Monday, November 24, 2008
FINALLY: 808's and Heartbreak
Well...release day is finally here, and after bombarding you with every tiny bit of info available for this album, I guess I should tell you what I think about the finished product, right?
First things first, if you were reluctant to check out 808's and Heartbreak because you weren't too sure about some of the leaked stuff you've heard, rest assured that the final mix of most songs is very different from what we've been listening to for the last few weeks.
As far as the music itself...
Kanye's newest work is something that we don't get alot of in the post-iTunes world. It's an actual album. A collection of music with a singular concept, central theme and continuous sound. Each track sounds better as part of a whole than as a stand-alone expression.
808's manages to be very dark and personal without crossing over into being annoying. Let there be no doubt, this album lives up to its title. There's no break from the "sad bastard" music here. Without going into a separate rant, this album's content is especially impressive to me because it reaches into emotions that Black males artists are usually afraid to, or not allowed to touch on in mainstream music.
Initially, as bits and pieces of the album were coming across the internet, I was disappointed with lyrics that didn't feel "big" enough for the music. After hearing the whole project, it's clear that Kanye knew what he was doing. He wanted the sounds to be as much a part of the album as his own voice...like "Say You Will" and "Bad News" for example, where the instrumentals continue for long after Kanye has left the mic behind, or "Street Lights" which is essentially the same 4 lines repeated over and over, yet its one of the best songs I've heard this year.
All told, I think 808's and Heartbreak is a great piece of work. How would I compare it to Kanye's other albums? I wouldn't. This is a completely different person. This is the album of someone we already knew was a little "different" . . .and then he lost his mother and had an engagement called off in the same year . . .and it shows.