When I first heard “Through The Wire” in 2003, I fell in love with it. The song itself was great, but the fact that Kanye recorded the song with his jaw wired shut 2 weeks after having his whole face smashed in and surgically reconstructed made it just that much cooler in my eyes. It was a real slice of life. It was genuine, which is something that music (Hip Hop especially) is sorely lacking these days.
Since then, as sad as it is, Kanye has proved to be a disappointment to me. Sure, he’s had a few cool jams here and there, but much of the stuff was simply average, and his odd outbursts were a bit of a turn-off. Well, all that has changed. The sumbitch has outdone himself.
808s & Heartbreak comes after a year of losing his mother, breaking up with his fiancée, and generally struggling to deal with his relatively new, insane lifestyle. And it shows. I think it’s safe to say this is still very much a Hip Hop album at heart, but… it has heart. The overwhelming vibe of the album is quite sad. Like, real life sad. He tells tales of missed family events, overbearing women, and the broken heartedness that so many of us can relate to. Admittedly, I was turned off ahead of time when I heard that he used a heavy Auto-Tune effect on all the vocals, and it’s true. It’s on every single track. While I really do hate the effect and wish people would stop using it already, I have to say, it works. It grew on me really fast, and it fits. Although there’s still plenty of rapping on the album, there’s considerably more singing than you might expect to hear from Kanye, and again, it really works.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this album, and I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t been a Kanye West fan before.
Listen to: Say You Will