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Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreaks | Thoughtless But Not Heartless

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Artist: Kanye West

808s & HeartbreaksLabel: Roc-A-Fella
Release Date: November 24, 2008

The older models that once dominated hip hop have officially been superseded by auto-tune—a corrective action amidst a heavily saturated genre. The hyper-inflated, mechanical effects of the aforementioned tool undoubtedly help to achieve a heavy-hearted tone. And it definitely compliments the lonesome lyrical content, which West strains to convey with a puerile sense of entitlement—as though he's the only person ever to have experienced such personal anguish. But, more often than not, the picturesque pretense strewn throughout 808s & Heartbreak masks any semblance of true emotion at hand, constituting a pretty wearisome gimmick.

If the primary objective of West's fourth album to date truly is emotional nakedness—as displayed in a relatively primitive manner to a select few at the Ace Gallery in Los Angeles on October 14th—then he has certainly foundered in a sea of acrimony. Songs like the leading single, "Love Lockdown," and "Heartless" stray from grandiloquence to prove a point. The rotund-yet-minimal instrumentation paves the way for his plaintive, robotic wailing. And it's plain to see that his adversaries are complicit in wrong-doing. But West often fails to communicate anything beyond the self-evident.

And what's more, "See You In My Nightmares," which features Lil Wayne's gruff and sophomoric double entendres, serves as the pinnacle of all contrivances. The listener finds Wayne rattling off indignant ripostes: "You think your shit don't stank/ but you are missis P U." The childish rhyme renders whatever context he's striving for utterly meaningless.

Kanye West - "Heartless"