WZRD (Kid Cudi & Dot da Genius)
Kid Cudi has been systematically trifling away any amount of goodwill that I may have originally had for him (meaning I am not a member of this fanpage). First, Cudi followed up his take-the-world-by-storm debut with a lackluster, albeit not terrible, sophomore album. Then, maybe through no fault of his own, Cudi’s character on HBO’s How to Make it in America became simply intolerable in the second season. I mean, come on, who wants to watch a respectable hip-hop artist portray a pot dealer for Manhattan’s elite who delivers said weed under the guise of a dog walker. He also transitioned from a smooth operator to a whimpering puddle of emotion who decides to date one of his best friend’s exes, which is pretty incestuous and sad. And now, Cudi has brought us WZRD to complete his transition to a Drake-like cautionary figure of the wussification of hip-hop.
For those who remain unawares, WZRD is Kid Cudi’s “rock project” with producer Dot da Genius. Kid Cudi’s foray into “rock” may not be as high profile of a failure as Lil’ Wayne’s Rebirth, but unfortunately for us all, WZRD is an even worse failure than Rebirth. WZRD lacks even a hint of the ambition (however ill-advised) that Wayne showed. And as I think most of us can agree, Cudi has about half the lyrical prowess of Wayne, no matter whether rap or rock they are engaged in.
Kid Cudi may have first hinted at his desire to do more “rock-pop”-style music on Man on the Moon II with the track “Erase Me”. This track was actually kind of charming and catchy, even though the music video was a little ill-advised to portray Cudi as Jimi Hendrix (casting Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Clark Duke as Cudi’s band-mates was a homerun though). Clearly, trying to parlay the success of “Erase Me” into a full album of like material was a move that his “people” should have put an end to, before the project ever really began.
So why is this album a failure? I’ll try to sum that up for you in around one hundred words here. All the power chords make the tracks more fitting for a track off of the soundtrack for American Pie than a 2012 Kid Cudi album. The lyrics are so melodramatic and transparent that it’s a wonder Cudi and Pete Wentz haven’t been photographed clubbing in Miami Beach on a weekly basis. Kid Cudi’s delivery of the aforementioned lyrics is extremely sub-par, and proves that there’s a time and a place for more auto-tune. And finally, Cudi covers the traditional folk song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (aka “In the Pines”). What is wrong with this, you ask? Well besides the overall delivery, this song is the single most tortured performance by Kurt Cobain on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged. Cudi never even had a chance to make an impression on our generation by covering this song, when Cobain already murdered it.
^^^A little This NOT That bonus for you this week
I usually try to come up with something positive to say about every album I review, but this is probably the worst album I have personally reviewed in 6+ months of writing here (save, maybe but not definitely, the Nickelback album). Don’t ask me to do something that is so very painful to do. The worst part about WZRD is that I half-expected it to be a failure, but I fully expected it to at least be an interesting failure. Not so.
^^^Cudi’s inferior version of “In the Pines”
As bad as this record is, you should be warned not to give up all hope on Kid Cudi. There is one all-important factor that still weighs in Cudi’s favor in the world of music: Kanye still likes him. Cudi should be featured fairly prominently on the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation, and has a solo record due in 2012 as well. So while it may be the dusk of Kid Cudi’s time of import as a hip-hop artist, there are a couple of opportunities for redemption that we can all at least hold a candle for.
Can’t Miss: None
Can’t Hit: All of the songs, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”