty, this album is no Graduation, which was a great album, although you can almost see the progression to auto-tune from the songs on the aforementioned previous album. Unique to 808s & Heartbreak too, Kanye minimalises the typical hip-hop beat and instead uses tribal drums to back his lyrics.

      In some songs, I believe the auto-tune and tribal drums combo works perfectly, but unfortunately too many of the songs on this album are so 'nothingy,' with no real kick or noticeable chorus. I am a big fan of two of the singles, Welcome To Heartbreak (featuring Kid Cudi) and Heartless, of which the former is slow-tempo and the latter, far more upbeat. I also love the song Amazing, featuring Young Jeezy, which has a very unique sound and a good beat.

      Other songs I enjoy are Say You Will, the first track, Love Lockdown and the very simple yet fairly effective Coldest Winter. For me however, the rest of the album sounds like a load of B-sides and so, unfortunately, after track 5, which is far too early, the album just tails off far too much.

      While Kanye is clearly very talented, as showcased in previous releases, I don't think this album will do him many favours. Some songs are excellent but would have been better deployed on another album, in amongst songs of his usual style. While his singing is not as bad as some make it out to be, he should stick to what he does best and probably put this one down as one of those experiments that didn't quite come off.

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        28.08.2009 14:18

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        Great album style might not be what was expected

        With his fourth album kanye breaks away from the traditional rap style of music we have become used to from him to create an album made almost entirely using auto-tune. I am a massive fan of kanye's previous work but I believe this album is the best of the lot. The transition kanye has made from rapper to singer is faultless and many of the tracks are instant classics. There are appearances on the album from rap royalty too from lil wayne on the excellent "see you in my nightmares" to the up and coming kid cudi who appears on "welcome to heartbreak". Both these to songs are efforts to add to kanyes list of brilliant tracks. Other stand out songs on the album are the singles "love lockdown", "heartless" and "paranoid" all of which I am a fan of. Overall this is a great album that I'm sure even kanye's rap preferring fans can appreciate

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        25.05.2009 23:20

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        Definitely worth a listen

        Compared to Kanye West's other CDs, 808 s and Heart break is definitely a let down. Despite this it still manages to be a brilliant stand alone album. The album is definitely not similar to Kanye West's past music but I loved the electro he introduces here. Of course typical of Kanye West, there is a multitude of influences which are not obvious on first listen. The pounding bassline in Love Lockdown is a nod to Kanye West's love of African drums (The video for the song reflects this). The album also benefits from a few collaborations. My favourite of these is Paranoid with Mr Hudson. Paranoid, along with most of the other songs on the album, lends itself well to being played in clubs. While many of the songs on the album can be great when played on their own, Kanye West has lost the emphasis on constructing the album as a whole.

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        14.05.2009 20:57

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        You could just buy the singles

        I have got all of Kanye West's previous albums and I thought they were fantastic, he is easily one of the best rappers in the scene. So I do not understand why he then decided to produce this pop album which has a voice synthesiser on every single track. I think it is good that people try out new styles and different techniques to get a new sound, but I think they should also stick to what they are good at. If 808's and Heartbreak contained a bit of variety with some songs using the synthesiser, I think Kanye West could have been produce quite an amazing album. But the fact is he did not and I found the constant use of the synthesiser quite tedious. That is not to say that there are no good songs, on the contrary there are some fantastic songs. I particularly enjoy "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown". Personally I bought the album and enjoy listening to some of the songs but it is nothing special.

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        21.03.2009 10:44

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        A great album!

        I recently went to a Kanye West concert at the O2 and was blown away. Following that i though i would get his new album to check out his latest style. I have always loved Kanye West. However when Love Lockdown was released i was not sure how i felt about his new style. I found though after a while that the song was starting to grow on me. All his new songs habve the same sort of style. The few times i heard the album i was not convinced - but i think i just was not sure because it was not like West's normal stuff. However like Love Lockdown i started to find that the songs where growing on me. Now i would say that this is my fav album!! Particular songs to look out for are Amazing, Heartless and See You in My Knightmares. I can't wait to see what else West has to offer!!

