Kanye’s ’08 Album Nothing but a Heartbreak

Drew Tinsley, Guest Reviewer

When it was revealed that Kanye West’s album “808s and Heartbreak” received a nomination for the best album of the year (2008), a flurry of confused tweets as to why occurred.

In reality, this album should have been in the running for the worst album of the year. After much hype, the album ended up being a major disappointment for several reasons.

While it was supposed to be a relatable album that told the story of a man going through a heartbreak, it was actually an album that showed Kanye West’s narcissistic thoughts.

The album’s featured artists are unimpressive at best. The lyrics do not flow well and at times contradict themselves.  The only positives to “808s and Heartbreak” are that it brought auto-tune into the rap industry, and it has a sleek album cover image.

When asked about the album, Trinity senior Michael Schmidt said, “It pioneered the usage of auto-tune for many generations to come.”

Schmidt is correct. Since its usage in “808s and Heartbreak,” auto-tune has been a key element in almost every rap album. Due to this, the rap industry has grown a wider audience.

Trinity senior Franklin Schoen reiterates this. He said, “It still had (Kanye’s) impact while not being his greatest work.”

While this may be true, it was not enough to distract from the uninspiring album. There is only one other aspect of this album worth praising: the cover image. 

People were expecting a story they could relate to. Instead, they got an album that told the story of a millionaire coping with the pain of a heartbreak.

Artists often try to make their album cover flashy. West realized that simplistic designs are more impactful, which is why almost all his albums have been simple.

A sleek gray background with a heart that seems to be deflated  perfectly displays the theme of heartbreak throughout the album. Before listening to the album, I was excited because I thought that the great image meant it would be a great album.

I could not have been more wrong. Instead, the image just covered up the garbage that was slapped together and called an album.

Before the album was released, Kanye West had relationship issues with his fiancé at the time, Alexis Phifer. He was also devastated by the sudden death of his mother, Donda. These two events set the album up to be a heartbreak classic.

People were expecting a story they could relate to. Instead, they got an album that told the story of a millionaire coping with the pain of a heartbreak.

This can be seen in the song “Welcome to Heartbreak” when West says, “My friend showed me pictures of his kids, and all I could show him was pictures of my cribs. He said his daughter got a brand-new report card, and all I got was a brand-new sports car.”

This line doesn’t seem to give off the relatable heartbreak story that people were hoping for. This album does nothing but serve as a reminder to most of the population that Kanye West is richer than you.

You would think that West could get bigger names to collaborate with. He could have picked random people off the street, and they would have been better than the actual featured artists chosen.

Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, Mr. Hudson, and Lil Wayne are the only featured artists. If an album has only four featured artists, they better do a masterful job. However, three out of the four featured artists underperformed.  This type of performance should not get an album nominated for best of the year.

The lyrics do not flow well and often contradict themselves. This can be seen in many songs, especially in  “Say You Will” and “Robocop.”

In “Say You Will,” West tells a woman to stop saying she will do things she ends up not doing. But in “Robocop” West criticizes the woman for making sure that (Kanye) lives up to his word, calling the woman a “robocop.”

This nickname makes it seem like the woman is acting as a cop, following his every move. These two songs contradict themselves because he criticizes the woman for making empty promises, but then complains when the woman makes sure he fulfills his promises.

These contradictory attitudes can be seen throughout the album and probably explain why he was having relationship problems with his fiancé.

This album gets a 4.2 out of 10.