Too much rage?

As a society, we tend to let artists get away with more than most people because their art is worth whatever hell they raised in the process.  We’ve seen this in the past, specifically with drug use, with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Janis Joplin, whose music was heavily influenced by whatever they were sippin’, smokin’ or droppin’.  It’s certainly no new phenomena, and it’s something that occurs today throughout all music genres (except maybe Gospel).  I myself don’t mind if an artist needs a little extra something-something to get the creative juices flowing, just as long as the final product is quality.  But what happens if an artist’s drug use lowers the quality of their music?  Do we still turn a blind eye and wait for an upturn?

This leads me to the most disappointing album of 2010: Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.  Now, I happen to love Kid Cudi’s first album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which is chalk-full of weed and ‘shroom references, but it seems that Cudi has gotten heavier into drugs these days.  He is the self proclaimed “Mr. Rager” after all.  And let’s not forget about his liquid cocaine bust or this shining moment:
Mama Cudi would be proud.
All jokes aside, Cudi’s drug use has seemed to hamper his performance on Man on the Moon II.  Too much off-key singing, not enough rapping – lyrically, it falls flat and is clearly uninspired.  I also noticed that I don’t sympathize with Cudi as much as I did on his first album.  Man on the Moon II is definitely darker and more cohesive than Man on the Moon I, but it also feels a bit contrived.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some depressed Cudi, but how he talks about his own tortured soul with such, dare I say, pride?  It just throws it off for me.  Maybe I set my hopes too high for this album.  Maybe Cudi is due, like many other artists, his own sophomore slump.

As much as Man on the Moon II fell short of my expectations, I have to give credit when it’s due.  The production quality is sound.  I wouldn’t expect anything less, as it came in part from Kanye West’s GOOD music label.  Also, I’m really digging the hip-hop/alt. rock sound Cudi is growing into (listen to “REVOFEV”).  I think he’s onto something there.  He just needs to perfect it.  And maybe rage a little less.

By Courtney Flynn

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