I feel like Kid Cudi doesn’t get the credit he deserves these days. A lot of the more moody introspective music that we’ve been getting this decade links back to him. Hell, even Kanye made 808s & Heartbreak, he was influenced by Cudi’s mixtape A Kid Named Cudi. Granted, the quality of his music since Man On The Moon II has took a noticeable dip, but that doesn’t change the impact Cudi has had on the industry. His debut album is going to be ten years old this coming Sunday, so I decided to review it in celebration. This is Man On The Moon: The End Of Day.
1. In My Dreams (Cudder’s Anthem): We start off with In My Dreams, where Kid Cudi describes a dream world full of happiness and all of that positive stuff and the backing music brings an ethereal and sublime atmosphere that matches with the content. It then transitions into a narration by Common that prepares us for the rest of the album. In terms of an intro, the song is a good appetizer that leaves you hungry for more. I would give it a 4/5.
2. Soundtrack 2 My Life: After that, we transition to Soundtrack 2 My Life, which looks into Cudi’s life and all the things he dealt with growing up. He lost his father at a young age, which affected him significantly as he suffered from depression and it’s one of many instances of Cudi’s more vulnerable moments. With a bumping beat, some dope verses, and one hell of a chorus, this is one of my favorite songs from the album and is one I always revisit. For that, I give it a perfect 5/5.
3. Simple As…: Next is Simple As…, one of the more simplistic songs on the album. When you look at the lyrics, it seems like someone hiding their pain behind some flexing, but those insecurities crack through. Plus, we get another narration from Common. Get used to them because there’s more to come in the album. This is not one of my favorite songs on the album, but it’s still pretty good and I would let it play during a full listen. I give it a 3.5/5.
4. Solo Dolo (Nightmare): Now for Solo Dolo, where Cudi expresses his fear of being lonely and going back to his dreams to escape reality. Loneliness is a major theme of the album. This is accompanied by the plinking melody of the production, which came from this sample.
Years later, Cudi would do a sequel to this track called Solo Dolo II with Kendrick Lamar, which is good, but it’s not the original, which gets a 4/5.
5. Heart Of A Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music): Next is Heart Of A Lion, which is the empowerment anthem of the album and it works really well thanks to the more triumphant production and a simple message of moving forward despite the obstacles in the road. I dig this. It’s a 4/5.
6. My World ft Billy Cravens: After that is My World, which deals with overcoming the pressures of fame and success with a chorus where Kid Cudi assures people that he’ll be the man. Considering where he’s at now, that didn’t last long, did it? Anyways, it’s a good track, though it’s pretty standard of its song type outside of the production. I give it a 4/5.
7. Day ‘n’ Nite (Nightmare): Day ‘n’ Nite, the big hit from the album. I’ve already talked about this song before. For my full thoughts, go to my 100 Best Songs of the 2000s list for more. It’s easily a 5/5 for me.
8. Sky Might Fall: The next song is Sky Might Fall, which is where Kid Cudi talks about how he deals with the issues he’s had and how he keeps going in a search for happiness. It’s another good song with some really good production from Kanye and the amount of passion Cudi gives in his performance. I give it a 4/5.
9. Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I): Time for something completely different, a song about eating psychedelic mushrooms with a girl over a disco beat. That’s pretty much Enter Galactic in a nutshell and it’s pretty good. I really like this groove and I appreciate the upbeat change of pace that this track provides compared to the rest of the album where it’s more mid-to-low-tempo. I give it a 4.5/5.
10. Alive (Nightmare) ft Ratatat: After that, we transition to Alive, which is produced by electronic rock duo Ratatat. Kid Cudi explains how in the night, he feels that he becomes his true self, which is comparable to that of a beast. It’s a good song and I would give it a 4/5.
11. Cudi Zone: Next is Cudi Zone, which is a really dope song. I like the spacey production, Cudi is rapping his ass off on the verses, and that chorus gets to me every time. I can’t help but sing along to it. Also, is it me or does this song have an ELO vibe to it? Easily one of the best songs on the whole album. It’s getting a perfect 5/5.
