Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kid Cudi - Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven Review

The great tragedy of Kid Cudi. It’s a story that’s been told a million times. From the creator of the fan-beloved Man On The Moon series, the Cleveland rapper has descended into mediocre madness, straying from his Hip-Hop origins into confusing pseudo-Grunge for a generation of angered adolescents. In Cudi’s eyes, he’s reached nirvana, both the transcendental feeling and the group he’s mimicking. To others, Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven is the worst thing they’ve heard in years. And in all honesty, they’re right. For the past few years, throughout his downfall, I’ve given Cudi the benefit of the doubt despite witnessing his obsession over himself and his music grow. Satellite Flight wasn’t good, but I found enjoyment out of it through some avenues that seemed to aspire for greater things, using his resources to create a spectral piece that represented outer space well. And while this two disc, 91 minute megalith monstrosity aims to create something bold and brilliant, it’s revolting in how horrifically it fails. Cudi's latest work is a testament to someone's growing narcissism, unwillingness to take criticisms, and forced blinding of actual talent, resulting in 2015's worst album by one forever speeding bullet. 

For this review I'll be focusing solely on disc one. Eight added songs, four being acoustic demos of previously heard compositions doesn't ring too kindly to someone who suffered through the previous hour of whiny, amateur monotony. Let's start with the good shall we? Discounting the moments where a smirk arises from being so bad it's good, a la Tommy Wiseau's The Room, Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven's sole beacon of hope arises in its title track thanks to Plain Pat, the only contributor to Cudi's mess. After the 16 previous tracks jamming a poorly tuned and even more poorly played guitar down the listener's throat, Plain Pat's beat(!) is a fresh welcome, bordering on Trip-Hop reminiscent of Portishead. A thumping drum carries heavy synths that truly warrant the eery sound Cudi was going for. While the song doesn't completely fall off the rails upon his arrival, it does sputter, as a jarring acoustic set plays under Cudi's trademarked moaning. It's as if Yoko Ono rudely interrupted John Lennon once again, leaving the other 17 tracks her's to dismantle however she sees fit. And really, upon a single listen, the comparison is apt, with an artist losing sight of his talents, neglecting adversaries, falling off into his otherworld where he's the only shining star.

For analytical thinkers who seek answers to life's complexions Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven has another purpose, that of a true offering of someone's maniacal existence. Theoretically Cudi could be the worlds greatest troll, forever pushing the limits of bad in order to lower the standards for Man On The Moon III's eventual release. That's my hope. But for now we're given bizarro screams, unsettling whispers of "someone, anyone, give me candy," indecipherable vocals pitch shifted that sound like Avant-Garde skits found in the weird part of Youtube, and multiple minute-long skits involving the world's most annoying duo Beavis & Butthead praising Cudi's work as "the greatest album that has been made in the history of man." What's on the surface though is an artist withering, taking an instrument with unimaginable depth and restricting it to the most one-dimensional patterns imagined. Nearly every song adheres to this so it's hard to single out any, calling the album Acoustics For Dummies would better suit its contents. Some moments aren't awful though. The opener, 'Edge Of The World,' is a melodic slow-burner, 'Fairy Tale Remains' would work as a 90's Grunge outfit jam session, and 'Adventures' might be the closest thing to Cudi's older works here. 

What might be most shocking about Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven, and this review, is that I haven't begun to mention its worst aspect; the lyrics. Ever since his Punk transformation began Cudi has attracted late-blooming emo teens who adore musical basics and admire artists who criticize humanity in a pity attempt at acting high and mighty. For evidence see any Youtube video post-MOTM days. For the first time in his career Cudi has welcomed them, not the other way around, by pandering to their needs and creating music centered around topics best left for embarrassing reflection decades after that 'phase' many went through in middle school. Through Beavis & Butthead he continues his tirade of wiping the earth of "haters," an act he pushes in real life by blocking anyone who says anything negative about him on Twitter. The disruptive adolescent behavior reaches climatic states on tracks like 'Judgmental Cunt' and 'Angered Kids,' the latter taking the perspective of a rash teen about to exact deadly revenge on their bullies by glorifying acts like Columbine. Others like 'Fuchsia Butterflies' and 'Handle With Care' approach suicidal thoughts with almost no sincerity or sympathy, hollering about having "daddy's gun" on the former and whimpering "i'm so fragile and delicate" on the latter.

Much of Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven is hard to listen to. From an outsider's perspective you worry for those who take Cudi as gospel, preaching that Kurt Cobain is smiling down on his accomplishments while believing murder is an appropriate reaction to the haters who only intend to steer a lost artist on a better path. Critically, the response to this one won't soon quell that active battle, the clear signs of a once professional musician and rapper creating a record so amateurish won't sit well. There is little question across the board that Kid Cudi's fifth album is the worst of 2015. Few, if any, facets of its enigma, from the scope, to the content, to the skits, to the production, to the lyrics, would land anywhere but at the bottom of a comprehensive list. There's no better indicator to the quality of work this smug leader has put out than to witness, throughout its duration, 90's teenage Grunger's favorite crass cartoons Beavis & Butthead continually praise and admire the work put in front of them. From being choked up following 'The Nothing's' vapid children's nursery rhyme to 'scoring' thanks to the album's achievements, nothing, ironically, could have confessed to the album's awfulness than its obsessive fascination with itself. 


  1. gave it 1 because its the number 1 album of the year :)

  2. You know it ;) Only difference between a 1 and 10 anyways is a 0.