By Misho Minevski, contributing writer

  1. Rating system:
    1. Beat/Instrumental (X/10)- this is the backbone of any song/album and it is the usually the main way to shape a song.
    2. Flow/Vocals (X/10)- a song can have amazing lyrics and beat but if the artist cannot perform then the music loses value.
    3. Lyrics (X/10)- this part is easy to overlook and it isn’t a major part of some types of music, but good lyrics can make a song that much better.
    4. Storytelling (X/5)- good music is made great by its storytelling. An exceptional album should share a story with the audience and leave everyone who listens to it with something to reflect on. Music without lyrics/lyrics in a different language will be rated on the same system but I will not judge the last two categories because it doesn’t make sense.
    5. If I am reviewing such albums I will try to focus on the individuality of the music and how unique it sounds. The total score will be out of 35. Disclaimer: This is all my opinion and is based on my own taste, so feel free to disagree. I also have very little technical knowledge of music so this is just going off what I think sounds good. I listen to almost any genre of music and I started doing these reviews to help find new things to listen to.
  2. 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West
    1. Beat/Instrumental [10/10]: This album is, in my opinion, the first to show Kanye’s true potential as a musician and especially as a producer. The songs on this list really shine in their instrumentals, each bringing something entirely new to the table. Throughout the album, there isn’t a single moment when you feel like the backing track is something you have heard before, yet the songs maintain a sense of unity, clearly made through the same experiences. The fact that the tools used to produce the beats on the album were so limited further add to the individuality and sound of the songs.
    2. Flow/Vocals [9/10]: 808s & Heartbreak was a groundbreaking release, being the first prominent Hip Hop album to feature heavy use of auto tuned vocals. In taking this drastic shift, Kanye created something entirely unique. The vocals combine with the instrumental in such an unusual way that they almost serve as the backing track to the beat itself, resulting in an interesting and rare musical dynamic.
    3. Lyrics [8/10]: The lyrics, despite maintaining an overall solid quality, are the one part of this album that is not exceptional. Many of the lyrics featured on the album are very simple, and at times seem almost generic. However, at no point do they make the quality of the music worse. Similarly to the vocals, the simple lyrics allow the songs to heavily focus on the centerpiece of the album- the instrumental.
    4. Storytelling [4/5]: The raw instrumental backed with simple lyrics and an entirely new kind of vocals, all resonate with listeners and help connect with Kanye, at the time struggling with a multitude of personal tragedies. Each and every song on the track list can be seen as a restraint, musical shackles, that Kanye consistently breaks through. This album, through all its simplicities, shows the story of death, loss and rebirth.
    5. Overall: Amazing album. Some of my favourite Kanye songs to date. Rating: 31/35

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