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        08.01.2009 15:20

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        Very disappointing album with a great concept.

        As a concept album, this is not bad. The idea of using Roland TR-808's as the prominent production tool was an inspired one. Kanye West started off as a producer and then became a rapper. I felt he had alot of talent at both. Now he wants to become a singer. I'm far from keen on this. Kanye's singing voice leaves alot to be desired, even with a massive overuse of auto-tune and vocoder effects. The first single from this album, 'Love Lockdown', was difficult to like. I thought that the drum pattern was good but the track was a bit repetitive and grated on me quite a bit. The second, 'Heartless', was a tad better but not much. I could at least tolerate this song. There are some really good elements here that I would like Kanye to have developed but he seems to have been to set on the direction he wanted this album to take.

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        08.01.2009 00:29
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        Could have been improved and won't be remembered as a great album

        I have been a fan of Kanye West work for some time now. The college dropout was a great album which featured the likes of Twista, Ludacris, Jamie Foxx & Jay-Z. Late Registration was a better album which you already know I presume. His last album Graduation took Hip Hop music to a whole new level and featured great artists while also developing briliant unique beats. Another thing is I love the previous album covers with the teddy bear as they were wierd and wasn't the usual 'bling' rapper at the front. This album cover however has a red heart shape..........what more can i say? Now to the actual songs......What is with this auto-tune CRAZE? When I switch on the radio every hip Hop track has some kind of autotune in it and many of these rappers can't stop using it. T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Akon etc. This whole album is full of it with each track having similar instruments, tempo and therefore you can't differentiate one track from another. I know he was experimenting with a new concept of Auto-tune but it wasn't very good. The only songs I would listen to are streetlights, heartless and Love lockdown which are not very great either. I believe this album will be forgotton and isn't the best he could have achieved so if you like Kanye West buy Graduation!!

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        08.12.2008 12:50

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        What a revolutionary hiphop CD. Kanye West shows the world of music again that he is the state-of-the-art hiphop artist of these days.

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        06.12.2008 12:36
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        A fresh and different album from Hip Hop star Mr West, However I actually enjoy it !

        Kanye West - 808's And Heartbreaks

        Fresh, Unique, Full Of Spirit and Brilliance (although electronics are overused)

        Intro
        ~~~~
        I have all Kanye West's albums and enjoy them all. I use to dislike his music a long time ago however I find him to be the best hip hop star out there today. With his style, freshness on his music and the spirit that lives through his songs is brilliant. I have recently been to his glow in the dark tour in Glasgow and loved it. He is full of energy on stage just as is the case with the energy he puts into his songs (some more than others)

        I was very sceptical about his new album, no rap and all singing, however I actually enjoy it and think its got great tracks and potential. Maybe the use of electronics and all that other gadgets used in the music business today in order to keep pitch and all in tune is much overused, it seems far too overused in this album however it doesn't stop the songs having a good beat to them.

        # 1. Say You Will
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is good in terms of preparing you what the rest of the album is about, it introduces us to the beat and electronics (evident throughout whole album) in this song early in. This is a slow song with a slow tempo making it seem long which to tell you the truth it is. At 6 minutes 17 Seconds long I would say its too long for an intro to the album as by the end of it your really bored of that electronic beat.
        3/5

        # 2. Welcome To Heartbreak Ft. Kid Cudi
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is brilliant. Opens very well at a great speed and slowly drags you in to its edgy and exciting beat and tempo. Kanyes lyrics come across very well over the music and results in a powerful combination of music and lyric harmony, well at least used in the context of this song. The chorus is excellent and Kid Cudi is a very welcoming addition to this song as he makes it sounds more upbeat and exciting with his lyrics of "And My Head Keeps Spinning". At 4 minutes 23 seconds long its also a perfect length for this song, not too short, not too long. This is one of my favourite songs on this album.
        4/5

