‘808s and Heartbreak’ can’t live up to hype

AutoTune.the final frontier. For a long time something that was primarily associated with Roger Troutman, the vocoder was looked at as taboo in black music, and very few artists would touch it. That changed after T-Pain AutoTuned his way to success, and now everyone looking for commercial gain in the music industry is hopping on the alien-sounding bandwagon. Kanye West has been called a pioneer in the music industry because of his blending of old and new sounds, but his latest announcement caused an uproar among even the staunchest West fans. Kanye revealed that he would sing for the majority of his album, and he would do it with the assistance of AutoTune software.

I was skeptical about Kanye West’s new direction, but considering that everyone who uses the software seems to have an instant hit what do I know.

808s and Heartbreak dropped without a huge media blitz, with the exception of West’s own attempts at generating a buzz.

West succeeded, though, and the album is currently the top selling album on iTunes. Instead of using a vast collection of samples, West seemed to stick to a synthesizer-heavy sound this time. It almost felt like I was listening to some early 80s New Wave.

The thing is, I really want to say this is Kanye’s best work, and that all the experimentation instantly equals a legendary album. I can’t exactly say that, though. This is probably the first album that Kanye West has put out that I can’t just play for the love of the music.

The desire to do something new may be this album’s pitfall, since Kanye is struggling to be so innovative that he seems to fall short of the musical domination that he was seeking out, but then again, who sets their artistic bar higher than Kanye West.

There are great moments all over this album. The first single, “Love Lockdown,” is probably one of the years best singles. Amazing is subtle, yet aggressive in its delivery, with Young Jeezy delivering another surprisingly decent verse.

Even Lil Wayne’s semi crybaby delivery was able to find a fitting position on the track “See You In My Nightmare.” All of the production is typical Kanye West, which means it is excellent. But for all it is, it just feels like something is lacking somewhere in the album.

Not to say I didn’t like the album, because I did. The problem is, I didn’t like it as much as I liked Graduation, and I’m not sure if that’s quite fair to the music. 808s and Heartbreak is far different from any of his other projects, and since I didn’t say that it was the best album ever, I’ll be called a hater. Don’t get it twisted though, an average Kanye West album is still better than most of the music on the market.

Now you can’t call me a hater.