Kids See Ghosts
Kids See Ghosts


4.0
excellent

Review

by Conmaniac CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
June 9th, 2018 | 555 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: seeing ghosts and back

I’m not sure anybody knew how this project would turn out when Kanye announced the collab back in late April. Although most probably hoped for some amalgamation of ‘Make Her Say’ and ‘Gorgeous’, my pessimistic mind flew back in time to the 2012 duo project WZRD. Not to say my expectations were that low, it’s just that with Kid Cudi’s inconsistency throughout the past 6 years and Kanye’s, well, Kanye-shit as of late, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high.

Speaking of too high, remember when Cudi was seeing ghosts, locked up in that 2015 studio moaning about chicken sandwiches and candy? Although I can only speculate, it’s pretty clear to me that the collective’s name refers to those dark, drug-induced demons the man faced while presumably on some form of psychedelics. Cudi makes “moving on” a lyrical keynote as the music blends his hallucinatory potential with Kanye’s knack for production and sampling, harmonizing into a summery strawberry-lemonade refreshment. ‘Freeee’ sounds like a realized WZRD single with bass blaring under the record’s best vocal performances. Supported by gospel gang vocals and some dynamic instrumentation, it’s one of the most immediately memorable tracks as it blossoms with a jubilant clashing of percussion, quirky sampling, and buzzing guitar performances. Yet as “ I feel free…” lingers on into the reverb-drenched foreground, lessons learned from past pysch(e)-abuse coincide in the form of a simple mantra: letting go. Honestly, for two formerly stubborn artists, it’s brilliant to recall elements of failed projects, re-envision them, and simply declare by the end of it all: “keep moving forward ”. And despite all of the countless past influences cropping up, this album certainly feels like the tonal equivalent of progressing through the disorienting darkness and finding that blinding light at the end of the tunnel. Although ‘Reborn’ contains one chorus too many, I can almost excuse its repetitiveness; Kid Cudi is tackling his own regrets. It’s a flashback to his MOTM stoner days as the song recalls that incredible balance between introspection and motivation, vibing along to a floaty ‘Sky Might Fall’-esque dreamboat. Plus, it’s backed elegantly by a friend who happens to be one of the greatest producers in the hip-pop realm.

I feel like I’m focusing on my childhood-era icon, Scott Mescudi, a bit too much, and although we do see a bit more of Cudi’s vocals, I’d still call the effort an even 50/50 split. While on Ye Kanye sounded like he needed to clear the air, on Kids See Ghosts the cool summer breeze is too revitalizing for any bipolar side steps. Kanye allows his buddy’s conceit to become his own, as bars often see him accepting his own madness while brushing critiques of past projects aside: “through with mixed-messages, through with the mail ”. The brilliantly sampled ‘What Will Santa Claus Say’ proves to be the highlight of the seven-track release, seeing both Cudi and Kanye spitting their most fun-induced verses, even referring to each other’s music (“now this the theme song ” and “put the beams on ”). It’s an appropriate climax for an album so concerned with righting wrongs and celebrating individuality. As such, the maniacal laughs that fade in before Cudi’s verse make so much sense for an introduction, smoothly melding to an otherwise very Kanye-sounding song. Even Kanye’s nod to Big Shaq within the opener’s frenzied shouts (“Grrrat, gat-gat-gat ”) doesn’t come off as purposefully psychotic but instead hilariously playful, allowing for his own production and vocals to scatter-dance together. It later proves to be a common theme for the album; sharp and rushed percussive hits often fly in without notice, complimenting yet contrasting the often smoothed out, cloud-catcher production Cudi resides in. Although past interactions between the two artists have spawned fascinating results, there is an intentional fusion at play; neither artist sacrificed any part of themselves but instead utilized production and songwriting as agents for synthesis rather than a stylistic clashing.

In December of 2015 for SB2H’s review, I ended the piece by stating: “this is what it’s like to listen to the death of a musical career”. Although it was clouded by emotion and disappointment for the endeavor’s overlong experimentation, nothing Cudi’s done since has gotten me hopeful for a full recovery from that malevolent excuse for a release. As if inspired by the grunge-riddled attempt, the closer utilizes a more-respectable Kurt Cobain guitar riff for a statement of religious hope within violent times. The two patch their thoughts together brilliantly; it’s just the right amount of political anger and human sympathy, allowing for a cry out to God to cap off the solemn note with a splash of perseverance. I guess what I’m trying to say is, despite my previous sentiments and fears, Kid Cudi’s rebirth is just as beautiful as his metamorphosis into that lonely Man on the Moon. With the help of Kanye, I can now confidently restate my conclusion: this is what it’s like to listen to the breath of life reinvigorating a musical career.



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user ratings (551)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Three from three....

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3.5 is not a bad rating (4.5)
Keep moving forward....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kid cudi fans get hype ...

easy 4.1/5, cc welcome, thx Ben n Granite for the help ofc

neekafat
June 9th 2018


11398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Actually enjoying the hell out of this

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah dude it's hard not to love

Piglet
June 9th 2018


7752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ayyy neato mate neatoeroo

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thx mate

Papa Universe
June 9th 2018


16634 Comments


them features

Digging: VRCVS - VRCVS

rabidfish
June 9th 2018


3873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my only gripe with this release is the opening track, otherwise this is the fun little album kid cudi needed to come up with.

Digging: Black Murder - Feasts

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

a con feature...might be short lived if Arcade decides to throw one up as well tho

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2018


27499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

this is fucking dope, both the review and album



will this be the one hip-hop album I like this year? looking that way!

Digging: mewithoutYou - (Untitled) E.P.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yes sowing n thx! you def will dig this imo

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2018


27499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

so far the first 2 songs are my favorites, love how they have a lot more going on, 'Fire' almost feels like an indie-rock track

Ryus
June 9th 2018


16467 Comments


fire is by far my least favorite probably

4th dimension, reborn, and t/t are all great

Digging: Acronym - RA.634

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fire is p sweet, ill throw my tracklist ratings up in a seccc

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1. Feel the Love - 3.9/5

2. Fire - 3.5/5

3. 4th Dimension - 4.4/5

4. Freeee - 4.2/5

5. Reborn - 4/5

6. Kids See Ghosts - 4.1/5

7. Cudi Montage - 4/5

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2018


27499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

yeah all these are good...on my second listen and am really appreciating Freeee

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2018


27499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

regardless, this is already better than ye

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Freee is a grower, so is Reborn i think even tho it's a bit too long. production on t/t is insane, first track is some classic kanye insanity, 4th dimension is a bangerrrr and the closer is rly poetic tbh.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2018


55967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That Kurt Kobain beat made me think I was about to hear a lost Lil Peep track

Digging: Dad Thighs - Easy Listening

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2018


23429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yea dude got some peep vibes as well from it

rafalafa
June 9th 2018


67 Comments


I'm really loving these shorter albums recently. Seriously, 25-35 minutes is PERFECT.



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