WIRTB Review: Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak

By @SpeedontheBeat

As with Yeezus, I'm going to get the TL;DR foolishness out the way. No, Kanye's delve into Auto-Tune wasn't that bad. But, does that mean it was a good album? Eh...we'll see.

The album opens up with "Say You Will," a chilling track about, well, a breakup and heartbreak and the components of what happens in such an event. However, since artists from Drake to rapper-turned-journalist D Dot Omen freestyled over the track, I can't help but hear someone rapping over it. And as much as I want to say the original shines through, Drake's freestyle trumps the original. Sorry.

But, after the repossessed intro, we get the Kid Cudi-aided "Welcome to Heartbreak," which feels more like Yeezus-lite than anything. It's quite distorted and Cudi's borderline suicidal chorus hammers home the point of the album: Yeezy is hurting. And hard. The instrumental is multiple layers and feels more industrial than some of the other parts of the album. This allows for Kanye and Cudi to Auto-Tune sing their hearts out about how fucked up the glitz and glamour is, when it doesn't allow you to show pictures of your kids and whatnot. Yes, it seems slightly whiny, but it's a valid concern.

Up next is "Heartless." The video's better than the song. That's all I can really say about it. "Amazing," featuring Young Jeezy, has been ruined by all of those NBA ads around the year or so after the album was released. But, the lines "I'm a monster...I'm a killer. I know I'm wrong./I'm a problem, that'll never, ever be solved," in some ways set up MBDTF's "Monster" and showcase this fact: Kanye West, in this album, isn't supposed to be just the heartbroken man who lost his mom and his girl. He's also an asshole who's become an asshole because of the industry he's apart of (somewhat). "Love Lockdown," when you think about this "me versus the industry and love" concept, can be interpreted as Kanye being in a mentally abusive relationship with fame--and love. He wants something he can't have. But, undergrad psychology aside, it's an okay song. Seven years later, it's nothing really that special.

And that's a flaw of the album: none of the album is really that special, that out-of-this-world. Stick with me, 808s fans, before you crucify my thoughts.

Keep in mind that I am a fan of this album. I do think that some of it is actually kind of genius. So, I'm allowed to go out on a limb and say it's an album that somewhat gets stuck in neutral at points because it tries to be so "different," but ultimately fails at its differentiating because Kanye's emotions take a back seat to the production. Will I randomly belt out "MEMORIES MADE IN THE COLDEST WINTER!!!" randomly? Yes. Did I have "Street Lights" as a ringer for a young woman at one point? Yes. Is it an album that can make you sad and think a bit? Yes. Hell, I listened to this album a lot after my mom died.

However, many of Kanye's emotions failed to translate that well onto wax. So, honestly, the album wasn't that bad. However, I still wish that some of the emotions would've shone through more. That keeps me from saying "808s is a classic." It's not that bad and I appreciate it for what it is. But, it's not a classic. It's just an okay-to-good album. I wasn't expecting a "Hey Mama (Live)," but I wanted a bit more emotion from an artist who's never really been afraid to show his feelings.


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