From the Vault...


Kanye West
"808s And Heartbreak"

© Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records

Year of Release: 1983

track listing
  • Say You Will
  • Welcome To Heartbreak
  • Heartless
  • Amazing
  • Love Lockdown
  • Paranoid
  • RoboCop
  • Street Lights
  • Bad News
  • See You In My Nightmares
  • Coldest Winter
  • Pinocchio Story

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    Kanye West
    "808s And Heartbreak"

    When it comes to rappers, I try to listen with an open mind and frame. (Most, if not all Rap/Hip Hop albums reviewed on our website are the result of reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 200. Kanye West had led a so-called interesting life, yet some controversy. The biggest "issue" is when he approached the stage during Taylor Swift's award acceptance at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. West proclaimed on Beyonce's song, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)", and saying it was one of the best videos ever made. He was removed from the stage and told to leave. Many celebrities were outraged by West's outburst, including President Barack Obama. West did apologize for his actions. Kanye West's mother had passed away in 2007. He had a long relationship with fiancee Alexis Phifer, which ended.

    Kanye West's first success was the #1 hit "Gold Digger" (2005). Not my favorite song, but it was #1 for 10 weeks. His first albums were also #1: Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007). His third #1 album was 808s And Heartbreak (2008). The impact of West's controversies and issues were the result of this album.

    Considered more of a Pop album, there is very little rapping, which rappers are most famous for. In fact, I can actually say that I enjoy this album. The music is professional, even with the use of the Auto-Tune voice processor, producing a more electronic sound. (This resembles, but not sounding exactly to, the "mouth organ" of which Stevie Wonder used on his later albums.)

    The album begins with a very impressive and soulful song, "Say You Will" The music contained on this song is equally superb. Another good "Pop/Rock" song is the next tune, "Welcome To Heartbreak."

    Although this album is considered "Pop," there are songs that can easily fit today's Rap/Hip Hop formats: Songs such as "Heartless," and "Amazing" -- which the latter song has more of an R&B style, yet a little bit of rap.

    Perhaps the best song from this album, and I was quite impressed when I first heard it, is "Love Lockdown." This song reminds me of how good Stevie Wonder has always been.

    Now on to the least portion of the album: The next two songs just really didn't do anything for me, maybe because it sounds basically the "same old, same old" you hear in today's Rap/Hip Hop. Those songs are "Paranoid" and "RoboCop." I would choose "RoboCop" being the better of the two.

    The album returns with the soulful sounds: "Street Lights" is a very nice song. The slower parts are the standouts of the song, rather than the upbeat tempos. "Bad News" isn't bad at all (despite the title). It's beter than the preceding song "Street Lights" -- Soulful.

    "See You In My Nightmares" is pretty good; almost in the style of "Love Lockdown." And the term "pretty good" gets the same nod on "Coldest Winter." The last track, "Pinocchio Story" goes with the least listened to songs mentioned earlier.

    Not all Rap albums are as bad. 808s And Heartbreak is an exception. The "Pop/Rock" style is much better than Rap here. Kanye West did extremely well with this album, despite the issues he encountered. "Love Lockdown" and "Say You Will" are the standouts for my musical tastes. The rest of the album (depsite the least mentioned tunes), go with the flow extremely well.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1305
    Next Review: #1307
    Keith Richards--Talk Is Cheap