Tuesday, November 25, 2008

808s & Heartbreak Review



Kanye Omari West. Ten-time Grammy Award winner. MTV's Number One "Hottest MC In The Game" last year. Slightly controversy-laden with the Rolling Stone cover, the Bush comment while he was helping out after Hurricane Katrina, and his whole beef with 50 Cent. Kanye's debut album was "The College Dropout", which was a great album, in short. West's rep was increased dramatically after being on Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" for a couple songs after this creative outburst.

His second CD, Late Registration, was a breakout, with hits such as "Gold Digger" (which was a MONSTER), "Touch the Sky", and "Heard 'Em Say". Rolling Stone magazine chose the CD as the best album of the year on their list of "The Year's 50 Best Albums". West was put on the radar as an elite lyricist, one of the few that hail from ChiTown (I'm not saying he's the only one there, though). It was also Grammy-nominated for "Album of the Year" and won "Best Rap Album of the Year" in this ceremony.

In 2007 he put out "Graduation", an all-around just plain great album. He scored a mega-hit in "Stronger", and big hits in "Flashing Lights" and "Good Life". Everybody knew by now that Kanye is a bit flashy, and cocky, but can back up his mouth. Self-control is not a strength for West; the flashy, creative Kanye got most of his fans from this aspect of him.

And here comes 808s & Heartbreak. Not exactly the flashy, cocky Kanye. But, rather, the controlled and rather sad Kanye. I'll let the song breakdown say it all. I'm breaking down the whole CD at the end, y'all. So don't just read this!


1. Say You Will - Kanye shows right off the bat that he has the ability so sing, and he sets the somber tone for the song right at the beginning. It's got an interesting beat and synth pattern, but with the repetitive lyrics and beats it gets kinda boring after a little bit of listening to it, obviously making it less interesting. In the middle there he stops singing abruptly, leaving the synth beat to go on for the three minutes that's left in the song, leaving you sitting there feeling a bit stupid. The song is sad, just like all of the other ones. But compared to the other songs on the album, it's pretty good.

2. Welcome To Heartbreak featuring Kid Kudi - At the beginning there, the beat sounded kind of Linkin Park-ish, kinda like "In The End". Or maybe that's just me. But whatever it is, it's a cool synth beat. Kanye starts singing behind the synthesizers, making his sorrow seem slightly distant and away from the song. Showing his sort of regret at his life in this song, just like all of the others, these depressing lyrics include: My friends showed me some pictures of his kids/And all I could show him was some pictures of my cribs. The title says a lot. Welcome To Heartbreak, indeed. His heart, I mean. I'm sorry, Mr. West.

3. Heartless - The chorus is hooky, kind of in "Can't Tell Me Nothing" territory, it sounds good. And whoah! Is that Kanye rapping? It is, and it sounds great. Why didn't he just make the whole CD like that, huh? But the lyrics were still somber and all, "But in the end it's still so lonely". Kinda depressing stuff. But it's got a nice hook, and the bass/synths sound good in this one, especially because there aren't many on his voice this time. One of the best tracks on this album. But, still, repetitive with the lyrics and music.

4. Amazing featuring Young Jeezy -The beginning of this song is catchy, but he gets off saying "It's amazing" too many times, with the little Jeezy noises in the middle. Y'all know what I'm talking about. A ton of synths on his voice, again. I don't like the Jeezy parts in between the "It's amazing"s, or his part in the end there. But I don't really like Young Jeezy anyways, so don't take my word fo that one. Again, it's a sad song. And repetitive. Again. Those are some themes on this CD.

5. Love Lockdown - This was the first single, and it's catchy. Again, he's going through a ton of synthesizers and it's a bit depressing. The first line says it all, "I'm not loving you/The way I wanted to". Nevertheless, it's catchy and has a nice hook. But, it's repetitive again. Kind of annoying. Oh yeah, and it's kinda cute how he over-synthesizes his voice when he says "system overload". Funny.

6. Paranoid featuring Mr. Hudson - Wow. Kanye's rapping. For ONE verse. And it's GREAT. Thanks for that, Mr. West. Showing us how good the album could've been. Sorry for all the negativity, guys. I just miss Kanye's raps that were great. All this singing stuff for him is kind of an acquired taste. Even though it sounds happy-ish, it's still a sad song, and repetitive again. It's got a nice beat there at the beginning, but it tapers off into a kind of cheesy bouncy beat, even more un West-like than the rest of it. But the first verse is great stuff.

