The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CUIndependent.com nor any of its sponsors.
The band WZRD, consisting of Kid Cudi and close friend Dot da Genius, released their debut self-titled rock album on February 28. The album enters a new territory for Cudi, whose previous two albums were rap.
Unfortunately, the change led to some of the most abhorrent music I have had to listen to.
Beginning with the headache generating intro “The Arrival,” the album comes off as a confused mash of grunge, alternative/punk and electronic, mixed with an assortment of orchestral instruments.
The sad part is that I genuinely like Kid Cudi. His first album, “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,” was a unique rap album that created a sound all could enjoy. His follow-up album, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager,” was a fun listen, too.
Crossing genres is a bold move for any musical act to make because it often leads to failure, which is why not many do it.
Remember when rapper Lil’ Wayne released the rock song “Prom Queen”? The rest of his rock album, “Rebirth,” was ill received, and the New York times called it “the kind of thing that happens when a star overestimates his skills.”
Or how about when Chicago was still a hard rock band? The now softer pop group hasn’t released a song relatively close in quality to “25 or 6 to 4” in many years.
Sum 41 changed for the worse, from a fun pop-punk group to a Metallica rip-off band on the album “Chuck.” After the album release, Punknews.org said, “the band can’t seem to decide what direction they want to go in.”
Metallica also took a turn for the worse and changed from thrash metal to a more melodic, hard rock sound, disappointing many fans, including me. Allmusic.com reacted by saying “Metallica’s attempts at expanding their sonic palette have made them seem more conventional than they ever have before.”
Even the always likable acoustic rock band Slightly Stoopid made an attempt at speed metal that can only be described as a nuisance.
I understand the need to change music from album to album. Nobody wants to hear the same song over and over. Yet too much change often ends in disaster.
There are some, however, who have successfully experimented in other genres. Paul Simon has dabbled in nearly every style of music, playing everything from blues, to folk, to even a South African style of music called mbaqanga.
Yo-Yo Ma can play anything from classical to bluegrass, and Elvis Costello can also change style very well.
The difference between these artists and the others is that they are students of music. Paul Simon traveled the world learning various styles of music, and Yo-Yo Ma studied music at Juilliard and Harvard.
Obviously musical acts like Kid Cudi and the others have an interest in the genres of music they attempt. However, Kid Cudi has only been playing guitar for about a year, and it shows on the album. The guitar tracks sound rough and very formulaic.
Kid Cudi says that he is over rapping and that he will continue down this rock path. He deserves credit for trying to make an extreme change in style, and hopefully he keeps practicing and improves for the next album. If not though, then I want the man on the moon back.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Eddie Quartin at Edward.email@example.com.