Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon 3: The Chosen One (Review)
After the release of Man on The Moon: The End of Days, Kid Cudi went on a path of self discovery with an influx of varying sounds. Some were solid like Indicud and Passion, Play, & Demon Slayin’ and others were completely misguided in an attempt to do something he loves, but is not - a rockstar - and those reviews hurt. The semi flops of WZRD and Speedin Bullet 2 Heaven have some interesting loosies; however, throughout his journey he learned to expand on his strength. Man on The Moon 3: The Chosen One is just that as he brings back a lot of these elements that made the first MOTM an outstanding debut, while taking a more intimate journey with his listeners.
As is with his previous Man On The Moon albums, it’s divided into various acts focusing on specific themes, both sonically and lyrically. It’s a unique way to deliver an album and it works for the construct, but it continues Kid Cudi’s streak of inconsistencies. Not every track comes across fully realized and it doesn’t hinder the process of the listen, as these albums tell a cohesive story. His lyricism is up to task and keeps it going from start to finish, even though 30% of the lyrics are hums, it is what he excels at.
This has been the case with Kid Cudi. He works best around sounds more suited to his nature or comfortability, which explains that synth heavy hip-hop that embodies space-like sounds you hear, like star twinkles. The cloud-rap sounding “Sept. 16,” expands on the atmospheric textures by deriving from moody piano arrangement done by Finneas and further polishes.
The production on the Man On The Moon 3, is handled by previous main stays and the ones who helped define Kid Cudi’s sound. From Plain Pat’s lively percussion to Mike Dean creating these whimsical and illustrative synths, the production never falters. Unfortunately Kid Cudi doesn’t always show out or have the best lyrical presence with the more “party centric” tracks. Like on the track “Show Out,” featuring Skepta and the late Pop Smoke. Their presence elevates the instrumental ever so slightly, while Cudi feels like he is trying to fit in with the grime-drill influenced instrumental. It is so blatant that he doesn’t and the weird choppy flow.
This is similarly the problem with “Heaven & Hell,” but that track also has autotune on steroids eroding it away with some of the weaker tracks.
Fortunately the third Man on The Moon Kid Cudi finally finds himself at a peak where he steers this album to its destination without any muddling ideas and getting there has a lot of great moments. “Lovin’ Me” featuring Phoebe Bridgers, is unlike a lot of what is on the album. It is this amazing arrangement of melancholic pianos over alt rock influenced strings, as Cudi and Phoebe trade vocal verses. Unfortunately Kid Cudi vocals can’t match with Phoebe’s but that is a given. Phoebe Bridgers is just that amazing.
Man on The Moon 3 carries that vigor and visceral imagery that creates a satisfying ending to a trilogy 11 years in the making. It ends like it started, a breath of fresh air in synth heavy melodic hip-hop.