7. RoboCop - It starts with that interesting beat, kind of sounds like industrial metal for a second there. But then it turned to pop-like stuff, and I just didn't like it. The strings part is reminiscent of Viva La Vida by Coldplay (that new hit), and it didn't really work with the song very well. Again, it's somber and repetitive. Notice a pattern?

8. Street Lights - Kanye's singing again. And I'm still getting used to it. This song is pretty reminiscent of male pop singers, One Republic comes to mind, mostly. It's just got that depressing element like all the others, and repetition of lyrics and music.

9. Bad News - This one has a cool beat, and I tend to like most of the beats/bass in this album. Just there's more sadness. Man, this is depressing. The title says it all. The song is about bad news. Parts of it just go on and on and on . . . and it follows the old patterns.

10. See You In My Nightmares featuring Lil Wayne - Wow, Kanye and Weezy in the same song! I lean a little bit closer to my computer screen for this one, and I am entranced by the catchy beat at the beginning . . . only to hear Wayne start doing the same thing that West has been doing the whole album. Disappointing. It's kind of hooky, and the main line is: Tell everyone that you now/That I don't love you no more. How sadder can you get? And Weezy comes close to an exciting lyric with: I got the right to put up a fight . . . only to have it finish with: But not quite, because you cut off my light. DAMMIT!

11. Coldest Winter - Where's the happiness, y'all? It all got sucked out with this song. These songs keep sounding the same now. And it's making me mad. OK, now I'm writing out of emotion. I should stop this. I'm done now. OK, again, it's sad and kinda repetitive.

12. Pinocchio Story (freestyle live from Singapore) - You should look up the lyrics to this song and see them for yourself. There is so much emotion in it I don't know where to begin. And I have to point out one thing: If he wants to be the said "real boy", then why doesn't he retire and step down from the stage right then? performing isn't going to help him. This song is truly heart wrenching.

Mr. West can sing. We have just learned that. Yes, he's going through a bunch of synths, but he can do it, and he did. This album was truly brave. Gone is the college dropout bear, and he's dropping the out-of-control moniker for the moment for some serious stuff. Very depressing music. He had a long, disappointing year, and he took out his sadness with this album. We get a real look into Kanye's thoughts and views, and, yes, his sadness. I did say that a bit too much in my explanation, so I'm sorry if I did. But if anyone here is contemplating suicide, don't get this album.

It does put you into a bad mood, so you better be really sad already or TOO happy to listen to it. It's kind of an acquired taste, and I don't really want to acquire it. I liked the old West. He'll come back. We'll see the rap/hip hop West in a year or so. This type of creativity was something that he needed, and it's truly interesting. We see his raw sadness and emotion displayed here, and it seems like he doesn't care what you think about it. This CD is very self-explanatory. The icy beats and synths are there throughout, and you should listen to some of the songs even if you don't buy it. It's interesting enough. It was a bit of a disappointment to me, though.

We'll see the old Kanye after this creativity passes. I hope. Anyways, here's a song/video that y'all should see if you haven't already. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0GsrYwAPOU&feature=related
COOL OUTRAGEOUS LOVERS OF UNIQUELY RAW STYLE! Haha. I'm out like whoever's playing the Celtics on the day you're reading this. Peace!

--Moose

23 comments:

Money Bill Williams said...

Ok so I am breaking my number one rule and commenting from work.
Been a while since I have graced you all with my presence but my laptop has & is broken indefintely.
Good work holding it down Moose ( & RV )

I am with you too Moose, as a big fan I had high expetations and ran to grab this from shops on it's release date. I was especially pumped coz I have front row tixs to Mr West next weekend in Sydney.

Let's just say that I hate this album so much that I am contemplating boycotting the show altogether and being $150 out of pocket(I had real good seats). Poor album, good review ( I share all the same thoughts on the singing and over repetitiveness too!)

Moose said...

MBW, thanks for commenting, man! I thought your computer was broken or something, we haven't even seen your comments! It's all good, my man. Thanks for the compliments, dude.

I wouldn't skip the concert, man. Front row! Maybe you'll be able to see Kanye's tears! That was mean. Sorry bout that, y'all.

But seriously, go to the concert, Money Bill. Losing 150 bucks just to spite Kanye isn't that great, especially because he won't know haha. But he might bring out a surprise and do Stronger, or something sick like that. Yes, I was disappointed, but I'd still go to his concert in the front row! Ya dig? Have fun if you decide to go, man! Thanks for the compliments and the comment!

Moose said...

