"An album so exquisite, so assured, it threatens to invent an entirely new strand of urban pop music...the best album released this year, an information-age masterpiece" - Washington Post
“His new album, ‘808s & Heartbreak’, is austere and disciplined…a new burst of creativity that rivals his debut, "The College Dropout…With ‘808s & Heartbreak,’ West tears down…his previous three albums and builds something bold and new in their place. His current musical vision may be dark, but it can also be beautiful." – Newsday
“An introspective, minimal electro-pop record steeped in regret, pain, and even more self-examination…West's pain is articulated in ways that, while borne from his experiences, can be easily translated to the listener's. The kind of universality is a staple of great pop…” - Pitchfork
“The Chicago rapper hangs a dramatic left on ‘808s & Heartbreak’, an album whose frosty, minimal sound backs lyrics of surprisingly raw emotion…he offers this glimpse of the soul beneath the swagger, and we like him better for it.” – EW
“On ‘808s & Heartbreak,’ Mr. West is done letting himself off the hook…The product of a tumultuous year in his personal life, it operates solely on the level of catharsis — no commentary, no self-consciousness, no concern for anything but feeling…Every song on the album is rife with anguish, and his lyrics, about the shards of broken relationships… can carry a fresh sting.” – NY Times
"An extremely intriguing, sporadically gripping, undeniably fearless and altogether unexpected piece of his troubled soul." - Chicago Sun Times
December 4, 2008 – New York, NY – Certainly amongst the most talked-about and debated pop moments in recent memory, Kanye West’s bold, controversial new album 808s & Heartbreak has resonated with listeners around the world; like his previous three albums, 808s has entered the charts on top.
To call 808s a ‘departure’ from West’s signature sound is more oversimplification than understatement. Rolling Stone refers to the album as West’s Blood On The Tracks while others have called it his Kid A; both watershed moments in the creative developments that would follow for those legendary artists. If anything, The 10-time Grammy-award winner has broadened the idea of what his sound can be: global pop, tribal rhythms, brooding atmospherics and stark electronics are mixed deftly with soaring melodies and arena-sized anthems. One thing is clear: very rare, and riskier still, is the moment when a pop artist of such global acclaim, influence and success releases a record as a pure art piece, a raw creative outlet. On 808s, West’s shattering of musical boundaries has torn down, for once and for all, the limitations of genre.
The experiment has been dangerous and controversial, but rewarding. As Kanye said on his blog this week: “People really have their feathers ruffled about this album, don't they? Good!” In a recent interview with MTV News, Kanye described the spark that led to the album: "It was just what was in my heart," Kanye explained. "The type of ideas that I was coming up with, the melodies that were in me — what was in me I couldn't stop.”
Recorded in just three weeks in Hawaii, 808s and Heartbreak pulses with that creative urgency. From the hypnotic opening plea “Say You Will,” to the dramatic closing tribute “Coldest Winter,” 808s explores feelings of paranoia, guilt, isolation, and ultimately heartbreak – the name Kanye gave to the mix of autotune, delay and distortion he used to effect his vocals throughout.
“Kanye’s brilliant new album has been re-affirming for me,” said Island Def Jam chairman Antonio “LA” Reid. “It re-affirms my faith in the power and energy and excitement of music, on a very pure level. I congratulate him for it.”
Last night, Kanye picked up 6 Grammy nominations for Song of the Year for “American Boy” w/Estelle, Best Rap Performance By A Duo or Group for “Put On” w/Young Jeezy and “Swagga Like Us” w/ JAY-Z, T.I., & Lil Wayne, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “American Boy” w/Estelle, Best Rap Song for “Swagga Like Us” w/ JAY-Z, T.I., & Lil Wayne and Album of the Year for Tha Carter III (Featured Artist).
As West wraps the final international leg of his acclaimed, sold-out Glow In The Dark tour in Australia this week, he will continue to support of 808s & Heartbreak, including a performance on Saturday Night Live next Saturday, December 13th. Tonight, “Street Lights,” a track from the new album, will be featured in Grey’s Anatomy. Moving into the new year, West promises the launch of several design and fashion collaborations and ventures, as well as continued musical travels and adventures. Stay tuned…