        # 3. Heartless
        ~~~~~~~~~~
        Another powerful song with use of great lyrics and a great fresh and modern beat that keeps the song flowing along. The pace and tempo is perfect and is used at such a good rate that it results in this song just being great to listen to. At 3 minutes 31 seconds long its one of the shorter songs on the album but it doesn't matter as its so well put together that it results in it also being one of the best.
        4/5

        # 4. Amazing Ft. Young Jeezy
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song has a pretty good beat and rhythm to it, but Kanye uses electronics far too much in this song to change his voice. The lyrics are also rather repetitive and due to them being too electrical it ruins the song. Maybe if he was rapping to this it would be ok but he isn't so as a result its not that good. It's a pretty slow song with a slow tempo and it doesn't go very well with the lyrics. One of the poorer songs on the album.
        3/5

        # 5. Love Lockdown
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is one of the best if not the best known on this album. I personally prefer other songs over this one but it should still be listened to as it is still good. It opens with heavy bass followed by kanyes lyrics shortly in. The bass is really heavy and sounds great if your system can handle it. The bass remains evident throughout this song and is repeated over and over but it works as the lyrics as well as those powerful Indian like drums tie in perfectly with it. The song ends as it opens with the bass slowly fading out. The more you hear this song the more it grows on you, when I first heard it I didn't like it however now I actually enjoy it. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.
        3/5

        # 6. Paranoid Ft Mr Hudson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is great, upbeat and very modern. Great beat, great sounds and great lyrics again. This song is much faster paced than others on the album but its great as it really goes well with the lyrics. This is one of those songs you really like to sing along with as its got such a catchy and modern beat that you cant help but join in. Mr Hudson is great in this song as they help to flow it along although you don't hear them too much. This is also another of my favourites on this album and one that really sticks out due to it being so much faster paced. But believe me this fast pace works, and It works well. As a side note Kanyes supporting band for his glow in the dark tour was Mr Hudson and Santogold so we can see that he has worked with Mr Hudson off stage as well.
        4/5

        # 7. Robocop
        ~~~~~~~~~~
        A hyped up beat opens this song shortly followed by Kanye's lyrics, Again this song has a decent rhythm to it but seems slightly ruined by use of electronics again, which is a shame cause if Kanye rapped to this and didn't use electronics then it might be pretty good. At 4 minutes 31 seconds long it's a good length but unfortunately due to the lyrics its slightly ruined.
        2/5

        # 8. Streetlights
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is quite slow and chilled. Kanye has good use of lyrics along with a powerful beat and rhyme, this song shows a lot of potential but again it can be argued that electronics and auto-tuning of Kanyes voice has slightly ruined it perhaps. It's a real shame because it could be so much better if he turned off all those gizmos to change his voice and just focused on rapping along with the beats like he has done in his previous albums.
        3/5

        # 9. Bad News
        ~~~~~~~~~~~
        Once again, a good beat and rhyme scheme along with electrical voicing of Kanye. When you focus on purely the beat of this song it shows real great potential just like many others of his songs on this album however the use of electronics again (you must be sick hearing me talk about this) slightly ruins the lyrics which results in this song not being as good as it could have. Beat eventually gets repetitive and boring and lasts too long after kanye stops singing.
        2/5

        # 10. See You In My Nightmares Ft. Lil Wayne
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        I seem to remember this song being one of the first to be leaked off the album before it was released meaning I have heard it a lot of times by now. I thinks its first 3 minutes is great however after this it seems to die out and get rather annoying and boring. The song is 4 minutes 18 seconds long and as I have said the last 1 minute 18 seconds of it is poor. Lil Wayne does seem to try well with this song which is great however even he has been using electronics to overcome this.
        4/5

        # 11. Coldest Winter
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song has a great feel and beat to it. The occurring beat of those drums along with the lyrics is a welcoming sound. The lyrics are good and although repetition of some words is evident it's great as it sets the tone to the whole song. Great lyrics, great beat and pace along with a great tempo used in conjunction with those drums makes this song one of the more enjoyable on this album.
        4/5

