August 18, 2010

Music Is...808's & Heartbreak

I had a little initial apprehension towards blogging about this album because of the various responses it received when it was released. I'm over that though and for some reason or another 808's came back to mind after a while. The album was released in the later part of 2008 and from my standpoint, its one of the best records I've heard in a while.

At the time, and to a degree today, there was much talk and speculation towards Auto-Tune and its rising usage in the recording studio. In light of that, it made sense to wonder who would be the next artist to jump on the bandwagon so to speak. However, I feel that it would have been slightly unreasonable for Mr. West to use that aid if it was just to solely modify his voice. It would have made little or no impression on the tone and mood of the tracks. Granted Auto-Tune mainly revises the voice but there's more potential. Despite the stakes, Kanye and his team utilized Auto-Tune to create an emotional, ear catching collision between his voice and the music that ultimately gave each track an authentic depth and substance.

One of the tracks that provides a wonderful example of that accomplishment is "See You In My Nightmares" (featuring Lil Wayne). When the word nightmare comes to mind, a cold feeling is created or one may think of something frightening. In regards to that, I feel that using Auto-Tune with his voice helped open the door to create many frigid, numbing, yet fiery emotions on that track. His tone had rawness and grit to it. Voice alterations aside, the cover art was a great visual prelude, giving insight into the subject matter of the album before diving into it. Come on, a deflated heart-shaped balloon. The flat pastel colors on the cover reflect this sort of melancholy based mood. Its synesthetic in a way.

I wasn't heartbroken after listening to the tracks, but I felt that all aspects of the album justly reflected the title and that it set its own individual standard.

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