Calling all earthlings: The man on the moon has come back down to Earth again.
And he brought a peace offering.
WZRD, the space-rock duo that materialized from the collaboration of Kid Cudi and producer Dot da Genius, beamed their self-titled debut album onto the Internet Tuesday.
Cudi allegedly worked on the album while exercising sobriety. This differs from the musician’s past efforts, which have included an entire song devoted to cannabis, appropriately titled “Marijuana,” and lyrics that reference using psychedelic mushrooms to “see the universe.”
The quirk is that Cudi’s sounds have reached previously unheard psychedelic highs with WZRD compared to his past albums.
Life is now the drug that influences Cudi, as stated none-too-subtly in the track “High Off Life.” The bridge of the song has Cudi jubilantly repeating the lines “I’m OD’in, I’m OD’in, I’m OD’in off the life.”
The psychedelic vibes are focused strongest in “The Dream Time Machine.” Synthesizer sounds wisp through the mind like fragments of DMT-induced pipedreams — the guitar is soothingly catchy and placed sparingly in the song, which will make the listener jones for its comforting familiarity throughout the tune. Over the top of it all, Cudi’s voice is your spirit guide through his five-minute revelation.
However, the instrumentation of WZRD is as bipolar as a drug-trip itself. Typical rock sounds such as distorted electric guitar, ballad and anthem-styled drum beats and power chords are prominent in the mixes. The Kid brings out his acoustic guitar in the song “Effictim” and strums utterly forlorn chords under which he sings lyrics about his hypothetical death and demise.
Heavy-duty laser synthesizer effects beam across the bridge of the song “Love Hard,” a tune that begs for a remix.
Dubstep elements also present themselves in the song. The bridge features a steady drum and bass beat that is accompanied by tremolo vocals and effects as well as a hushed wobble-bass line.
While WZRD is stylistically alien compared to Cudi’s past works, one quality that has not changed regarding his music is its gravitation toward spacey themes.
Cudi listed Jimi Hendrix, an astronomically enthusiastic sci-fi fan (listen to the songs “3rd Stone from the Sun” and “Purple Haze”), as a primary influence in the making of WZRD. The sinisterly strange introductory track “The Arrival” makes it seem like Cudi is trying to open the album the way Hendrix used the song “…And the Gods Made Love” to spark the album “Electric Ladyland.” “The Arrival” is an instrumental track, but needs no words other than its title to transmit its message — prepare for a far-out, groovy album.
A major coincidence, possibly due to a glitch in the time-space-song continuum, is the suspiciously similar structure of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” and Eve 6’s song “Hey Montana.” Both songs have nearly identical melodic progressions and timing. Albeit, the particular progression and timing are common enough in the rock genre to be used by various artists, but perhaps Cudi dug Eve 6 a little too much back in the day. Whatever this is, flaw, fluke or friendly franchise, the song still sounds good by Cudi, the aural-nought.
The album ends with the single “Teleport 2 Me, Jamie,” which is a pleasing conclusion to the audio experiment.
With WZRD, Kid Cudi and Dot da Genius have proven that the transition from rap to rock can be completed with cosmic success. All we can do is prepare for the next musical dimension this man on the moon chooses to explore.