Cudi’s Struggle with Versatility

A while ago, I read a book called This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen in which one of the characters, Dexter, is in a band with his friends called Truth Squad. They’re horrible. Apparently, one of their songs is about potatoes.

While listening to Kid Cudi’s new album, Speeding Bullet to Heaven (SBTH), I was reminded of Truth Squad.

SBTH might have made my ears bleed. I listened to the entire album in order to form an opinion, and I was dying to listen to something else the whole time. I don’t know why I did that to myself. I know why. I did it for you guys. You’re more than welcome to mail me a thank you gift for doing so.

“Man of the Night” lacks rhythm. “Fade 2 Red” was probably written by an elementary schooler. “Adventures” includes the lyrical genius “no more chicken sandwiches.” Maybe this song was written on a Sunday, with Chick fil a being closed then and all. “AMEN” is painfully one – dimensional. “Red Sabbath” is so monotonous.

I absolutely loved Cudi’s older albums – Man on the Moon: The End of Day and Man on the Moon II: The Journey of Mr. Rager (MOTM I and II).

Those albums defined Cudi as a successful artist. He musically expressed himself in a raw way that attracted people. My favorite lyrics of his from those two albums are “When will the fantasy end / when will the heaven begin” , “These worries are heavy / they rest on my shoulders” , “I’ve got some issues that nobody can see / and all of these emotions are pouring out of me.”

That music really made me think, which is what good music often does to you.

SBTH is different, for sure. It’s more alternative rock, whereas MOTM I and II were rap-ish.

And that’s not to say that versatility in a artist is a bad thing. No, versatility is awesome – given that you remain talented.

Look at Justin Bieber. His music is so different now, but it’s fire. He realized that EDM is a hot thing now, so he allowed it to influence his newest album, Purpose.

The Weeknd established himself in 2011 as an offshoot of R&B. His 2015 album, Beauty Behind the Madness, is a bit far away from that sound. “In the Night” had to have been inspired by Michael Jackson, and then he collaborated with Ed Sheeran. Ed. Sheeran. But it worked.

Lana Del Rey has been all over the map. Born to Die is flower crowns and pink lemonade and all things cute. Paradise is provocative and teasing (“I don’t really want to know what’s good for me” from “Gods and Monsters”). Ultraviolence is dark and intense. Then, Honeymoon is extravagant and beautiful.

I’m not here to hate on artists changing up their styles. No, I think that’s stellar. But Cudi struggled with versatility, so maybe he isn’t as strong of a musician as I once thought.

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2 thoughts on “Cudi’s Struggle with Versatility

  1. At first I assumed people hated this record because silly rap fans tend to hate rap (Ever met close-minded Hip-Hop heads? Wu-Tang worshippers who love A Tribe Called Quest and call AC/DC sexist? Oh boy!). Then I heard some tracks and, well, it sounded like a dude just droning into a microphone with a guitar doing noises in the background.

    He dropped such a great feature on Kanye’s Dark Fantasy! What the hell!

    Like

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