Saturday, 19 September 2009

Face First In Music

Recently, I'm really enjoying cramming as much music into my ears as I can without just utterly scrambling my puny little brain.

That's the cover of the Kid Cudi album that just came out and that I "bought" with Tower Records points. The only point card I ever remember to carry around; imagine if I'd stored up points for the hundreds and hundreds of pounds I spent at the supermarkets near my house in the last two years! Then again, I often think that the money off I would have reaped would never have made up for the fact that I would have had to carry around a bunch of fucking points cards.

Anyway, the Kid Cudi album (cover painted by comic book legend Bill Sienkiewicz, fact fans!) is very good, although slightly absurd. Kudi is one of Kanye's current proteges, and the album is executive produced by Yeezy and bears something of a resemblance to 808's and Heartbreak, probably because Cudi helped Kanye make that little slice of Yeezy's world. There's a sticker with a quote from Kanye on the front of this record saying: "Cudi is a combination of constant inspiration, struggle, reality and dreams put to melody!" which makes me want to write Kanye-esque sandwich descriptions like "It's a combination of hard work, tuna, adversity and mayonaise put on rye bread!"

Everyone hates Kanye at the moment right? Eh, they'll get over it, he's a genius.

The biggest similarity would have to be the subtle-as-a-brick, heart-on-sleeve introspective soul searching aspect of the album. Man on the Moon: The End of Day (its... frankly terrible title) is a concept album and a half: divided into different parts, with narration guiding you between each suite of three songs and orchestral interludes. And like most concept albums it has epic sweep, and like most hip-hop albums it has unbelievable self convidence and bravado. But with Man on the Moon, this scale and drama is applied to the story of a guy that feels frustrated in his life one night, gets depressed, gets stoned, and in the morning feels much more positive about things.

It's not an amazing album, and not entirely successful in its aims, but it's incredibly interesting and its shortcomings add a lot to its charm. It's also surprisingly downbeat and minimal for a hyped hip-hop artist's debut, and a real grower - every time I listen to it I like it a little more, which is a great sign. I'm interested if this Kanye West-led macho, spill-your-guts kind of mainstream hip-hop can really take off, but I for one am enjoying the disconnect between a guy one minute saying "Why must it feel so wrong when I try to do right?" and the next coming out with "But man, ol' girl got a phat ol' ass / Yeah the type to make you tell a bitch just dance."

Hmmm, I was going to write about other music I've been listening too as well, but this'll do for now. Just know that I've been really impressed at how Kool Keith can make "You and me drinking tea by the fireplace," into the start of such a crude, filthy couplet.

Man's a genius. A very dirty genius.

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