        # 12. Pinocchio Story (Live From Singapore. Bonus)
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This song is Kanye recorded live in Singapore freestylin with his lyrics to a very chilled piano rhythm. His voice and lyrics is surprisingly powerful and are great together. Although I wouldn't class this as a real song towards this album as its really a bonus recorded live I still am glad its in the album as it shows off how kanye is live and not just in a studio which adds a good sense of variety to this album.
        3/5

        Personal Opinion
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        As I said I didn't expect this album to be good, I thought it would be Kanyes worst album however after hearing it over at least 2 times I must say I was slightly wrong. It's a whole new style for Kanye it seems but I must admit, I actually enjoy most of it. Sure 'College Dropout', 'Late Registration' or even 'Graduation' may be favoured to some over this (they are probably better) , however if you closely listen to this album and think how this style of music compares to his other albums then you truly might come to appreciate it (eventually).

        The truth is Kanye cant sing, he overcomes this with electronics which is quite bad (T-pain) but even though he does this, this album still eventually grows on you. I still prefer late Registration and College Dropout as oppose to this as that's Kanye doing what he does best - Rapping. Not singing.
        Next time I think he should stick to rap/hip-hop but on the up-side at least he has ventured further into music with this album.

        I personally feel this album is Kanye truly emphasising himself as oppose to trying to make a great album, this album focuses a lot on his feelings and emotions (evident from album title) as oppose to other things which his previous albums have had.

        Conclusion
        ~~~~~~~~
        Any fan of Kanye will have probably heard or purchased this by now, if not then you need to have a listen, I think you will be very surprised by the greatness of it just like I was. If your not a fan of Kanye I suggest you listen to this anyway as its different to anything he has done before so as a result you might actually like it. If not then you can always go off to what you really do like. The only thing I don't like about this album is the CD case (more of a cover) that it comes in like many of the 'Graduation' albums did. It looks and feels cheap which truly is a shame as it sort of ruins the package it comes with. But under this case and on the CD is great and that's what your buying it for. So go buy, borrow, or sample this online to see what you think. I have seen it in Asda for £8.99 so if you think its worth it, buy it.

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          02.12.2008 22:50
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          It's no longer about award show controversy or getting the perfect sunglasses. It's feelings.

          Ever since 'Through the Wire' hip hop star, Kanye West burst on to the scene in 2003, I feel he has done his job every single time it has came out to putting out a new record. Especially if his job is to split opinion on him as much as possible, as ever since he used the Ku Klux Klan imagery in 'Jesus Walks' to samply Daft Punk on his biggest hit -- 'Stronger' -- this guy has had us talking, or singing his tracks. '808s & Heartbreak' comes as Kanye's fourth studio album and being released at the end of a year that has seen the loss of his mother and the breakdown of his relationship, this shall be the album to divide us all the most. '808s' has already had Rolling Stone magazine referring to Kanye as an emo that has always hid it well is just a snippet of evidence for everything I have said so far. Does that make me emo?

          01, Say You Will (6.14), 1*
          02, Welcome to Heartbreak ft. Kid Cudi (4.24), 3*

