“Flaunting pain requires a sort of arrogance, too, so it’s little surprise that Mr. West takes to it so naturally. Every song on the album is rife with anguish, and his lyrics, about the shards of broken relationships, though often tediously written, can carry a fresh sting.”

Jon Caramanica (New York Times)

“He's made 808s and Heartbreak, which as the title hints is an introspective, minimal electro-pop record steeped in regret, pain, and even more self-examination than a typical Kanye West album. And as you've no doubt heard, on 808s West sings everything through Auto-Tune rather than rapping, a decision that for some has made this record a non-starter.”

Scott Plagenhoef (Pitchfork)

“The full album is a dislocating listen, which was clearly West’s intention; he’s asserted loudly that he expects extra kudos for pushing creative boundaries. Though the content—our hero purging his heart, a la Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear—ordinarily would be the focus of discussion for a platinum rapper, the musical structure overshadows his attempts at introspection.”

Charles Aaron (SPIN)
“Kanye has always been emo. But in his most touching songs—’Through the Wire,’ ‘Family Business,’ ‘Hey Mama’ — he tucked his confessions in between boasts and jokes. Kanye the Songbird has forgotten the lesson that Kanye the Rapper taught his listeners: Heartbreak is not incompatible with wit, or with sharply drawn details, or with a buoyant beat. This noble failure of an album might easily have been a noble success if he had tweaked the Fun-o-Meter just a bit. A slight pitch correction could have done the trick.”

— Jody Rosen (Rolling Stone)

“He's merely given us an extremely intriguing, sporadically gripping, undeniably fearless and altogether unexpected piece of his troubled soul.”

Jim DeRogatis (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Love it or hate it, 808s will not be swept under the rug as a footnote in his discography, if only for the fact that it is almost certainly the most openly personal album ever released by a mainstream rap artist.”

Alex Young (Consequence of Sound)