Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Album Review: Kanye West bombs on 808s & Heartbreak

I picked up Kanye West's latest effort -- "808s & Heartbreak" -- yesterday afternoon at Target. And man, I wish I would have saved my money [$10] for something else.

I drove around and listened to the whole album and I just wasn't feeling it. Clearly, this album is nothing you could compare to his three earlier releases [College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation]. Maybe I was wrong for thinking this album would be similar to the earlier projects.

Mr. West, who seemed to be in a trance throughout the album, makes an honest effort to re-invent himself and his musical sound, but it just didn't sit well with me. It's like food you swallowed, but threw back up because something didn't taste right.

"Say You Will," the first track, felt like a really long interlude that wouldn't end. It even included a long three-minute plus instrumental midway through the six-minute track. I think he was trying to put people to sleep with that. Next song, please.

"Welcome to Heartbreak" is the equivalent of another long interlude. "My friend showed me pictures of his kids / And all I could show him were pictures of my cribs / He said his daughter got a brand-new report card / And all I got was a brand-new sports car," he said in the opening verse.

Young Jeezy's feature is the only bright spot in the dry and lifeless track, "Amazing." That's assuming you can sit through it for more than two-minutes before Jeezy joins in.

Throughout the album, Kanye relied on the Auto-Tune sound that T-Pain has put his stamp on. For the record, the Auto-Tune sound works for T-Pain. I don't think the glove fits for Mr. West. Let's try something else. (Note: Auto-Tune is a pitch-correction software that gives off the robotic vocal effect. Just listen to any T-Pain song.)

It did take me awhile to actualy like "Love Lockdown" when it first came out. And I even enjoy his second single "Heartless," but that's about it. "Paranoid" gets honorable mention because I kinda like the 80's sounding uptempo beat. Kanye West and Lil' Wayne at Summer Jam in New Jersey / Photo: MFEENZ

Without question Kanye has endured quite a bit personally, including the death of his mother last year and break up from his fiance. "Coldest Winter" is a song about his late mother. It's possible creating this album was therapy for Mr. West. He certainly seemed upset on "See You In My Nigtmare" featuring Lil' Wayne. "Tell everybody that you know / That I don`t love you no more / And that`s one thing that you know / That you know / That you know," West says.

Or maybe Kanye got too cocky and started feeling himself a little bit too much. Maybe he thought he could take a risk with this album and it would pay off.

Overall, listening to "808s & Heartbreak" made me feel like I was listening to a homemade album that some disturbed kid recorded in his attic or basement. Then the kid brings the album out to his friends and says, "Listen to what I created." Everyone tells the kid it was good because they didn't want to hurt his feelings, but in reality the recordings are not all that great. That's how I feel about Kanyeezy's "808s & Heartbreak."

Will Kanye be able to rebound from this train wreck? I think so.

After all, this is the same guy who outsold 50 Cent when the two released albums on the same day.

Kanye is still capable of making great music, however, "808s & Heartbreak" just was not it, for me.

This is my message to Kanye -- comes courtesy of his second album, Late Registration: "Wake up Mr. West!"

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