          Releasing an album just 14-months after the hugely successful 'Graduation' is relatively unheard of, although in a similar vein to Britney Spears who felt that she couldn't waste any time getting a new project out. Whilst in Britney's case it was to correct prior mistakes, '808' sees Kanye getting everything off his chest that he couldn't hold in any longer. It also comes as one of the most discussed experiments (musically, not scientifically) of 2008, as Kanye chose to drop his famed hip hop style and replace it with straight forward singing (with a little help from the vocoder) that unfortunately hasn't done any wonders for hiding the fact that rappers just aren't built to be singers. Every appears to be have done in an artistic fashion, that almost makes you feel the album belows in a gallery rather than on the radio. 'Say You Will' is not the greatest way to start the project, which is a shame because if the track was a minute-long it would be a really good introduction. Unfortunately, it's about four-times that length and drags on and on, when all you really want to do is get to the bones of the album that you have been waiting all year for. Kid Cudi is a featured artist on 'Welcome to Heartbreak' and I can honestly say I've never heard of the guy, although after looking up on him he appears to be a rapper that released a mixtape and Kanye happened to take a shining to him -- with an album being released in 2009, he maybe someone to look out for. Carrying on with the discussion of the album, 'Heartbreak' is where the album really begins (those bones I was talking about). After the lab beeps of the intro track, 'Heartbreak' sounds as though it could have an entire orchestra behind it and then it dumbs down a bit. Nothing about Cudi's chorus shouts out hip hop artist, but they do serve as a break between Kanye's verses expressing how heartbroken he is. Having read different reviews, the opinion appears to be that Kanye has always done a good job of getting across a message without sounding as though he is taking himself too seriously, and I'm not sure if it has anything to with his mothers death from botched cosmetic surgery, however it appears that Kanye is no longer going to be hiding his feelings. That could be reading too much into it, "My friend shows me pictures of his kids, and all I can show him is pictures of my cribs," speaks for itself.

          03, Heartless (3.31), 4*
          04, Amazing ft. Young Jeezy (3.58), 4*
          05, Love Lockdown (4.31), 4*

          We go from being in 'Heartbreak' to a woman so 'Heartless', which is the second single to be released from the album, and although it is yet to chart in the UK I expect it to be the track that should hopefully launch the album from its current disappointing position in our charts. (Does the UK not have any love for Kanye no more?) An animated video accompanies the track. Young Jeezy appears on the album as a much more recognisable name, however if you are outside of the US and not up with the internet buzz then you are likely to have missed the huge deal over Jeezy and his #1 Billboard album. 'Amazing' continues on from the previous track and packs more of a punch, ("I'm a monster, I'm a killer,") and although as one-word the track may not make much sense it has came to be one of the most catchy tracks on the entire project (maybe I should start calling it that instead of an 'album'). I was one of those hugely confused people when I heard that the climax to the MTV Awards was going to be Kanye West singing, although his performance of 'Love Lockdown' remained one of my highlights as before the track was over I had already caught on with the chorus. The one thing about the track is that I always felt if there was more emphasis on the chorus, then it genuinely could have got stuck in peoples heads. I think a lot of people aren't seeing past the fact that this is a rapper singing, and that is hindering any progress Kanye tries to make in the UK. 'Love Lockdown' was still the best way to launch '808', and quite frankly if you do not get 'Lockdown' you won't have got any of the tracks up until this point and you're not going to get anything else that's coming up. "Keep your love lockdown."

          06, Paranoid ft. Mr Hudson (4.40), 2*
          07, Robocop (3.26), 2*
          08, Street Lights (3.14), 4*

          Don't even ask what I know about Mr Hudson, as I can only base it on apparently being something to do with a London based band that has worked with Dizzee Rascal. And we all know how emo Dizzee is going. I thought I liked 'Paranoid' a lot more than I did before I sat down and actually listened to it for review purposes, in fact it's actually not that great. 'Robocop' is a track that sees T-Pain on the song writing credits, incidently that's one of the main names I feel we have to thank for Kanye taking his time out to record this speedily pulled together singing experiment. Incidently, it sees Kanye using the auto-tune effect on his voice so heavily it feels like his balls have dropped another five inches. There was a lot of buzz around this track being one of the biggest on the album, unfortunately I'm not really seeing it. Is Kanye West the Robocop? 'Street Lights' is like your CD-player has suddenly gone wrong, although I think for a lot of people they shall think something went wrong a long time ago. The track soon picks up, when you begin to understand the street lights are moments he's going past. If you ever thought that Kanye West would record a ballad, well -- this is the closest he shall ever come -- until '809s & Heartbreak'.

