25 November 2008

808s & Heartbreak

Well Kanye won't win any prizes for album title subtlety, seeing his fourth offering is basically made up predominantly of the Roland TR-808 drum machine (as it can be used to"evoke emotion"....go figure) and a turbulent year for West himself; the death of his mother and a split from his fiancée. So you can forgive him for the overwhelming woe-is-me feel of the album.

Two other main factors of the album are the use of AutoTune/Vocoder and the complete lack of rapping. Seriously. Gutted for all the kids who like to think they're from "da ghetto" then buy this album, just because it's Kanye, and get just one track featuring a rap (new single "Heartless"). If anything, the album is rooted in classic 80's pop, than 21st century hip-hop. West has already said that he has a soft spot for pop and that some of the "greatest" singers of all time were pop artists, specifically Madonna and Michael Jackson (obviously he hasn't heard their last few releases).

But for all the background and bumfluff, for all the concepts and melancholy,
808s & Heartbreak just comes off as a bit bland really. Opener "Say You Will" is fine musically, but Kanye's vocals are instantly forgettable, as are most of the tracks on the album. In fact, the collaboration tracks (with Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, Mr. Hudson and Lil' Wayne) are the best here, seemingly as they're not all Kanye moping about. Lead single "Love Lockdown" is pretty much a work of genius from the "college dropout"; distorted vocals and tribal drums gel together suprisingly well, but from here, 808s... is downhill, right down to the final track "Pinocchio Story" a freestyle from a gig in Singapore. Pretty pointless really, it's a dirge of a track and I lost track of what Kanye was on about half way through, so I switched to The Wombats.

808s & Heartbreak is a suprising curveball, a confident change in direction for one of the biggest rappers around. Yet, despite the actual heartbreak behind it, you'd think West would find something positive out of the whole experience instead of turning into a sort of hip-hop Morrissey. At least he can make misery seem interesting, he's been doing it for 26 years.


Speaking of The Wombats, they're releasing a Christmas singe. No, wait...come back! It may not seem so much at first but it's a grower. Despite the Les Dennis cameo. Just ignore the first ten seconds when you hear it, then go buy it. Or Glasvegas' Crimbo mini-album. They're more deserving than whichever sorry excuse for humanity wins X Factor of the Xmas Number One (except that Diana one, she's rather fit) and also better than the other over-sweet festive sludge being released around this time.

7/10 (The Wombats - Is This Christmas?)
8.5/10 (Glasvegas - Please Come Back Home)

1 comment:

Diichan?! said...

I actually like love lockdown, haven't heard the other stuff but I trust your opinion dearie. <3

In other news, I heard the wombats crimbo single today, and was like..is that...was that...wombats? : \ Something? I dunno. I thought it was them, thank you for confirming that. : )

Also, Diana is cute not fit. : \ KYOOT. <3 And I want her tassle dress thing from topshop lol. xD She's my fave atm, even though I dont watch it.