No More Cake

12/17/2008

808s and Updates

Filed under: music — Tags: , , — Owen @ 11:51 pm

3106_dcc2126fd09ac17bb6a32a991452a387So we all knew this was coming, a review of Kanye West’s new album, 808s and Heartbreak. I literally stop listening to leaked songs after the last time I wrote about Kanye. Unfortunately, I also neglected my Ripway accounts causing their removal; so all the audio clips older than this post are dead until further notice.

If I had to describe this album in one word it would be : Gay.

If I had some more words though : The album isn’t horrible but it isn’t great either. It obviously very different than anything he’s put out, but also very different from much of mainstream music. If you categorized this under Rap or R&B, it’s pretty awful. If you label it as Pop it has a good shot at being one of the best albums of the year (starting now (now = release date ( I like parentheticals))). The reason it’s gay is because when you simplify everything it really is just a bunch of dudes singing; about depressing shit nonetheless.

Instead of simplifying, I’d rather do a song by song breakdown of the album. Kakow.

DISCLAIMER: When I listen to music, I base my a lot of my judgments off how the song sounds, how it makes me feel and if there are any little idiosyncrasies that irk me. NOT solely of lyrical content or intricacies, song composition or production techniques. I don’t sweat the small stuff.

Say You Will

This intro is long, pretty depressing and kind of off key; so it does a really good job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. The song is pretty slow and ends with a really drawn out loop of the beat. I’m not really sure what he’s talking about, but it sounds like he’s disappointed and saddened at someone for something. It’s too boring to pay attention.

Welcome To Heartbreak

This is one of the whiniest songs I’ve ever heard. BUT it’s also one of my favorites on the album. It helps that the beat is super sick. I wish that it wasn’t about all the “problems” of being famous. I’ve heard that song before.

The first line is like.

My friend showed me pictures of his kids/and all I could show him was pictures of my cribs/He said his daughter had a brand new report card/and all I got is a brand new sportscar

Some people appreciate the honesty, I can’t empathize with anyone for being to rich and famous. Donate your money, stop doing interviews, problem solved. Cudi loves it though:

Heartless

Best song on the album. There really isn’t anything I don’t like. It reminds me of the young LL Cool J.  Plus the video is amazing.

He really has those Jetsons paintings. So dope.

Amazing

This is one of those songs that I feel like I should like, but I don’t. You can hear something in the beat that reminds me of wood blocks hitting each other and it just takes me back to grade school and how retarded I felt in class doing that. Plus, there is this break before Young Jeezy’s verse that’s kind of overextended and it really pisses me off for some reason. If I haven’t noticed what song is playing before this point, I just hit NEXT at this point. It’s not like Jeezy’s verse is worth waiting for. And the hook is him saying “amazing” too many times.

Love Lockdown

There wasn’t really a need for the audio track. You’ve definitely heard it. If you haven’t seen the video, you should get out a bit more. Deciding on this song is just like deciding on the album, it’s really different so it’s really hard to classify. When he first performed it, I was taken aback. Within the next week or two, it was my favorite song. Then when the rest of the album started leaking, I didn’t want to like it anymore because I was didn’t want to accept a whole album of this.

My final decision is……the song is sick. This is to Stronger what Heartless is to Flashing Lights (SATs bitch!). The difference in sounds between the chorus and the rest of the song is really dramatic, it really is like a movie, building towards a climax (In the danger zoneee!). And the beat is undeniable.

It also makes for awesome performances.

Paranoid

Another song that bothers me for weird reasons. It’s a pretty light song for being called Paranoid. It also features some of the most flow heavy lyrics on the album. I actually really like the melding of the the melodic elements with the Kanye like rhymes spit over (under?) them.

Robocop

It’s ironic that the leaked version of this made me stop listening to the leaks because now it’s one of my favorite songs. The strings really make the beat listenable (it’s like eatable) because the Robocop samples are still pretty annoying. Also, the hook is a ton of fun and it also tears down chicks that are way too full of themselves, which is so necessary after hoes like Jasmine Sullivan blow up.

Street Lights

The end of the trilogy. Their is definite thread that fuses the last three songs together. If you have ever read Yellow Raft in Blue Water, you could see these past three songs being like the three heroines of the novel. All different characters, with their own personalities but with many similarities if you look deep enough. Honestly, I have only looked deep enough to realize that these similarities exist but not deep enough to really explain what they are. If you try hard enough, I’m sure you can figure it out.

Hint: It is not the badassness of it’s hip hop elements. I’m pretty sure you don’t pick songs like that for this.

ps: GREY’s ANATOMY SUCKS! God damn you people for making this popular.

Bad News

This song could actually be the epilogue to the previous three chapters. Again, it really is hard to say that this is good or not, because of how different it is from the normal hip hop soundtrack. On the other hand, it does remind me of Feist, a Canadian pop artist that Kanye favors (yeah, I have a ton of time). The song sounds a lot like her but with a deeper drumline. By itself, it is a peaceful, melodic, soothing sound. As part of a package with the last few tracks, it’s kind of boring.

See You In My Nightmares

I can’t even imagine what goes down when these two are in the same room together, let alone the studio together. Whatever they are doing to rub off on each other needs to stop. There is obviously a great deal of respect between the two artists, the question is whether they respect each other’s artistry or just the fact that they are #1 and 2 when it comes to amount of nutswingers right now. They both know they can do whatever they want and it will the next cool thing to everyone, I think they try to take each other’s style and use it as their own and it doesn’t work. It’s fine if they collaborate, like “Lollipop Remix” which was amazing, but this just sounds like two people making bad choices.

Coldest Winter

Another song that the leaked version did not do justice. This hit the intrawebz about the same time as Robocop and it did not sound like the final version at all. Unlike, it’s 80s movie counterpart, the final version is not that much better. I think the beat sounds “chunky”, if that make sense, and the vocals are slide001just another example of West’s lack of voice training. That said, it is surprisingly catchy. I think it says something about the culture of music and it’s consumers that even the most Emo songs can be sung on a clear sunny day.

Pinocchio Story

To be fair, this is billed as a freestyle. To be real, Kanye shouldn’t freestyle. Some people just can’t do it while others do it better than if they have time. Joe Buddens and Charles Hamilton have shown this. He probably knows too, but would just rather be emotional, spontaneous and all the other things people call themselves when they’re just crazy. And when it all comes down to it, he’s just whining about be super rich and famous again.

Below is the video of this track that came along with iTunes download of the album out of Singapore.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cake

POST SCRIPT

So it took me forever to write this post, I’m only really finishing it because I have some other stuff I want to post coming up and need this to be out the way. In the lapse, some stuff came up around the blogosphere that may have altered my perspective on the album and I wanted to get those out now rather than making another post. This shit is long enough already anyway.

– Apparently, getting this off his chest was enough to make him happy again and hopefully, we’ll get a more upbeat album next christmas. Also, his tour next summer could be just as epic as the GITD tour.

– Jeff Staple recently wrote a nice little blog, captioning 808s as a personal soundtrack made for headphones. I have to agree with this. 808s has been tucking me into bed recently, much the way Juno, The Wackness and Feist have in the past.

This is why celebrity blogs are dope.

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