          09, Bad News (3.54), 3*
          10, See You in My Nightmares ft. Lil Wayne (4.23), 5*
          11, Coldest Winter (2.48), 4*
          12, Pinocchio Story (6.02), 1*

          Lifes just not fair, and now we've got some 'Bad News'. This is not the first time that Kanye's given a reply to his bad news on this album. I feel the effects have been so overused on his voice for this track that you can barely make out what he's saying half the time, but thankfully that is made up for with one of the best beats on the entire project. This may be a good time to refer to review to all those reviews that have rated the album badly due to the very apparent fact that Kanye cannot sing -- calling him an 'American Idol reject' and the fact that the New York Times actually thought it was appropriate to declare that a rapper can't sing makes me wonder why they ever even thought it would be appropriate for them as a highly respectable newspaper to be reviewing an artist that has said 'n*igger' more times than hes said 'thank you'. 2008 may nearly be over, but it still would be an outrage to finish an album without a feature from the artist of the year, Lil Wayne. 'Nightmares' is probably my favourite track on the whole album, and it does it without even having to be catchy. In fact, the song is almost shouting at me in a rock star fashion (maybe Wayne's red trousers have gone to his head) but the track really works. And I mean it even works for radio listening, which is strange because a lot of these tracks are likely to become annoying after a few radio airplays (but that's not to say that the tracks aren't brilliant in their own way, because that's going back to the comment of these tracks being made for a museum and being watched from afar). Lil Wayne is brilliant, and Kanye is back to the greatness we haven't heard from him since he rapped... oh yeah, that wasn't so long ago.
          'Coldest Winter' was one of the first tracks I heard from the album, and it's this track that made me realise that I was going to love this album no matter how much everyone else hated it. Similar to how I liked 'Hey Mama', this is the track that is dedicted to the memory of his now late mother ("Goodbye my friend, will I ever love again.") I have my moments when I like this track, then not so much, but like some of the not so great tracks on the album 'Winter' benefits from not being dragged out in length. 'Pinocchio Story' comes as a live freestyle performance to close the album that was added as the request of Beyonce Knowles, I am unsure as to why anyone thought a live performance of the track rather than a studio version would be a good way to end the album, but at least it has more lyrics than 'Say You Will'. Perhaps the track came straight from the heart, a bit spur of the moment?

          I've already mentioned how fantastic the presentation of this album is, and the 'pop art' fad spreads out on to the singles that have all been designed in a similar fashion. The general feel of the presentation appears to be 'simple', however I can still spot a Kanye West record a mile out. I know this is going to sound crazy when there have been such great hip hop albums this year from Lil Wayne (Carter III) and T.I. (Paper Trail) but '808s & Heartbreak' is the album of the year for me. I'm not even that big of a Kanye West fan, and I think I was surprised as the next person when he decided to follow up 'Graduation' like this, but for me it worked. Having said that, with his fifth studio album in 2009 I would be expecting Kanye to express himself much differently. If this is what Britney's new album had came out like, everyone would be claiming she's having another breakdown. So where's the media attention on Kanye? Oh that's right, he's a grown ass kid... man.

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          • More +
            01.12.2008 14:11
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            Kanye West's fourth album

            For his fourth album, Kanye West choose to make significant changes to what he is about as the person know best for his work as a producer and rapper, changes his focus by doing a Pop album, one in which he doesn't rap in at all. Kanye, can't actually sing, which is a great problem for an album full of songs, however he overcomes this proble, by using the robotic auto-tuning which T-Pain is known for using throughout the whole of "808s & Heartbreak", a concept album which hopefully won't trickle into future material from him.

            He calls the style which he uses in this album "Pop Art", and all other artistic movements in fine arts and music should be ignored when he calls it this as he wants to express individuality with this recording.

            1. "Say You Will"

            Startign the album off, you him going straight into the genreal direction of the album as he begins things with a slow song, in which he introduces us to the concept by directing his words to a girl to a some elctronic beats.

