[NEW RELEASES]Kanye West
“808s and Heartbreak,” the cocky king of hip-hop’s much-anticipated release, marks a departure from the slick rhymes and beats of West’s raps. On this album, Kanye is a singer - one with a heavy dose of digital vocal enhancement.
The high-tech tunes are a gamble that pays off, as 808s is one infectious, albeit melancholy, disc. West has proven again that he can package hit after hit, from his first singles “Love Lockdown” - which has the world’s catchiest chorus - and “Heartless.” Other standouts include “Amazing” and the brilliant “RoboCop.” West is as clever as ever, with lines like “Who knew she was a drama queen/ who would turn my life to Stephen King?”
But watch out when Kanye’s stripped of his vocoder, as seen on the album’s poor live closer. Without hyperproduction, Kanye can’t sing. So skip Mr. West live (or catch his recent much-ridiculed performance on “SNL” online) and be content with 808s turned way up loud. By Hannah Bae
“808s and Heartbreak”
Label: Roc-A-Fella Records