Kid Cudi: Man on the Moon III: The Chosen Album Review

If you are a certain age, the first man in the Moon, from 2009, probably meant something to you. Maybe that’s where you took your first bong hit Kid Cudi chanted, “I’ve got 99 problems and they’re all bitches.” Or maybe you sent your middle school crush a link to “Cudi Zone,” and he replied, “Your taste in music is sick!” Or maybe you somber from yours Staring at bedroom windows and playing “Day ‘N’ Nite” repeatedly in hopes that one day you could strip down and post on a Soho street corner in a bape hoodie. Cudi’s music was there for many transformative experiences. And though he’s released barely memorable solo music in a decade, he’s still viewed through nostalgic glasses with the hope that one day he’ll change lives again.

To Cudi’s honor Man on the Moon III: The Chosen Ones is not a money grab or a plea for relevance. He’s doing relatively well without it. (This year alone he starred in the new Luca Guadagnino HBO Showappeared in the third Bill and Ted film and scored a #1 single With Travis Scott.) But even if Cudi’s heart is in the right place, Man on the Moon III still feels like the old rock band reunites and their costumes don’t fit anymore.

The old crew is back on the album – Dot Da Genius, Mike Dean, Plain Pat, Emile Haynie and even Evan Mast advice— and some new faces have been added to the group: most notably Take a Daytrip, the beat-making duo that pops up when the big Atlanta producers are too busy. To make the album seem more important it is broken into four acts and tries to follow a loose concept about trying to conquer his demons and find peace. Part of what made Cudi’s music so appealing was that he was an everyman. His stories of how depression and loneliness affected his relationships were detailed enough to be personal, but vague enough to be easily applied to anyone’s life. That’s no longer the reality, and Cudi doesn’t seem to realize it.

When he’s not trying to be relatable, Cudi excels. “Girl is tellin’ me she don’t know what she want/Lotta demons creepin’ up, they’re livin’ below,” he raps uncomfortably over the best song on the album, “Tequila Shots,” and rattles off a snippet of his down life instead of trying to capture the zeitgeist. Over that familiar sounding Dot Da Genius and Daytrip beat, his tone also finds the perfect balance, not too monotonous or overly excited, which is usually the case for him.

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