            **One Star**

            2. "Welcome To Heartbreak"

            What I thought would have work beetter as a introductory track, this one has Kanye performing with the Cleveland Hipster MC, Kid Cudi. I foudn this to be a great improvement on anytihng else I had heard from the album, but still not somethign I would choose to listen to as it has him singing painfully and intermixes tit with some of the very little amounts of rap in the whole record.

            **Three Stars**

            3. "Heartless"

            It took a while to get this one, which is often the case with tracks off this album, and once I did I could really feel that he was simply going down the route of "Stronger", but taking on more of the Electro side than Hip Hop, however there is definately a prescene of this, probably down to the fact that No I.D. helped him with the production.

            **Three Stars**

            4. "Amazing"

            Although still not acepting this new side to Kanye, I could understand the direction by this point, so I could get itno the flwo of thiings without questioning as much as he continues the eighites-inspired work. However it is all thrown as Jeezy raps, and just doesn't see or acckowledge what 'Ye is doing so sounds stupid when just rapping about typical things.

            **Three Stars**

            5. "Love Lockdown"

            Premiered at the 2008 VMAs, this song provided great debate in the Hip Hop community, as Kanye made a great shift in his style. On this one he comes with heavy drumming, which drives what is a highly repetitive tune with him singing a very catchy hook to describe the unwanted situation with his current relationship.

            **Three Stars**

            6. "Paranoid"

            In a track which has him continue all the same themes as what you fin throughout the album, I can't say that I thought very highly of this album as it has him bascically go for a stnadrd track off the album whichc has no personality or any indictaction of future potential. I thought it was terrible, much like many of the rest of the tracks.

            **One Star**

            7. "Robocop"

            On this up-tempo track (the only one from the whole album), the artist choose to to switch the heartbreak for a more productive for of relationship as he gets to knwo a girl. It is a change in the album, which could have been big, but he just loses me with a "Robocop" thing, which I simply couldn't see relating to the track.

            **One Star**

            8. "Street Lights"

            Here's one of the few times on the album where I can say that I could really see potential for future enjoyment of the track as it him him come up with top-quality lyric writing by going for a reptitive hook which is bound to stay in your head for the rest of the day. He proves that he knwos what it takes to make a Pop track in this one, but it is bound to get annoying after a while.

            **Three Stars**

            9. "Bad News"

            For me, this one was jeven for this low standard of the album and it has him just boring me with out-dated synth-pop, which has no relavence to today's music.

            **One Star**

            10. "See You In My Nightmares"

            Unlike Young Jeezy's earlier participation in the album, when il' wayne has a go on thisone he seem s to at least try to get itno Kanye's frame of mind when perfroming on this one. he also adopts heavy auto-tuning and sings in this dark track from him, but it really isn't that good of a track.

            11. "Coldest Winter"

            As one of the first tracks to leak, I can say that I have heard it enough times to say that it doens't grow on you like much of the rest of the material does, and so he soudns terrible as he attempts to come up with something that you are supposed to eventually enjoy.

            **One Star**

            12. "Pinocchio Story"

            To end the album off you have Kanye tkaign on some auto-tuning in a different way as he uses it to show how he is able to utilise it in a live version. You get a clip f him freestlying (but in song form) and it does add to the variety of the album.

            **One Star**

            To be honest, as you will have already gathered, I didn't like what the artist did here, and he was best when rapping. I wasn't sure why he chose to do a whole album of his stuff, as I thought that tracks where he used the auto-tuner, such as his remix to Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop" was enough. I also don't see why he had to make his production so weak, and simplistic, as he is really good at doing what he does in the beats department.

            I'm sure that just like all pop tracks go, these will grow on you, and this may be a good thing for the Hip Hop community to look into music which needs to be slept on . However on the first few listens, it seems as though I messed whatever he is on with, and the production is the main things which prevented me from engaging with thw material.

            Next year, just do Hip Hop.

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            • More +
              01.12.2008 13:57
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              A strange record sure to infuriate as many as it delights. I'm in the "delighted" camp.

