11.29.2008

Welcome to Heartbreak

It's not quite Pornography, but it's pretty bleak. What I like most about Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak is how honest and musically consistent it is.

I was expecting a softer sound, a more melancholy perspective on the tragic death of his mother. There is some of that in there, but it's also angry, with lots of self-reflection and frustrations over a lover or girlfriend. He's the boy done wrong.

It gets musically lighthearted 3/4's into the album ("Paranoid," "RoboCop"), but the subject matter remains dark throughout and the majority of the album is under-produced and bare bones.

My favorite track by far is the last one, "Coldest Winter." Notice the rhythmically strange synth melody that doesn't quite sync up with the drums. It's these touches that give the album its shivering effect.
Speaking of The Cure, "Coldest Winter" could be a Japanese Whispers b-side.

I love the album's art direction as well. Say what you will about his arrogance and attitude, Kanye's creativity certainly delivers the goods.

4 comments:

countpopula said...

Good spotting on a Cure-ish influence. The Kanye track is actually a HEAVILY sampled song from Tears for Fears first album, The Hurting. The song was called "Memories Fade". Go listen to the original and you'll be even more blown away.

Salvador Ali said...

Ahh .. you're totally right. I never heard the Tears for Fears song. "Coldest Winter" is pretty much a reinterpretation .. very interesting!

countpopula said...

The TFF song is ancient now, so it's kinda cool Kanye even heard of it.

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