March 15, 2012
For those who don’t know, WZRD is a collaborative project between Kid Cudi and his producer friend Dot da Genius. They’ve worked together on a few songs in the past, most notably the song “Day ‘n’ Nite.” I believed WZRD was going to be a rock album due to its prerelease hype but it’s not. Sure a guitar is present and Kid Cudi sings instead of rapping, but WZRD is awfully similar to Kid Cudi’s previous albums.
I’ve been a big fan of Kid Cudi’s ever since I first heard “Day ‘n’ Nite.” The lyrics and sounds of the song coalesced into a quantifiable feeling that I have since termed nighttime music. On the albums Man on the Moon: The End of Day and Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, Kid Cudi and his menagerie of producers and collaborators put out concept albums full of lyrically introspective songs coupled with beats and sounds perfect for nighttime. WZRD continues this trend, albeit slightly differently.
The sort of sound environments that Kid Cudi has put forth before are ever present on WZRD. Every song has a dark vibe, not angry or aggressive, just mellow like a summer night. The biggest departure from his previous works is the occasional inclusion of a guitar riff. Now, Kid Cudi isn’t soloing until his fingers bleed, instead he’s layering what sound to be fairly simple guitar riffs on top of Dot da Genius’ production. It doesn’t provide for a drastic change over his past work, but it’s refreshing to see him try something new.
This isn’t an album full of rap, instead Kid Cudi sings. What I look for in singers isn’t necessarily what others do. I like Kid Cudi’s caramelized voice and how he hangs on words and draws them out. He doesn’t have any range, and honestly, pretty much every song he’s put out to date falls prey to that fact too. That’s not what I look for from Kid Cudi though. WZRD continues his trend of introspective nighttime music and it’s a genre he owns to himself.
The only song I’d recommend is “Teleport 2 Me Jamie” [featuring Desire]
February 26, 2012
A band I find really interesting put out a new album last week and I picked it up right away. Sleigh Bells’ Reign of Terror is similar to their previous album, Treats, in that it’s deafening, but different because the songs are more traditionally structured.
Their songs rely heavily on guitar, and I mean that in a metal sense; when I saw them in concert last year they had stacks of amps and the amplification is key to their sound. Another key element to their sound is a heavy use of beats, that when combined with other unfriendly sounds to ears creates gigantic and immense walls of sounds, often times briefly – representing the drums in most cases. That’s Derek Miller, and really that’s only one half of Sleigh Bells. Alexis Krauss is the other half and she brings the vocals. She seems to “sing” more often on this album, and that’s a welcome change. Like I said previously, their songs are more structured this time around with familiar elements to pop songs and that’s thanks to Alexis’ background in pop music. I know little about song structure and am a simpleton however and just like the sounds and sometimes a handful of lyrics that I find fun to sing.
I haven’t spent enough time with the album to parse out the songs too well. My favorite song is “Comeback Kid” because of the underdog mentality of the lyrics, as well as the flow of the song. Another favorite of mine is “Born to Lose” in which Alexis shows brutal apathy for someone who gives up on life easily.
It’s a really interesting combination of the most intense and heavy guitar shreds, production heavy beats, and a pop female vocalist that still entertains me and demands to be played at obnoxious levels, especially at stop lights and in parking lots.