808s & Heartbreak


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Adam R. Holz
Bob Smithouser

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Vulnerable lyrics about love and rejection are everywhere. A partner’s infidelity hurts deeply, suggesting that romance should be exclusive (“Bad News”). West hopes to revive a failed relationship on “Coldest Winter,” and wants to know he’s not a lost cause on “Street Lights” (“Do I still got time to grow?”). After years spent pursuing women and material gain, he envies newlyweds and a pal’s family photos on “Welcome to Heartbreak” (“Chased the good life … where did I go wrong?”). Similarly, “Pinocchio Story” tears down the facade of wealth and celebrity culture, and finds the singer longing to be “a real boy.” He also wishes he still had the guidance of his late mother.

Objectionable Content

The artist’s ego is in overdrive on “Amazing.” “Say You Will” contains mild sensuality. A woman is called a “b–ch” (partially censored) during a sexual proposition (“RoboCop”). “Pinocchio Story” uses the term “hos.” “See You in My Nightmares” features a muted s-word and a possible nod to alcohol.

Summary Advisory

Not great, but relatively few problems for a guy famous for explicit content. Even his musical style is a departure on the melancholy 808s & Heartbreak, reportedly because West’s mom just passed away, and he was hurt when an engagement dissolved. As painful as those experiences must have been, soul-searching agrees with him.

Adam Holz, Director of Plugged In
Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.

Bob Smithouser
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