Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Kanye West's Love Lockdown

Singing in an Auto-Tuned monotone with little regard for melody, West sounds ghostly as he recounts his romantic failures in brutal detail. Just when "Love Lockdown" seems too brittle to sustain itself, humanity arrives in the form of an army of Japanese taiko drums. At first it sounds like pop-guns going off, but the drumming gets faster, warmer, wilder, and matched against West's distant vocals "Love Lockdown" turns into a dance song about misery — far closer to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" than any hip-hop ancestor. It's easily the most interesting pop experiment this year, and, if you grant its premise and stick with it, also the best.

Hear excerpts from all the top songs of 2008: