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