              808s & Heartbreak, hip-hop maverick Kanye West's fourth studio album is, it's fair to say, a curious affair all round. Abandoning (momentarily at least) the politically astute, rapid-fire, hook-heavy rap that made his name, the record consists almost entirely of bleak, icy, vocoder-slathered R&B ballads, most concerned in some way with loss, stagnation, loneliness and death, metaphorical or literal.

              The opening Say You Will provides the blueprint for much of what follows, delivering on the sonic and thematic promises of the album title - beats pulled from a Roland TR-808 drum machine ping-ponging around a sparse, almost minimalist reflection on a sundered romance.

              Only the most delicate piano line and the flimsiest sheet of choral synth compliment the frail beat and West's voice (more on the voice in a moment). It brings to mind no recent hip-hop record, not even a Kanye West hip-hop record, but rather conjures the ghost of Sinead O'Connor's masterful version of Nothing Compares 2 U. Like that record, this seems to straddle the shoulders of ghosts, and just as O'Connor filtered Prince's anguished lament through her own grief about the loss of her mother, so West wrestles with the loss of his mother and the break-down of a recent engagement.

              As stated above, 808s & Heartbreak takes vocoder-usage to near-masochistic levels. Never a pretty sound at the best of times, the idea of an album's-worth of it is enough to have most sane and just-minded folks screaming themselves hoarse for a month.

              Here, though, it works. Just. The mechanical, not-quite-human quality it lends to West's voice makes perfect sense in context, and juxtaposes nicely with the achingly, well, HUMAN content of the lyrics.

              Despite the overwhelming joylessness of the thing thematically, though, 808s & Heartbreak is rarely depressing, and, on at least a couple of tracks, it is as giddying and energising as anything West has put his name to hitherto. The glorious Paranoid, for example, built around a maddeningly catchy retro synth hook, is, regardless of the lyrical woes, ridiculously good fun. It's one of the finest pop songs West has ever crafted, and provides a welcome counter to the sad-eyed lamentation haunting the rest of the album.

              Similarly striking is Coldest Winter, a ballad punctured by intermittent bursts of deranged, distorted beats which themselves sound a bit like Machine Gun from the last Portishead record.

              If there's a flaw in the album, it's in the lyrics. One will search long and, it must be said, to no avail, for anything of the class of, say, Jesus Walks, Heard Em Say or Diamonds From Sierra Leone. That said, there's nothing embarrassing - except for the occasions when the whole thing gets bogged down in nauseating lonely-at-the-top celebrity-woe garbage. It's just... colourless. Fitting, perhaps, given the enforced monochrome feel of the thing, but still a touch disappointing.

              Critics have taken to the album with much more zeal than have West's fan-base, many of whom have been lambasting the overwhelming, well, slushiness of most tracks herein on the blogs and the forums since the first few notes were leaked months ago. Look beyond that, however, and one finds a brave, exciting, surprising piece of work, one that is by no means uncommercial, but which is nonetheless a risky move for an artist as high-profile as Kanye West.

              A hip-hop superstar releasing an album of virtually rap-less ballads that sound like they fell from the back of a Soft Cell record sometime in 1986 - granted, 808s & Heartbreaks is perhaps, given the current thirst for all things even halfways eighties, not as odd a career-move as you might think, but it is, in the wider context of West's work, a hell of a curveball. It would be intriguing for that reason alone even if it were rubbish. Which it's not. By any stretch of the imagination.

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            • Product Details

              Disc #1 Tracklisting
              1 Say You Will
              2 Welcome To Heartbreak - Kanye West, Kid Cudi
              3 Heartless
              4 Amazing - Kanye West, Young Jeezy
              5 Love Lockdown
              6 Paranoid - Kanye West, Mr Hudson
              7 RoboCop
              8 Street Lights
              9 Bad News
              10 See You In My Nightmares - Kanye West, Lil Wayne
              11 Coldest Winter
              12 Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live From Singapore)
              13 Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak Website

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