When Kanye West’s 808s&Heartbreak dropped in the fall of 2009, it galvanized his fan base, and not in the good way. While the album would go on to do well commercially and spawn a large number of hits, many wondered what was up. Why’s he using Auto-Tune? Why’s he so emotionally? He can’t sing? Where’s the soul beats? What is this bullshit?
It’s been 5 years. In retrospect many regard the album in a different light now. West’s emotional brand of Auto-Tune laced melancholic pop is clearly an influence on some of today’s most popular artists from the singer/rapper/human meme, Drake, to trap auto-tune extraordinaire, Future. It’s safe to say he was ahead of the curve and he knew it. Hence why he even performed the album in full in Los Angeles this past year.
While we wait for the release of his upcoming album, SWISH, checkout and reflect on 808s&Heartbreak with this appropriately named piece in Pitchfork, “The Coldest Story Ever Told.”