And this CD deserves that you listen to it three or four times. I'm going to do that. Maybe I'll like it by the end. I recommend y'all do it too. We should give Kanye his chance. He started out a pioneer with College Dropout, so we should give him a chance. Maybe the opinions won't be changed, but I'm giving him another chance.

CoCo said...

Mr. West cannot sing and I resent any implications that he can. I just don't see how anyone can listen to an album full of songs with that annoying ass voice machine thingy. I'd rather ram rusted nails into my eyeballs than listen to that shit willingly.

JoeBasketball said...

I'm a huge fan of Kanye, and I have high expectations for this album. I wanted to get the CD on the first day, but I know I'm getting it for my birthday in December, so you can bet your ass I'm not paying for it as well!

I love Mr. West, when he dropped graduation he was making the best music in the industry. His previous three albums were brilliant, but I'm actually quite glad he has decided to change from what was already quite unique hip hop to the creative music of his new album. It shows his ability to work under his own influences and not try to fit in with the rest of the hip hop genre.

As I've previously said, I haven't yet listened to 808s & heartbreak properly. I've heard a few of the songs, but I want to sit down and listen to it in full before I make any judgement. From what I've heard so far, I love it. I must of listened to street lights at least 50 times since Sunday, it's by far my favorite song at the moment. I'm impressed with the released records; Love lockdown & Heartless, as well as the leaked ones; Coldest winter & Robocop. I guess the music he's now making in this new direction is probably a love-hate thing, and I personally love it. My opinion is that he shows his feelings of heartbreak so well, unlike any other artist has done before.

I guess it's possible that the reason I love this type of music so much is because I've experienced what Kanye's been through. Not to get too soppy, but when you can relate to what he's saying, the feelings he stresses will probably make more sense. I think it's brilliant how he uses the autotune so well to emphasise the effect of heartbreak, and what may come off as dull and repetative, to me just shows the pain of the man.

Until I listen to it myself, I can't pass judgemennt on the album, but from what I've heard of it so far, I'm seriously impressed. Thanks for the review Moose.

By the way, I need a fly blogger name like you guys, anybody got any suggestions? GypsyJoe maybe?

Moose said...

Joe, the CD is self-explanatory. I've been listening to it more and I've liked it more and more so far. I haven't gotten to actually LIKE it yet, but I'm liking it more. As for your name, I'm sorry, I don't know. I'll holla back if I think of something.

Hisham said...

Hi,

I clicked your name on slamonline.com when i saw that you reviewed the new Kanye album. I went to his last stop on the Glow in the Dark Tour in Rotterdam last night. Pretty good show. For the first hour or so, he did some stuff off the Graduation album, plus some older hits. And then, just when i thought it was over, he did like 4 tracks from the new album. I really enjoyed the first part of the concert, hated the new stuff. Wow did that suck.. I'm still going to give the album a listen though. maybe two, to see if it'll grow on me. But let's hope he does like common and comes back strong after this weird experimental stuff

BETURKEY said...

Look, i disliked the style of the album, i disliked the T-Painess it let off, BUT that 'See You In My Nightmares' trac is now my ringtone. THAT SONG IS THE SH!T.

Money Bill Williams said...

I'm with you CoCo, and if I wanted to listen to a young male singer I would have bought John Legend's cd which would more than likely not have that chipmunked ass shit T-Pain style voice mixer. And Moose, I personally hate all Kanye's big hits ( Stronger, Golddigger). Those songs were overplayed and pretty weak songwise.

I prefer such tracks as Spaceship, Everything I Am, Goodmorning, The Glory etc etc you get the picture.
Kanye trying to be commercial just plain sucks

Money Bill Williams said...

Haha, for my first post back on it I will tell you all whether the concert was good or not

Hursty said...

Yeh.... whatever. Im kinda apathetic towards it atm. It's ok, but I'm not really enjoying it right now. Its different, so I give him ups for that. But its pretty basic.
From his old stuff, I prefer:
all falls down
spaceship
slow jamz (cos its funny too)
can't tell me nothing
family business
through the wire
jesus walks
I havent listened to Late Registration in aggges so I cant remember anything about it haha
PS- Nice to hear from you Money :)
PPS- Bloc Party= crap concert... URGH

Moose said...

Thanks for the comments, fellas. So I guess we've concluded that the CD is very self-explanatory, based on these comments. I still don't know my opinion yet . . .

AR said...

Kanye can't sing and what he's doing isn't unique or original,but it's good.If you want originality in hip hop,listen to MIA.

Don't ever go to a Kanye Concert,it's just not worth the trouble for a 45minute set.

