Review Summary: Insanity at its worst
There’s really no easy way to begin reviewing this album so let me start by saying how much I (used to) appreciate Kid Cudi’s music. During Cudi’s Man on the Moon phase, he was really brilliant at conveying a certain mood that was both appealing and dark. Although he was producing nothing groundbreaking, Cudi captivated a particular fan base and was effective at making quality music while setting himself apart from other rap artists. WZRD, however, did something to Cudi. What started off as a side project turned into something that Scott Mescudi wanted to actively pursue within his own music. This alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing as artists are supposed to develop their sound and even make changes to their music over time, but in Kid Cudi’s case it was the start of his own destruction, and Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven is the nail in the coffin.
The album itself has almost no redeeming qualities. Every song is repetitive, the vocal performances are abysmal, and the guitar riffs are incredibly amateurish and elementary. Almost every track falters because of how underdeveloped and monotonous they are at the core. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 3-minute song like ‘Fade 2 Red’ or a 6-minute-long endeavor like ‘Adventures’ because either the riffs or the lyrics are repeated so many times that it feels like an eternity listening to it. It’s actually extremely difficult to decipher between different songs because of how lackluster and forgettable they are. In fact, the only memorable songs on this album are actually the ones that are so atrocious that the listener is forced to laugh at how preposterous they are. ‘The Nothing’ is an excellent example of this as Cudi begins it by whispering “Someone, anyone give me candy” into your ear. ‘The Return of Chip Douglas’ also exemplifies this phenomenon because of the abhorrent outro where Cudi quite literally moans and angrily hums into the microphone, almost as if he himself believes that the whole song was a joke.
Certain songs are actually somewhat interesting at first because of their punk-esque nature. In fact, some of the guitar riffs are almost rectifiable as they add a certain element of excitement, contrasted with the mundane ballads that are riddled throughout the album. However, every song that starts like this eventually becomes unsuccessful because of one of two paths the song eventually goes down. Either the vocal performance is so unpleasant that it ruins any momentum the song had (see ‘Judgmental Cunt’ and ‘Séance Chaos’) or the riff is replicated over and over again that the song just becomes intolerable to listen to (see ‘Screwed’ and ‘Angered Kids’). Kid Cudi’s inexperience with whatever genre he is attempting to replicate is clearly the cause of the failure of every upbeat song he has produced on this album.
Even the lethargic ballads that Cudi attempts to manufacture fail because of how dull and uninspired they are. This is, hypothetically, where the lyrics would be able to shine through because of how subdued the instrumental parts are, but Cudi instead chooses to sing the most nonsensical and absurd lyrics. Whether it’s laughably awful lines like “her vagina is moist and warm” or lyrics that are hidden behind a thin veil of so-called metaphors that they sound like something someone in middle school might write after learning about the concept of analogies. Some lyrics are actually recoverable as they dive deep into the dark, depressed psyche of Scott Mescudi himself, but unfortunately the vocal delivery detracts from any emotion that these lyrics might have within them. Not even the Beavis and Butthead interludes that conclude some tracks are enjoyable. Most conversations between the two characters have to do with how great the album is and how much of a genius Kid Cudi is, and it becomes so annoyingly self-congratulatory that one starts to despise the characters themselves.
As the first part of the album comes to a close, one song shines through as a somewhat decent track despite the monotonous mess of the first 16 tracks. During the title track, a spacey beat comes in with an appealing bassline and a head-bumping vibe. Even though Cudi’s vocal performance is sub-par, the lyrics are actually quite sad as Cudi predicts his own destruction, and the listener is actually able to feel the emotion Cudi is attempting to convey. This is an obvious cry for help, and even Scott attempts to ignore this by telling himself that he is “all smiles” and actually alright. This is an enjoyable moment, yet it’s brief as the album takes a sharp decline in quality during the 8 demo tracks that are somehow even worse than the rest of the album.
Overall the album is not worth revisiting, or even visiting in the first place. Kid Cudi shows us exactly what he thinks it means to be musically creative, yet this album is void of any creativity or originality. Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven is an album that was only created because of Cudi’s avoidance of criticism and his fans that praise his work no matter the actual quality of it. This is not the decline of an artist or even an artist’s attempt to stay relevant, this is what it’s like to listen to the death of a musical career.