Welcome to Heartbreak

"Welcome to Heartbreak"
Song by Kanye West featuring Kid Cudi from the album 808s & Heartbreak
Recorded 2008
Length 4:23
Label Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Writer(s) Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, Patrick Reynolds, Scott Mescudi
Producer(s) Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, Plain Pat
808s & Heartbreak track listing

"Say You Will"
"Welcome to Heartbreak"

"Welcome to Heartbreak" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West. The song was inspired by a conversation West had with MTV Executive Vice President Dave Sirulnick, who showed him some photos of his wife and children. It struck West that he really wanted to be married and have a family, but it hadn't worked out for him.[1] It features then-newly signed GOOD Music artist Kid Cudi, and was co-produced by West with Jeff Bhasker and Plain Pat.[2] Despite not being released as a single at that time, the song managed to enter the pop charts.[3] The song did feature on the Kiss and BBC Radio 1Xtra playlists in the United Kingdom. The song was supposed to be officially released as the third single from 808s & Heartbreak in the U.K. on May 18, 2009, but was never released.

Critical reception

"Welcome to Heartbreak" was met by positive reviews from music critics, many of whom cited it, along with "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless" as one of the highlights of 808s & Heartbreak. In a review of the album, Brandon Perkins of URB analyzed the song's confessional lyrical content, saying, "On 'Welcome to Heartbreak,' Kanye pits his prized possessions against the simplicity of 'real life', marking the basic juxtapositions with a disconnected yearning: 'My friend showed me pictures of his kids/All I could show him was pictures of my cribs.' In the landscape of 808, Kanye's aspirations for fame have created a mutually exclusive dichotomy with family and love."[4] Blender describes the song's sonic texture as, "so icy and desolate it should come with a pair of snowshoes" while PopMatters commented that "... it's the tone of the story that leaves the impression, not the stories themselves. He turns the vocal effects off to sound naked, vulnerable."[5][6] Kid Cudi also received praise for his vocal ability, with Wilson McBee of Slant Magazine writing that his, "anxious cooing provides a perfect counter to West's attenuated sketches about fame and self-loathing."[7]

Chart performance

Backed by the momentum produced by the release of 808s & Heartbreak, "Welcome to Heartbreak" charted on the Billboard Pop 100. The song peaked at number eighty-seven based only on digital downloads.[8] It was the third in a streak of album cuts that managed to enter the charts despite not being released as a single yet, preceded by the tenth track "See You in My Nightmares" which was a "Hot Shot Debut," peaking at number twenty-one in the U.S. and at number twenty-two in Canada, and the fourth track "Amazing" which charted at eighty-nine on the Hot 100.[9][10][11] On May 10, just a week prior to being released as a single, the song debuted in the thirty-fifth position on the UK R&B Chart. The following week, it moved up two places to reach its peak on the chart at number thirty-three.[12]

Music video

Kanye West as he appears in the music video of "Welcome to Heartbreak."

The music video for "Welcome to Heartbreak" was released on February 17, 2009 on West's blog, and was directed by Nabil Elderkin.[3] The video, which features Kid Cudi, was filmed in a subway and distinctively expresses multifaceted, colorful patchworks of compression artifacts laced throughout its visuals, with certain scenes shot in slow motion. The resulting choppy, pixelated imagery makes it appear as if the software that rendered the final video outputted a low-resolution, artifact-heavy product. Elderkin pitched the concept, which he refers to as, "datamoshing" to Kanye while the two were collaborating on the photo album for West's Glow In The Dark Tour book. "I knew that was the song this video had to be for. He liked what I showed him, and I nagged him a few times about doing it. ... I told him again, I really felt this would be a great visual for the song, and he pulled the trigger. I got busy on the phone trying to put it together, and somehow we did it the next day in New York. I shot all the extra components the following week in L.A." Elderkin felt the visual technique was perfect for portraying the tone of the introductory track. "I wanted to use [the technique] in a more of strategic way, using calculated moshes, colors and textures to complement the effect. Different parts of the songs represented different feelings, and I wanted to come with a visual representation of the flow and textures that are I feel are very important in this song." Following its completion, the music video was released ahead of schedule after they learned that the technique used within it had been employed in another video by the Brooklyn-based electronic group Chairlift.[13]

Live performances

While showcasing artists signed onto his G.O.O.D. Music imprint, West performed the song live with Kid Cudi at SXSW on March 21, 2009.[14][15]

Chart positions

Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Pop 100[8] 87
UK R&B Chart[16] 33


Information taken from 808s & Heartbreak liner notes.[2]


  1. Welcome to Heartbreak Songfacts
  2. 1 2 808s & Heartbreak (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2008. 0-06025-1791919-8.
  3. 1 2 West, Kanye (2009-02-18). "Welcome to Heartbreak Directed by Nabil". Kanye West blog. Kanye West/Mascotte Holdings, LLC. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  4. Perkins, Brandon (2008-11-20). "CD Reviews Kanye West :: 808s & Heartbreak". URB. NativeSon Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  5. Eells, Josh (2008-11-24). "808s & Heartbreak – Blender". Blender. Alpha Media Group Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  6. Heaton, Dave (2008-12-01). "Kanye West 808s and Heartbreak < Reviews". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
  7. McBee, Wilson (2008-11-24). "Slant Magazine Music Review: Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak". Slant Magazine. Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  8. 1 2 "Pop 100 – Welcome To Heartbreak". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2008-12-13. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  9. "The Billboard Hot 100 – See You In My Nightmares". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2008-12-13. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  10. "Canada Hot 100 – See You In My Nightmares". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2008-12-13. Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  11. "The Billboard Hot 100 – Amazing". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2008-12-13. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  12. "Top 40 RnB Singles: 10.05.2009". The Official Charts Company. BBC Radio 1. bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  13. Rodriguez, Jayson (2009-02-18). "Kanye West Rushes New Video Onto His Web Site". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  14. Weingarten, Christopher (2009-03-22). "Kanye West Shows Off Proteges at SXSW Set Featuring Common, Erykah Badu". Rolling Stone. RealNetworks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  15. ibn jasper (2009). "Kid Cudi and Kanye Performing "Welcome to HeartBreak" @ SXSW". Vimeo. Vimeo, LLC. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  16. "Top 40 RnB Singles: 24.05.2009". The Official Charts Company. BBC Radio 1. bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
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