Review : KANYE WEST - 808s & Heartbreak
BillboardKanye West has had a rough year (the death of his mother, splitting from his fiancee), so it's not surprising to hear raw emotion and frustration on his fourth album. He's not mincing words when it comes to women: He's the victim who's been mistreated on "Heartless," and he's unable to wrench himself away from an ex-lover on "Say You Will." While interesting, these tracks aren't nearly as fun as the cocky "Amazing" ("I'm a monster/I'm a maven") and the Lil Wayne-assisted "See You in My Nightmares," where he gains the upper hand in a breakup. Sonically, West pushes the envelope by relying on the drum machine from which the album takes its title, as well as the ever-popular vocoder. In the end, it seems that no matter how pained West is, as long as his one true love—himself—is intact, he will prevail in the face of adversity. —Mariel Concepcion...full text
CulturebullyIn three months Kanye West has stirred up a ridiculous level of hysteria surrounding 808s & Heartbreak, putting the album’s hype on par with any other release this year (almost). That being said, the album is just as much an experimental artistic venture as it is an experimental study in digital market and consumer behavior. When he was running around airports asking people to listen to samples of his new recordings, Kanye wasn’t just looking for feedback from strangers. When he debuted the video for “Love Lockdown” on The Ellen Degeneres Show he wasn’t just debuting a video. When Kanye continued to push the release date of the album up, he wasn’t doing so to simply compete with pirates who might leak it. Regardless of what’s driving him, the man has become the most effective self-promoter in the digital age of music; Kanye is his own street-team, does his own promotions and takes care of his own research and development. In that respect, 808s is an album like no other before it. But all that aside, when actually listening to the music, the first thing that comes to mind is, “What’s with the autotune asphyxiation, Kanye?”...full text
GuardianBateman. Great suits, delusions of grandeur: the über-yuppie from Brett Easton Ellis's Eighties satire American Psycho is an ideal touchstone for someone whose self-regard and addiction to shopping had grown so out of hand that even other rappers might have thought him a bit flash. West announced Bateman's influence on his fourth album, 808s and Heartbreak, earlier this year, sidestepping feminist outrage by citing the way his role model 'was all about labels', rather than admiring his creative approach to butchering women.
808s and Heartbreak
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West has also clocked the moral of Easton Ellis's tale: there's more to life than buying stuff, even cool Japanese stuff you can picture on your blog (something West does himself with alarming frequency). The twin wake-up calls were the sudden death of his mother, Donda, following plastic surgery last year, and the demise of his engagement to designer Alexis Phifer in April. Hence this album-long bout of emotional stock taking. Ten of the 11 tracks are inspired by the break-up, one by his mum, and the tone is that of a globe-trotting millionaire picking at the gold bars of his luxurious cage. 'My friend showed me pictures of his kids/ All I could show him was pictures of my cribs,' he confesses during swooning opener 'Welcome to Heartbreak'. West's restraint is admirable for one so used to getting what he wants: some of his peers would have nipped to Africa and blown a few grand on an orphan....full text
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