Kid Cudi has released his expansive new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. After disappointing most with his late 2015 LP Speedin Bullet to Heaven, Cudder seems to have refound some of the initial magic that made him so special - dare we say the Man on the Moon?
Kid Cudi has had a tumultuous year. It started out on a low note as the world largely recoiled from Speedin Bullet To Heaven and wondered what had happened to Cudder. They started to warm up to a few loose singles that reignited the belief that a new album could bring back the signature sound that catapulted Cudi into the national conscious.
Then he beefed with Drake and Kanye West, before admitting to having suicidal thoughts and depression and going to rehab to get help. He has emerged seemingly a healthier individual and now has released this delayed album.
On first glance and listen, Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin' is an expansive and powerful project. He tackles his own vulnerabilities, depression and love throughout the album. There are plenty of moody, lo-fi tracks spread throughout the album, but also more upbeat tracks that standout from the pack as potential radio single such as "By Design," songs with lusher soundscapes like "Kitchen" and much more. It isn't just the drugged out, discombobulated psychedelic rock, hip-hop project that he put out last year.
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' tackles his hard battle with depression, which unfortunately seems to be where a lot of Cudi's best music seems to be inspired from. Man On The Moon and Man On The Moon II both grapple with that and many songs on this album do to.
With an album this long, there are a few songs that feel like filler in between others that really pop. When he originally released the tracklist, Cudder split the album into four parts and it doesn't divide as clearly as he might have liked, but there is a general change in mood from start to finish.
With that passion can come some wild swings and there are moments when Kid Cudi can veer a little off course and be over the top like on the "Distant Fantasies."
Those who appreciate excellent production should really enjoy the opening percussion on "The Guide" and just how precise it is.
After an hour and a half of Cudi barring his own soul, he ends with the boisterous "Surfin," with Pharrell where he proclaims his independence "I ain't riding no waves / Too busy making my own waves."
There is a much clearer focus on this album. It can feel long at times as some of the moodier, ambient songs, but they help wave together the album. Despite the few shortcomings, this could be Cudi's best album in years, capturing the magic that made him so great 5-7 years ago. The mixture of unique rapping and singing style all over psychedelic, hip-hop beats. All of that is back and more and we could not be happier to hear it.
Also I think we all can agree that Kid Cudi has the best hums in the game.
Pick up the album on iTunes and stream it below.