December 29, 2008

Music Review: Kanye West's 8o8s & Heartbreak

My fifty songs for fifty dollars project has been slightly delayed, because I had to go back to iTunes (on the fucking bus) & buy the rest of the new Kanye West album. There seems to be a growing divide amongst my friends whether it is amazing or a travesty. Altho the fact that I can't stop listening to it is a sign of something. I don't think I've ever heard anything remotely like it.

Sam Amidon, after I asked him which other songs to download:

the entire album is 1. completely consistent 2. amazing 3. unlistenable as a complete record
And the following chat with Mr Mary almost ruptured our tight friendship:

12:19 PM Olaf: i just listened to tit [sic] last night, or most of it and found it dreadful
i can't watch it now
me: He does the whole album with that voice-corrector effect.
Olaf: neil young did that once,
his album is better
me: Oh you heard it? You didn't like it? What's wrong you with it seems like it's right up your alley?
Olaf: i think this new kanye album should go down as one of the worst pop albums ever
12:20 PM me: Wow, I have to respectfully disagree.
Olaf: don't know, never liked his stuff much - and this album is so painfully painful - the songs just sit there like a spoiled rich kid
me: You idiot.
Olaf: but maybe i need to give a second listen
like that song streetlights
12:21 PM what the fuck!
me: It rewards repeated listenings.
[...]
Olaf: his voice is terrible, just terrible and his production boring, and his lyrics are juvenile, naive, boring, selfish
it is like kanye goes emo
12:22 PM you should listen to tabu ley rochereau
he is much better
me: Perhaps we have to leave this issue.

If you don't have access to this music, I invite you to be one of 11 million to watch this video (it's not embeddable.) Click on the Democrat:

1 comment:

bubbler said...

I'm not completely sold on the album yet: I just listened to it for the 1st time. But a few observations: this album demonstrates that Mr. West is indeed a formidable talent, mono-maniacally determined and ambitious, much in the way that Billy Corgan was in his respective field and heyday. The coherence of vision, the soul searching despair, all of this communicates itself strongly through these songs. What is furthermore conveyed is the destructive hubris of a completely self-centered existence. Yet Kanye's artistic integrity remains intact. He has pushed himself forward beyond convention and his own established boundaries, yet still managed to provide a darkly satisfying look into the heart of his solitude. He has succeeded in this arena where others have failed. Again, arguably, those such as Billy Corgan, on his Adore album (but that is perhaps a contentious point to some people), or Common, on his Electric Circus album.

This may not be the album that anybody was waiting for---but really, that speaks to its personal and quiet genius. I can imagine this album opening doors in perception in a ghetto youth weaned on Pop Rap. Kanye is exploring his sensitivity, he is exploring his boundaries. And for that alone, I can whole heartedly applaud the effort, however voice-corrected it may be.