Jun 102011

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak was universally derided upon its 2008 release. Following three critically-acclaimed rap albums, a heart-on-sleeve pop album by a guy who clearly could barely carry a tune proved dead on arrival. The fact that he masked his vocal deficiencies with Auto-Tune at the very height of the anti-Auto-Tune fervor made 808s a particularly easy target.

Three years later, though, people look back on the album more fondly. 808s clearly played a role in shaping West’s undisputed masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, so even the holdouts reluctantly credit the album as a stepping stone to greatness. More generous types recognize, however belatedly, that West perversely used Auto-Tune to make his music more human, not less.

One fact has remained consistent, though, and that is that this album lends itself to covers better than any other Kanye album. The reason is clear – covering a pop song is much easier than covering a hip-hop song. The preponderance of “Love Lockdown”s alone could keep a cover blog going for weeks. Below, then, we present covers of every song off 808s and Heartbreak. No other Kanye West album would be remotely feasible – where the “New Workout Plan” covers at? – but this one proved a cinch. Auto-Tune not included. Continue reading »

Jul 202010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

All signs point to a new Kanye West album this fall. All signs point to this signaling his return to rapping. As a result, all signs point to it being better received than his previous album, the AutoTune-assisted 808s and Heartbreak. While this is probably good news for the music world, those 808 tunes made for great covers when in the hands of people who could sing without computers. Janina Gavankar is such a person.

Fans of bad Showtime dramas may know her from her recurring role in The L Word. Fans of evil corporate behemoths may know her from her role as “Ms. Dewey,” the sassy Microsoft search engine. Fans of music should forget those two things and stick to this. Last month Gavankar released her video for Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” and, thanks to a shout-out yesterday by Twitter-er extraordinaire ?uestlove, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.

Gavankar wanders the streets of carrying a lockbox (Al Gore, anyone?). Sometimes she welds topless at an autoshop. Other times she writhes around in a jail cell dressed in some Lady Gaga-esq toilet paper contraption. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s not like the original tribal-invasion video did either. Gavankar’s xylophone-heavy soul gets the head bobbing, but it’s the choir of multitracked vocals halfway through that blows things into the stratosphere. Watch the video and download the MP3 below. Continue reading »