12. Make Her Say ft Kanye West & Common: And here’s the other big hit from the album. Make Her Say takes a sample of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face and built a beat around the “po-po-poker face” part. Did I ever mentioned that this is used as a double entendre for blowjobs? Seriously. This song was originally gonna be called I Poke Her Face, but it was changed to be more accessible. Get it? Poker Face? Poke HER face? Yeah, the rest of the song is just as stupid as this punchline as Cudi has nothing but pussy on his mind, Kanye is hitting on college girls and giving us this awkward rhyme scheme in the second half of his verse.
And give me scoliosis until I comatoses
And do while I'm sleep, yeah a little osmosis
And that's my commandment you ain't gotta ask Moses
More champagne, more toasts-es
More damn planes, more coasts-es
And fuck a bus, the Benz is parked like Rosa, ohsa
And as for Common? Well, I’ll think I’ll let him speak for himself.
She said, she want whatever she like
But you gotta bring your friend
And we can have one hell of a night, through the day
She blamed it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol
She had her hair did, it was bound to fall
Down, down for a damn, Cudi already said it
Her poker Facebook, I'd already read it
But man, her head was gooder than the music
Electro body known to blow fuses
A stripper from the South, looking for a pay day
Said, "bitch, you should do it for the love like Ray J"
But they say, you be on that conscious tip
Get your head right and get up on this conscious dick
I embody everything from the godly to the party
It's the way I was raised on the Southside safari, so
“But they say, you be on that conscious tip, get your head right and get up on this conscious dick.” Yeah, there’s no angle where you could make this look cool. It’s lame all around. A shame that this song wastes a pretty good beat outside of that annoying Poker Face sample. I’m sure Gaga appreciated the extra bucks that this song gave her because even though I’m not the biggest Poker Face fan, it deserved better than this. Make Her Say gets a 2/5 easily.
13. Pursuit Of Happiness (Nightmare) ft MGMT & Ratatat: From one of my least favorite songs on the album to one of my favorites. Transitioning, am I right? Anyways, Pursuit Of Happiness. This song is classic Kid Cudi. The production has the dream-like piano notes along with an indie rock edge in its guitars and synths, all courtesy of Ratatat. This song would not sound out of place on alternative radio. All for a song where a guy escapes to a life of drugs and alcohol in a pursuit of happiness. The chorus is amazing thanks to Cudi and MGMT. It’s one Kid Cudi’s best songs as it perfectly captures the feeling of euphoria. I give it a perfect 5/5.
14. Hyyerr ft Chip Tha Ripper: Next is Hyyerr, which is about weed. I’m deadass serious. The production sounds like something you’d listen to while cruising around the city with the elegant strings and the backing beat. This is more of a Chip Tha Ripper song than a Kid Cudi song since Chip takes up most of the song, doing the chorus and the first verse, and the dude is dope. Kid Cudi still brings it, though. I give this a 4/5.
15. Up Up & Away: Now we’ve reached the album closer Up Up & Away, which is another weed song. This one is where Kid Cudi seeks out gratification through a high and not caring about the negativity that surrounds him. The production here is definitely more rock-oriented thanks to the guitars and drums and it’s a good way to conclude the album. I would give it a 4.5/5.
Cudi Zone, Pursuit Of Happiness, Day ‘n’ Nite, Soundtack 2 My Life
Make Her Say
I give Man On The Moon: The End Of Day a 4/5. I really like how eclectic the production of this album is and how it goes across different genres of music, from hip-hop to indie pop and alternative rock to even psychedelia. In terms of vocals, Kid Cudi isn’t the greatest singer, but he puts in a lot of passion into his vocals that sells these songs, plus, he’s got some skills as a rapper. The album is a look at the psyche of someone experiencing depression and loneliness and using drugs and other forms of escapism as an avenue to uplift themselves. All of this builds a spacious sonic palette that builds upon what A Kid Named Cudi and 808s built upon and other artists and records afterwards attempt to emulate. I give this the highest recommendations to everyone out there because it’s a one-of-a-kind record that still holds up ten years later.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Cudi Zone-Kid Cudi