Hursty:On Bloc Party:I could have told you that.

Moose said...

Thanks for dropping by, AR. And by the way, when I say that his new CD is unique and original, I mean that it's unique and original for Kanye and his field of hip hop. You know, Kanye isn't known for this stuff at all. Until he put this CD out.

Anonymous said...

"Rambis won’t be no Tom Thibodeau. And Phil, I resent that statement. You can’t tell us nothing after we beat you in the NBA Finals."

1. Moose, what do you understand about zone defences? The answer is virtually nothing.

2. Moose, why do you talk about the C's run as if you had some hand in it, and are, indeed a part of the organization?
The answer is that you are an idiot who most likely did not even attend one game last year. YOU ARE NOT A CELTIC. YOU DID NOT BEAT ANYONE IN THE FINALS OF ANYTHING, LIKE, EVER.

In fact, Phil can tell you whatever he damn well pleases, because he not only MADE it to the NBA (RESPECT that, fool!), he is one of the greatest coaches of all time. You have never made it the NBA, or the NBDL, or even the top tier of your local Y league.

4. I'm really surprised you din't manage to throw in one of your trademark urbanisms, like y'all.

5. You're such a douche.

In so many ways you pretend to be something you are not. I'd guillotine your "writing" hand if I got half the chance. Douche.

Moose said...

Anonymous:

I hear everything that you're saying. Here're my responses:

1. I think that Thibodeau is underrated and is better than most at his field. I just think that he'll be better than Rambis, that's all.

2. The Celtics are my team. I like to think that as a fan, with me supporting them, I can represent the Celtics in a way because of my support on SLAM online. In no way do I think that I'm part of the franchise.

3. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Phil Jackson. He is a genius, a guy who has won an incredible amount of titles/awards, and I truly, truly respect him for all of that, don't get me wrong.

4. I didn't know that using words like that is my "trademark" at all. I just throw them around, they just come out on the keyboard, you know? I'm sorry if they bother you.

I'm sorry that you feel that way about my writing. I think that with a lot of my comments we have a misunderstanding, and again, I'm sorry that you feel that way. Have a good one.

RV said...

Moose, its not even worth responding to those who just want to hate. We accept criticism, but he's just hating. Can't leave his name, can't have an adult conversation, not worth it. I don't think he knows you're only 13, if he doesn't, take it as a compliment, if he does, then he's a fool for doing so, because regardless of whether you're right or wrong you're just starting out. You still have years to learn and improve and are already ahead of the teenage pack as far as I'm concerned.

Justin said...

Interestingly enough, I loved Kanye's new album for the same reason some bloggers hate it. It's repetitive. But let's think deep for a moment. When somebody is totally heartbroken, when somebody loses their fiance, and his mother dies...You know what he probably does? "Tell everybody that you know, that I dont love you no more, and that's one thing that you know, that you know" ALL the repetition in that song is exactly how alot of people react to such emotional trauma...They repeat things over and over, rocking back and forth in the fetal position, begging their mind for a break. I am a huge fan of late registration, college dropout and graduation. This album was just different. And I love it. I wasn't pissed that he did Auto-Tune, because in my view he didn't do it to be T-PAIN; he did it because the way autotune went for his voice, he didn't sound human. In fact, he didn't feel human while making that album with all that sadness, so the choice is fitting. Another difference between kanye on autotune and t-pain? Kanye doesnt fuck with pitch while doing auto tune, he just rattles off his lyrics 95% of the time, and when he sings it, he's more crooning than anything. Listen to the song Bad news to know just what I mean. Oh well, everybody deserves their own opinions, and I cherish them like I value my own. I just feel 808's and Heartbreak is better than 99% of the trash albums that came out this year. In fact, the only album this year that's better was TI's album. So MOOSE, There's my thoughts.

Hursty said...

Thats a very different perspective on the album vs. whats said here. So thankyou for that. I wonder whether he thought of that during production. I imagine so, if Kanye is such a great producer then he likely did.

Moose said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Justin. I probably should have thought the same way and taken the album for what it was rather than for what it wasn't. Thanks again. And I've been listening to the CD a lot more recently, and I gotta tell you, it's helped a lot. I'm enjoying it a lot more, even liking it.

Justin said...

You're Welcome Hursty 'n Moose. This blog is becoming string music.

JoeBasketball said...

I agree completely with Justin. The autotune is used perfectly to give the effect of heartbreak.

Moose said...

Justin, sorry that I don't understand your "string music" metaphor . . . but I don't. May you explain?

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