808s & Heartbreak

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2008 Ratings: #221 / 740
Year End Rank: #37
User Score
2008 Ratings: #49
November 24, 2008 / Release Date
LP / Format
Roc-A-Fella / Label
Hip Hop / Genres
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kanyewest.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
Entertainment Weekly

The Chicago rapper hangs a dramatic left on 808s & Heartbreak, an album whose frosty, minimal sound backs lyrics of surprisingly raw emotion.

90
Prefix

808s & Heartbreak may initially seem uncharacteristic, but without the limitations of genre, West is fully embracing the grand, theatric backdrops that he’s always loved.

89
Beats Per Minute
The lack of vocal hooks makes it hard to view his foray into singing as a pop move, and the lack of overt bangers will probably alienate some hip-hop purists. But the album is brilliant on its own terms, perfectly imperfect and believably scattered.
81
Paste

808s sounds nothing like West’s three previous LPs. It’s minimal and percussive in places, a sharp contrast to West’s previous signature sound—a giddy, maxed-out bounce. This new record may be closer to R&B than it is to rap.

80
musicOMH

For the most part 808s & Heartbreak showcases the awkward dichotomy of emotion and mechanised sterility lurking gift-wrapped under a deceptively polished sheen.

80
No Ripcord

Unsurprisingly Heartbreak is a grower. At first it does sound minimalist and sparse but the album is layered with delicacy and marked with a maturity.

80
Consequence of Sound

808s has more than its share of awkward moments – both musically and lyrically – but the great artists are the ones who are not afraid of taking chances, and Kanye West is the greatest artist today’s pop scene has.

80
HipHopDX
Few artists can stray so far from home and succeed. This is even more impressive when his art project was made using the musical equivalent of paint-by-numbers known as auto-tune.
80
NOW Magazine

The disc has few radio-friendly singles, and much of it is undeniably weird. Many will hate it, but those willing to give it a chance will be impressed by the naked humanity West reveals.

76
Pitchfork
The album is much larger and brasher than it would first appear-- the closer it hews to a mix of sad-sack indie pop and elegant, monied Patrick Bateman commercial 80s sounds, the better it works.
75
A.V. Club
West creates and sustains a delicate, tricky mood—a fuzzy early-morning miasma of self-doubt, regret, and longing for people and places past. Sonically, the aptly titled disc splits the difference between the Auto-Tune R&B; of T-Pain and the glacial electronic atmospherics of '80s new wave at its loneliest.
70
NME
The resounding verdict is that it’s a surprising, but bold and brave progression from last year’s confused ‘Graduation’. As for the lack of raps, in truth, the less we have to put up with all that small-man prep-school-canteen bragging, the better.
70
Rolling Stone

Many of his best songs have focused on his ambivalence about materialism, but on 808s & Heartbreak, the theme has hardened into schtick.

59
Coke Machine Glow
As a hip-hop icon coming at pop from a different avenue, Kanye’s all-out attempt bypasses the historical evolution and thus runs into deficiency. “Runs” is too active a verb, though. Heartbreak is musical stasis. It’s atrophy. These simple melodies are begotten to barely dynamic production and vocals on life support that cannot nurture them physically or emotionally.
40
AllMusic
For anyone sifting through a broken relationship and self-letdown, this could all be therapeutic. Otherwise, no matter its commendable fearlessness, the album is a listless, bleary trudge along West's permafrost.
40
Slant Magazine

808s, despite its myriad flaws, is both a reflection of the hard times West has suffered through and a testament to his artistic fortitude.

FearFlour
84
"when u get sad and redefine modern pop music"
exception
89
Still stands nearly a decade later as Kanye's most influential set of songs. Whether you like this album or not, there is no denying the enormous impact that 808's had on hip hop and pop music.
Fvck_mo
82
This record will be looked at 10 years from now as one of the most influential records in the game
Inglume
85
Plenty of tracks are AMAZING, SO AMAZING. Important album for popular music, but one that is undeniably polarizing.
TreyLikesBands
78
Good

Damn, I fell in love with this record a lot more as I listened to the lyrics and overall messages of each song. After the death of his mother and calling off the engagement with his fiance at the time, Kanye put a lot of heart and soul into this record. I would usually say that auto-tune doesn't invoke any emotions for me, but here, I could actually pick out spots of true sadness and sorrow.

Color: Red
FAV TRACKS: Heartless, Amazing, Love Lockdown, Coldest Winter, Paranoid, RoboCop
LEAST ... read more
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Track List

  1. Say You Will
  2. Welcome to Heartbreak (feat. Kid Cudi)
  3. Heartless
  4. Amazing (feat. Young Jeezy)
  5. Love Lockdown
  6. Paranoid (feat. Mr Hudson)
  7. RoboCop
  8. Street Lights
  9. Bad News
  10. See You in My Nightmares (feat. Lil Wayne)
  11. Coldest Winter
  12. Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live from Singapore)
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