Posted: Wednesday – September 30, 2009
Kid Cudi, spokesman for the pre-labeled and misunderstood, is releasing his debut album Man On The Moon: End Of Day on September 15th. Backed by the creative genius that is Kanye West, and featured in the press as a leader of the new school/generation, expectations for the artist and his debut album are high, even though the hip hop community overall is still unconvinced. Luckily for his fans , Cudi seems completely uninterested in finding his niche in the Hip Hop community, but instead inspires to create a world of his own. As a warning, this is not a rap album, one could even argue whether or not it meets up to Hip Hop’s standards. To borrow words from Anna Nalick’s song 2 A.M. (it is oddly appropriate) “…these words are (his) diary screaming out loud” and Kid hopes that “…by getting them all down, they’ll no longer threaten the life they belong to.” The album is narrated by Common and split up into five different sections or acts.
During the first act, The End Of Day, we are introduced to the mind we will be perusing through for remainder the CD. The title of the act is fitting as night is the time most set aside for reflecting. In My Dreams finds Cudi singing about how his dreams are mini-vacations from reality where everything is right and all his needs and desires are met. The song moves along slowly and although Cudi is fairly understandable, you don’t really get the message until the spoken word from Common at the end. Soundtrack To My Life has a dope opening line albeit not completely original, “I’ve got 99 problems and they all bitches.” Although the song’s tour through Cudi’s complicated emotional makeup requires thought the production from Emile coupled with Cudi’s flow makes it possible for the listener to completely miss what is being said. It may not be intentional, or it could be genius as it also lends to how Cudi says his sorrow was able to fly under the radar from family and friends.
Act II: Rise Of The Night Terrors is the best of the best. In this section the beautifully dark, Solo Dolo (Nightmare), a song capable of making a smiling man’s happiness seem temporary and justify the sadness of every depressed person whose felt like an exception that life’s good times avoided. Heart Of A Lion (Kid Cudi Theme) smells like a leftover from Kanye’s 808 and Heartbreaks, but it’s hot nonetheless. Act III: Taking A Trip features danceable tracks and an apparently forever mellow Kid Cudi. During Act IV: Stuck, the synth that was there all along gets kicked into overdrive, probably due to the presence of the electronic music duo Ratatat and synth-pop group MGMT. Cudi Zone which reminds you not only that Cudi raps, but also takes you in with the chorus, making you want to close your eyes, sway to the tune of the synths and sing along. The mesmerizing Pursuit Of Happiness which features both Ratatat and MGMT is one of the few songs on the album which actually lifts up the listener and inspires them for days ahead. Act V: A New Beginning takes us to the end of the night, daybreak is right around the bend and the Xanax has just kicked in. All the problems have been ripped through and put back together, neatly placed under his pillow for the next day’s night. His brave face is on and he stands ready for whatever comes next.
Cudi deserves respect for delving into topics that most in the Hip Hop community won’t touch or even admit exist, and if this could be defined as a Hip Hop album there is chance that he would get it. While this album masterfully mixes several different genres such as electronica, pop, and alternative rock; Hip Hop isn’t so elastic (perhaps a problem he will fix), and the album will be probably be cast off as “other”. There is not a bad song on the album, the elusive 5 star rating is held a half-point away because one can’t say with confidence that this is an album you can listen to seamlessly, even the most tortured of souls would need a break. This is for those comfortable being eclectic, the weirdos who can go from singing B-52’s Love Shack to Q-Tip’s Getting Up without skipping a beat. To say it is an “acquired taste” may be an understatement, but Cudi gives you the opportunity to broaden your horizons and became a fan of good music in general. Take it!