Love him or hate him — there are few artists as creatively polarizing as Kid Cudi. In the same way that his former friend, frequent collaborator, and G.O.O.D. Music mentor Ye has a track record of unleashing wildly imaginative and experimental bodies of work, the Cleveland-bred artist has a knack for letting his creative whims — regardless of how random, grandiose, or ill-advised they may seem at the time — guide his albums.
Over the course of his 10-album catalog, Cudder has delivered a wealth of projects with strong and disparate identities of their own, from his moody, rock-leaning WZRD team-up with Dot Da Genius in 2012 to his cathartic and free-spirited Kanye West collaborative album Kids See Ghosts in 2018. As a result, diving into Kid Cudi records has become quite an anxious experience. You may get the raw and unhinged style of music that made 2015’s Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven feel so far-out for countless fans and critiques, but you may also get to experience the comfort that comes with Cudi’s always-anticipated returns to his beloved Man On The Moon album series. With that said, going into Entergalactic — an album that arrived in tandem with the premiere of Cudi’s new Netflix show of the same name — was no different, especially considering the massive, multimodal scope of the Grammy award winner's latest project. As far as the musical component of Entergalactic is concerned, however, Kid Cudi has delivered an incredibly solid full-length effort.
Cudder has become synonymous with his infectiously melodic humming, and while his hums are admittedly a thing of legend, there are other recurring Cudi motifs that should also be applauded. Entergalactic starts with one of them — the Cud-less instrumental. Following in the footsteps of his intriguing non-MOTM albums like Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon and Indicud, Etergalactic sets the tone with “Entergalactic Theme,” a swelling atmospheric beat produced by Kid Cudi, Dot Da Genius, and William J. Sullivan. Although minimal, the cinematic instrumental ushers in a wondrous and ethereal aesthetic that transitions perfectly into Cudi’s first full appearance on the album with “New Mode.” The vibey track feels like vintage Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ Cudi, and it's simple, yet infectious, melody combines with reflective lyrics about inner peace, change, and self-realization to make for a rather quintessential Kid Cudi song. “New Mode” is an early-album standout track that feels both familiar and refreshing, and that’s probably why.
The slow-burning track transitions into a goofy Cudder moment in which he delivers an energetic impression of Steven A. Smith’s classic “Stay off the weed” catchphrase, and that’s when Entergalactic’s third track — titled “Do What I Want” — officially turns into a carefree, defiant, and weed- and shroom-friendly anthem boasting buoyant production courtesy of Take A Day Trip. Kid Cudi is in rare form during the opening stretch of Entergalactic, and even he seems to know it, as he flexes that he’s “back on the moon” at the end of the song’s second verse.
After the tour de force that is “Do What I Want” concludes, Cudi switches gears and drastically slows down the pace with “Angel,” but the variety that the track brings to the record vastly overpowers the fact that it’s an absolute momentum killer. Entirely drum-less, “Angel” is a dreamy, interlude-like track that finds Cudder waxing poetic about an angelic person who just came into his life, and while it’s far from the most exciting moment on Entergalactic, it does make for an easy listen, especially since it’s not even a full two-and-a-half minute track. Things kick back up with “Ignite The Love,” a guitar-heavy track that transforms the taken-aback nature of “Angel” into a full-fledged romantic ballad. Like the rest of Entergalactic up until that point, “Ignite The Love” isn’t the most complex lyric-wise or beat-wise —despite boasting production contributions from Kid Cudi, Dot Da Genius, Rex Kudo, Skrillex, Heavy Mellow, and Carlton McDowell — but once again, it doesn’t feel like anything is missing because the vibe checks out.
As you’d likely guess from the titles of the songs, the lovey-dovey stretch of Entergalactic continues from “Ignite The Love” into “In Love,” but Kid Cudi’s approach to the latter track makes for one of the most interesting songs of the album. The haunting Cud and Dot production that brings in the sixth track is almost antithetical to a love song, as it feels more like the background music of a tense Stranger Things episode than a celebration about being in love. From the choppy meter of his opening verse — “Never have I seen someone so pretty, wow/It's pretty wild, crazy/Caught me lookin', such a vision, oh, so pretty, wow/It's pretty wild, crazy” — to his howling delivery leading up to the hook — “Rollin' through my days and all my nights/Speedin' by, hoping I don't hit the walls/There she stands and we share a stare/She is all I've been wantin', y'all" — “In Love” is just such an unorthodox love song, and it’s easily one of the most experimental and enjoyable highlights from Entergalactic.
The middle stretch features the first guest artist collaborations of the album, including the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Willing to Trust” and the 2 Chainz-assisted “Can’t Believe It.” As one of the album’s previously released singles, “Willing To Trust” sounds just as good, if not better, within the ranks of its fellow Entergalactic tracks. On the following track, Cudi’s collaboration with 2 Chainz provides the new spark that the record needed. After four straight slower-paced love songs, Entergalactic was at risk of falling flat due to the lack of topical variation, but the pure rappity-rap energy of “Can’t Believe It” quickly fixed that, as Kid Cudi and 2 Chainz both delivered some pretty strong verses. The good vibes of “Can’t Believe It” seep over into the album’s ninth track, “Livin’ My Truth,” as well, and like “New Mode,” the funky Cud, Dot, E.Vax, and 18YOMAN-produced track has both a nostalgic yet fresh feel to it, from the feel-good raps to the off-kilter earworm of a hook.
From that point on, the album dives back into love song territory for the final five songs. In contrast to the four-song stretch from “Angel” to “Willing To Trust,” however, the ending of Entergalactic features some of the most enthralling and cinematic production on the record, which makes up for some of the recycled topics that slightly bog down the listening experience as the album nears its end. Fortunately, Entergalactic ends on an undisputed high note, the bright Don Toliver, Steve Aoki, and Dot Da Genius-assisted “Burrow.” The festival-friendly track boasts thumping production and an electrifying Don Toliver feature, and given its designation as a bonus track, it’s hard to not see “Burrow” as a major victory lap for Kid Cudi.
During an interview with Rolling Stone ahead of the release of Entergalactic, Cudder went on record saying, “I was tired of making albums. I was bored of it. I was bored of having an album, dropping two music videos, and then that’s it. I was tired of the same old thing.” As a result, it feels great to make it to the end of such a high-quality Cudi record and hear him sing, “Gettin' up and I'm smokin' in the mornin'/Feelin' right, yeah, feelin' right, yeah/Livin' out my dreams, ain't nothin' boring/Show you right, dip out through the night/This is what I've been waitin' for in my life/Been in hell so long, said I'm strong/The moonlight falls in my way/Been too low sometimes, watch me while I glow.”
And sure enough, Kid Cudi glowed all throughout Entergalactic.
For his eighth studio album, Kid Cudi has delivered yet another strong non-MOTM effort, and while he can definitely be commended for releasing an album and dropping a Netflix show on the same day, what’s really important to point out is that Entergalactic stands on its own as an LP, with most of its best songs being unassisted solo tracks. With a runtime of just under 46 minutes and plenty of intriguing moments sprinkled throughout it, Kid Cudi’s latest record makes for an incredible listening experience. If this is actually the last Kid Cudi album that we’ll be getting for the foreseeable future, so be it. Entergalactic is a stellar offering from the Man on the Moon.
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