Review Summary: Kid Cuddi's ambition with this project is respectable, especially when considering his current position in popular music, but he spends so much effort making sure there's no doubting this for the new sound he wants to approach, and is as far away from his
Instead of the typical Trip Hop route, Kid Cudi gave modern-day mainstream Hip Hop a concept driven, psychedelic rock accessory to create it's space-bound atmosphere, inspired most obviously by Pink Floyd. It's hard to believe no one thought of it before him as a mater of fact. After all, let's face it, for a long time rap has been associated with common talk of "blunt blowin'" and such, and the big deal about psychedelic rock back in the day was sure as hell not being sober while listening. So it would only make sense that those lyrical themes (delivered in the baked way only a rapper could do correctly) with that sound would make a clever combination, and it did, as Cudi didn't attempt to be both a progressive rock act, and a Hip Hop artist. Rather, he took the essential components of psychedelic rock and applied it to the modern day scene with the ambition and determination to help it move forward in the next most creative steps. And when thought about, the next most logical steps if they where ever going to be any.
Kid Cudi is even more dead-set on doing his roots justice, and showcasing his rock inspirations with his newly formed duo WZRD, with a sound comprised of alternative rock, psychedelic rock, experimental rock, indie rock...and in case the drift has not been caught, the main point here is that it's solely a rock based album entirely, and that the point he is trying to make is that he is trying to completely distance himself from Hip Hop in the work of this duo. The fact that the Black Sabbath song "The Wizard" inspired the name WZRD, clearly first shows where his influences lie, and also help give the impression that his ultimate goal here is a recollection of the days of drug experimentation in music, and indie underground dominance of the 70's scenes of acid atmospheres and intentionally utilized lo-fi production.
Cudi does take full advantage of one being able to completely change their musical style while under a new alias, and his desire to prove himself to the indie rock scene that he takes his ambition and integrity seriously, is both daring and admirable, but it seems like the whole idea first in mind here was to make an album that is completely rock, and more then just the rock influences he's displayed in his hip hop music so far. And all right he made the rock album...is the fact that it is indeed a rock album plain and simple all that matters?
Well any listener would hope that if he's going to change his sound to something that before was secondary support, he would fill in the blanks properly and expand upon these ideas? Well, the thing is with this album, is that Kid Cudi has the idea of what these sounds ARE down, but they aren't a special idea. He wants you to recognize all of these different influences for the genres they come from, so he resorts to using cliches and routine signature sounds that the genre is known for so it's immediately and easily recognizable.
Kid Cudi was good at taking these recognizable aspects of these influences and using them as application, so they where recognizable within a new and interesting sound, and through a thoroughly different core foundation via Hip Hop in his case. They were not cliche this way because they where not the main and only attention.
But on this, he pulls all of the generic strings. He wants you to know that this has a lo-fi feel, so he uses other member and producer Dot da Genius to give WZRD the stereotype of a lo-fi feel so you don't mistake it. The understanding of the outlines are spot-on, but he obtained previous success because he filled it with something unexpected, this entire album has bland, boring, predictable, and faceless filling.
The impression this leaves is that the fact that it is of the rock genre was all that mattered, and this album feels painfully unrelated, and out of times. The ambition may give it intrigue, and Cudi is aspiring, and he may have possibly used this to just do by the books rock to prove himself by bringing that sound to modern times and mainstream hip hop fans, but he's trying too hard, and lacking in bringing himself into the mix. Because on the actual content side of things, which is what really matters the most overall, there really isn't anything worth checking out that's not same-old, same-old when it comes to rock music.
Basically, it is an ironic case when the special trait that made an artist's music so different and unique at first, then makes their music nothing special and no different from everybody else, when that same once special trait is accentuated when it's by itself. And that is exactly the same case here on WZRD disappointingly.