Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak

Whatever way you'd look at 808s & Heartbreak, this was an album that was destined to divide opinions and create as much backlash as enthusiastic reactions. Until now, Yeezy was everyone's favourite hip-hop artist, with his uplift songs and an amazing ear to find the most surprising samples that would turn almost every single one of his musical creations into larger than life anthems. But then, in the past few months, a lot has happened. The sudden death of his mother and the break-up with his long-term fiancée had an effect in Yeezy that is felt everywhere in his new album and mostly goes like this: he stopped caring about what you, me or anyone else thinks. Add to this his late obsession with the Auto-Tune technology and there you have it, the ingredients for one of the most talked-about and controversial records of recent times. And if that wasn't enough, this is not even hip-hop anymore, but just pop music in all its glory, causing immediate shouts of "sell out" towards him. Sell-out? I don't think so. In fact, I hardly believe he could go into a more difficult way than this. Using Auto-Tune in a disarming way to sing touching melodies and creating the most amazing sounds with not much more than a TR-808 drum machine, it's almost umbelievable the amount of diverse sensations suggested by this music, what with such a stripped-down approach. Almost vanished are the celebratory moods of his old time songs, now say hello to melancholic and intelligent digital pop songs about the pain, anger and loneliness that can come at the top. Recorded in just 3 weeks and with a sense of urgency that seems almost therapeutic, 808s & Heartbreak is no less than a groundbreaking pop album as rarely heard, pushing so many boundaries alone. The fact that it does this while, at the same time, being extremely compelling in the way it exposes the very inner side of one of the most creative artists around, is just beyond any reasonable explanation. (9,5/10)

Kanye West - Love Lockdown (video)

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