Album Reviews

Kid Cudi – Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

on February 27, 2014, 12:01am
Kid Cudi Satellite Flight The Journey To Mother Moon D+
Release Date
February 25, 2014
Label
Republic Records
Formats
digital
Buy it on amazon

Kid Cudi originally intended Satellite Flight to be a short EP, bridging the gap between his ill-received Indicud and the forthcoming follow-up to his successful breakthrough Man on the Moon series. What resulted instead was a 10-song, full-length record of new tracks, which he dropped Beyoncé-style in a surprise midnight iTunes release on the same day one of hip-hop’s most anticipated albums (ScHoolboy Q’Oxymoron) was set to come out.

This breezy method of releasing an album might emphasize Cudi’s reputation as an anti-establishment slacker, but more likely it was calculated. That just about sums up Cudi’s entire ethos: He claims to not give a fuck, but his music is too meticulous for that to be true.

Cudi composes complete albums better than the majority of his contemporaries, with songs logically weaving in and out of each other, while maintaining a consistent overarching theme. You certainly can’t fault him for his ambition.

A narrative concept similar to Cudi’s original intent — that Satellite Flight is the bridge back to The Man on the Moon — could be pulled from the album if you try hard enough.  A contrived interpretation of the triumphant horns on “Return of the Moon Man (Original Score)”, for instance, could be that they signify Cudi’s arrival at the destination he was aiming for the whole time. Out of that forced context, it’s more akin to the stock music soundtrack for a low-budget sci-fi flick.

While that string-heavy song drags and bores, other tracks display Cudi’s undeniable production prowess. “Copernicus Landing” is Cudi beat-making at its best, a slowly building track with intricate synths, glitches, and a short vocal sample towards the end. “In My Dreams 2015” is as dreamy and forward-thinking as its title suggests.

The features on Indicud ranged from Too $hort to Father John Misty, and each of Cudi’s previous albums has found space for unorthodox guest artists. Aside from the expected production co-credits with frequent collaborator Dot Da Genius, the only guest verse on Satellite Flight comes courtesy of Raphael Saadiq, who improves the sex track “Balmain Jeans” with his smooth, soulful vocals.

In addition to the two WZRD-produced, guitar-centric tracks that start the album (“Going to the Ceremony” and “Satellite Flight”), Dot Da Genius also lends his producing hands to “Too Bad I have To Destroy You Now”, the flittering, sparkly, synth-driven beat over which Cudi finally reintroduces his old flow.

That track marks the chronological midpoint of Satellite Flight, and also its musical high point, as the album starts getting stale around the time Cudi starts groaning about his heartache on the following track, “Internal Bleeding”. Cudi’s attempt at switching his flow to a punk-esque snarl is well-intentioned, but not quite well-delivered. The “no one understands me” schtick is part of what initially made Cudi unique and intriguing, but here it just sounds grating.

Cudi’s variable flow and original production should make Satellite Flight one of the most innovative albums in hip-hop right now. Maybe it’s because we’ve grown accustomed to Cudi’s style and the influence it’s had over other artists, but at this point, it just sounds a little bit stale.

Despite several strong sections, including some of Cudi’s best work in years, the album ends up being exactly what he intended it to be — a bridge between two things. A bridge, however, needs to lean on something stable. It can’t stand on its own.

Essential Tracks: “Too Bad I Have To Destroy You Now”, “Copernicus Landing”

19 comments

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Anonymous
March 9, 2014 at 9:18 pm

nicely written

john
March 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

“A bridge, however, needs to lean on something stable. It can’t stand on its own”

not a Einstein–Rosen bridge.

DanA
February 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

i totally agree with this review. I’ve been listening to Cudi since the mixtape- we are the same age and i have been able to identify with much of what he talks about in his music- his early stuff holds a really special place in my heart. lyrically and vocally, he peaked long ago. i’ve been saying since day one, if he took singing lessons, he could be the truly great artist he sees himself as, but he continually overuses those horrible moans and groans that sound out of key and are pointless. he’s got a few good songs on each of his recent releases, but as complete albums, they fall way short… that’s my to cents.

Mark Moses
February 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

The qualms are not with the overall opinion that the album isn’t great; rather, the review and the “grade” are pretty incongruous.

Anonymous
February 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

i dont think kid cudi is a D+ artist, he is better than A LOT of artists out there, who somehow get better reviews (hmmmm….) I think the person who wrote this review has something against kid cudi because it is not D+ work. Maybe C but not D+
Just My Opinion

Shootervill
February 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I love cudi but you people are crazy if you this is a good album. a good 40% is instrumentals while the rest is him moaning. He’s robbing people by saying this is a full album, i actually thought indicud was ok but this is definitely his worst album and i hated WZRD so that says something. This review is accurate in my opinion

Aaron muntsy
February 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

This album sucks

sean
February 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm

worst album. cudi has finalmy gone off the deep end

seth harrison
February 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Overall praise for the album, slaps on a D+ because it “doesn’t stand on its own”. And you lost all credibility with this comment; “That just about sums up Cudi’s entire ethos: He claims to not give a fuck, but his music is too meticulous for that to be true.” Clearly you miss interpret Cudi’s message. I really doubt how analytical your reviews actually are.

Vracovino
February 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Why so much hate for this review? This album is pretty bad. These Cudi bandwagoners still have too much nostalgia invested in Man on the Moon I guess.

Dan
February 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

You guys are all too blind to realize that Cudi hasn’t done anything great since Man on the Moon. Obviously you all are die hards who can’t fathom that your golden boy can put out a bad album. Sorry to burst your bubble, but he peaked with A Kid Named Cudi, and it’s been downhill since. When he stopped “rapping” and started “singing”, I stopped “listening”.

Michael Olejarczyk
February 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

I thought the album sucks as well. The best song being instrumental Return of the moon man.

don
February 27, 2014 at 9:35 am

terrible review…site lost credibility

j39H
February 27, 2014 at 9:24 am

i think its decided…..you guys were definitely listening to a different record when you wrote this review.

Mark Moses
February 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

“Despite several strong sections, including some of Cudi’s best work in years, the album ends up being exactly what he intended it to be — a bridge between two things. A bridge, however, needs to lean on something stable. It can’t stand on its own.”

This alone makes the album B or B- quality.

COS needs to supervise these reviews, especially from a first timer named only “whagle.”

What’s going on here guys?

Fuckin bullshit reviews
February 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

This is fucking bullshit. This guy doesn’t know music, they gave old school oxymoron an a-, well they are just pieces of shit. The highest I would’ve gave this album would be a B or higher.

The God
February 27, 2014 at 6:54 am

This review was repetitive.
This review was “stale”.

Maui
February 27, 2014 at 5:32 am

D+? Really? Your review makes it sound like a C at the LEAST.

Andre300
February 27, 2014 at 1:41 am

This review is bullshit!!!!! Oxymoron A- ????
Satallite flight D+ ??? The person that wrote the review clearly doesn’t understand real music or the originality of the album. This album is breaking so many barriers that only other artist could wish for!

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