Kid Cudi proves to be both a talented musician and an innovative rapper with “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,” his incredibly candid debut album that should appeal to any fan of hip-hop.
“Man on the Moon” is more mellow and thoughtful than the typical modern rap album. Cudi splits his debut into five acts that each represent a new phase in an open purging of his feelings of paranoia, depression and insecurity. The journey is a marijuana-infused trip into space where Cudi escapes a harsh reality only to discover intense loneliness.
An album with this many layers requires a certain degree of patience from the listener, but Cudi inevitably rewards extended listens with excellent lyrics and a fluid delivery that doesn’t shy away from demonstrating his singing ability. When Cudi smoothly sings, “The moon will illuminate my room / And soon I’m consumed by my doom,” he comes off more like a poet than a rapper.
Cudi raps openly about his family, his father’s death and the depression that still haunts him today. His pain comes through in “Soundtrack 2 My Life” when he says, “Since my father died, I ain’t been right since.” Every second and word of this track is lovingly crafted, resulting in a song that is both meaningful and an enjoyable listen.
When Kid Cudi exploded onto the mainstream audience’s radar, he did it with the story of the lonely stoner in “Day ‘n’ Nite” that has been dominating radio stations ever since. Though it’s been played to death at this point, “Day ‘n’ Nite” makes its triumphant return here, fitting perfectly in context.
Not every track is quite as satisfying, but songs as addictive as “Enter Galactic,” where Cudi’s calm voice croons over a catchy dance melody, make it easy to forgive the few lesser tracks. While Cudi’s overall sound is contemplative—even bleak at times—he smartly uses energetic tracks like “Galactic” to avoid overwhelming fatigue.
The final track, “Up Up & Away,” starts off with sunny, electric guitar, and then introduces each new instrument one at a time, producing the most feel-good close possible to “Man on the Moon.” Cudi’s personal growth over the course of the album culminates as well when he says, “I’ll be up, up and away / Up, up and away / Cuz in the end they’ll judge me anyway so whatever.”
Kid Cudi bares his soul on “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” to create a wonderful debut album that, with patience, has a lot to love and is definitely recommended.