Monday, January 05, 2009

808s and Heartbreak

Finally took the time this weekend to delve into 808s and Heartbreak and all I can say is wow. It's the first Kanye album I've liked as much, as unequivocally, and as instantly as The College Dropout, and I can feel it surpassing my esteem for even that album already. That single 4/4 handclap mixed in with the explosive, syncopated beats at the beginning of the "Love Lockdown" chorus might be the most eloquent handclap I've ever heard. It's so human, so delicately, understatedly emotional in the midst of all the bombast. It sounds like a crazy homeless guy dancing--blissfully, obliviously, in slow motion--on the sidewalk while businesspeople and other rush-hour foot traffic hustles briskly past him. It kinda chokes me up, actually.

Also--and this is just a knee-jerk reaction--but, between the preponderance of martial drumbeats throughout, all those anguished, meaty strings, and the arresting combination of raw and studio-treated vocals, is there a way that this might be considered, stylistically at least, Kanye's Homogenic?

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