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Kanye West 808's & Heartbreak, Review
808’s & Heartbreak, Rap Genius Review, by iRodTouch
Following the loss of his mother, and the separation from his fiancé, Kanye West released an album that went in a whole different direction than any of his albums that came before. 808’s stands for the TR-808 Drum Machine, and Heartbreak stands for the state of devastation we can assume Kanye was in during the making of the album. A synthesized voice with simple repetitive lyrics on top of heavy drums, and other electric instruments wrapped into a ball with Kanye’s pure emotions bursting at every seam, the album flowed amazingly. Though not a single aspect stood out, altogether it just sounded right.
Say You Will — The album starts of with “Say You Will” A simple drum beat with two alternating high pitched tones on top of a constant “ahh” sound. Altogether there are 8 bars total in the sound. He sings two each verse before the chorus hits “Say You Will” stays true to the longer outros, with 3 minutes of nothing but the beat.
Welcome To Heartbreak — Kanye raps about the Highs and lows, and the Goods and bads in his life. The beat had a violin in the background with a keyboard on top of that and a constant “smacking” sound. Kid Cudi did great on the chorus and I kind of wish he had his own verse. He was on of the only features that sounded good.
Heartless — This song about a girl quickly became an anthem for people who let the one get away. A keyboard, a bass, and a steady “clap” through out the song flows very well into the chorus and back out again. “Heartless” is in the upper echelon of song when it comes to lyrics on 808’s and Heartbreak and Kanye goes more bars per verse than most songs on the album.
Amazing — Piano, drums and a choir that comes in when the chorus hits, “Amazing” has a relatively simple beat, Despite the fact that the word amazing was uttered 55 times it was alright until Jeezy came in with his deep hoarse voice which just sounded out of place in this album.
Paranoid — More keyboard, drums, and repetitive lyrics, by this point in the album you anticipate it, but somehow there is a significant difference in every single beat, and that’s why it works. Better lyrics again in “Paranoid” and you Mr. Hudson was the perfect voice for this song, in my opinion the best feature on the album.
Robocop — My personal favorite song on the entire album. Starts out with heavy bass, but the beat actually switches up a lot through out the song. “Just looking at your history, You’re like the girl from misery” What? A movie reference on 808’s & Heartbreak? Yes, by far the best line “lyricism” wise on the entire album. At the end of the song Kanye West samples “Kissing the Rain” and starts in on “Spoiled little LA girls” Kanye, A fan of Tenacious D, also gets his inner Jack Black on while saying “Haha, that was a good one, your first good one in a while” He stated that that is the closest he could get to a “real” Jack Black moment.
Street Lights — They say sometimes less is more, and I think that’s the case with “Street Lights” At one point in the song Kanye says “Life’s just not fair” Just when he got it all, he lost it all. His mom who was clearly one of the most important people in his life and his long time girlfriend/fiancé were no longer a part of his life, One literally and on metaphorically, I think this one song almost sums up the whole album.
Bad News — Samples “See Line Woman” by Nina Simone heavily, the same drum beat but with a keyboard, and violin. Kanye’s voice is also very altered by Auto Tune in this song which gives it a very different sound, which some people may like and other people may dislike. I for one am a fan. There’s actually only 2 minutes of lyrics followed up by a 2 minutes outro with only the beat.
See You In My Nightmares — I have mixed feelings about this song, the beat is fine, and I actually like Lil Wayne on the hook, but his verse, similar to Jeezy’s, just doesn’t sound right, especially with his voice almost squeaking at the beginning of lines. Kanye on the other hand was good, and showed some real emotion, he was practically yelling when he said “that you know” in the second verse but it actually sounded all right. I think all around it there was more good than bad and because of that. .
Coldest Winter — The last “actual” song on the album is Coldest Winter, which is a recreation of “Memories Fade” by Tears for Fears. Kanye sings about the memories of his darkest days a.k.a. his Coldest Winter, Wondering if he will “ever love again” after the loss of his mother and the split of his fiancé Kanye composes a very repetitive yet, very beautiful song.
Pinocchio Story — Although it’s not listed as a bonus track I consider it one, a freestyle live from Singapore Kanye goes off the top of his head in front of a screaming crowd which grows quite annoying, Pretty emotional and his voice cracks multiple times throughout, clearly not the best freestyle lyrically but it’s decent none the less.
You can’t review and album such as 808’s & Heartbreak as a hip hop album because that’s not what it is, This review is based less on the below average lyricism and more on the beats and the way it flows, that being said the beats were average, but I think the album flowed amazingly, I found my self bobbing to almost every sound and although you knew the song change, they all sounded really well together and they all belonged. 808’s & Heartbreak clearly isn’t Kanye’s best work, but it’s different, And for better or worse Kanye once again reinvented himself. This album lead the way for artist like B.o.B. Kid Cudi, and the guy who has pretty much mastered the craft Drake. It wasn’t a great album but the music industry may not be the same right now with out it, I think in the long run 808’s & Heartbreak will probably be over looked in the big picture. Rightfully so in some peoples eyes, why should a Kanye West album that clearly didn’t live up to Kanye West standards be remembered as one of the greats? It shouldn’t. But it should be remembered. It was innovative. Innovative is good. If I want to hear something different instead of the same old hip hop all the time, I can listen to this. All together I liked the album, and would recommend listening to it.
808’s & Heartbreak
I can’t say I agree with this but good review. I had a higher opinion of most of the tracks you rated.
You mean you thought they were better?? m just interested.
I’d have to say Kid Cudi isnpired Kanye… Not the other way around. Kanye signed Cudi after hearing his mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, and then made this album and even brought Cudi in.
Tough album to review… It’s not one that has tough, tricky songs. They’re all simple and a lot of electronic driven music that is long a drawn out at times, but in the end it all fits very well together.
And as far as your Heartless analysis, I never thought it was about “the one that got away.”
Yeah, I liked Bad News over Robocop. And Amazing over Robocop as well.
But this is your review, don’t let fools with their opinions down talk you.
Lots of people listened could relate to it if they had went through a tough break up with someone they really liked, I was talking about the fans reception of the song.
The beats, hooks, and flow were my favorite thing about this album as well. The lyrics were meh. Also agreed with Taurusno3. I would rate most of the songs a little higher. All in all a solid review. I’m going to re-listen to this album now.
Okay, as a fan I took Heartless as story about a guy that loved a woman, broke up and then realized that it was an awful relationship. The woman was cold and… Heartless.
The only reason I held back from rating songs a little higher is because I’m a HUGE Kanye West fan and took on this album knowing that, and the last thing I wanted to do was be biased, I don’t think it affected it that much maybe a .5 here and there.
I guess I can see that too, 6x
Good point iRT.
Haha, iRT, I like it.
Ever since I got some really nice headphones, this album is always a blast to blast.
My friend has beats, all the songs sound amazing in them.
I have to say that this album did pave the way for artists like Drake and Kid Cudi who put a lot of emotion into their music. Most of their stuff can be considered cross genre.
As for Kid Cudi inspiring Kanye West, I have to disagree. Kanye’s brought a new element every time he releases an album. So good call there iRod.
Anyway, great review of a tough album.