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Album: Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak, (Roc-A-Fella)

Kanye West is both a large talent and a supersized ego, and any new recording is a battle for which of the two will come to the fore.

Against the odds, this time the face-off has gone the right way. '808s and Heartbreak' is a suite of electro-soul, constructed from bare elements of an echoing drum machine, West singing (rather than rapping) through a vocoder, and distant, dampened piano. It won't be pumping out of any car stereos, but will soundtrack many a long dark night of the soul.

Click here to purchase this album

Pick of the album: Bucking the trend: 'Paranoid' is anomalously upbeat