Kid Cudi released the first single off his upcoming Speedin’ Bullet To Heaven album today. It isn’t bad but don’t confuse its replay value with it being ground-breaking.
The track, “Confused,” sees Cudder take on grunge. It’s befitting because the Cleveland musician seems like the perfect, modern-day artist to swaddle himself in the sound. He adapts well enough. The guitar riffs come jagged and rough while Cudi enunciates maudlin lines like “looking in the mirror is hard” and “I hate the gun but I want the sun.” If he can enter a high school poetry competition, he charts in the the top-five.
What’s telling about “Confused” is the title sums up Cudi’s role in music and culture today. Perhaps he’s not so much confused about what he’s doing since he appears to be making money. The following question remains, though.
What the f*ck is he really? Is he a rapper? A rock star? An actor? A podcast bandleader?
We opined back in April that for his next project to reel back jaded day-one fans he should do several things, namely these two. One, he ought to utilize the team and musical elements that originally put him on the map, and two, ditch the sulking-high-school-boy schtick.
While “Confused” could mark an outlier on Speedin’ Bullet To Heaven, we’re not holding our breath. It’s another detour on Cudi’s eight-year-old career. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with trying out so many different hats especially when those roles result in more notoriety, cultural cache, and/or money. However, that’s something that’s earned through mastering a particular craft. What’s Cudi mastered? To date, nothing.
His rap career started off promising and his first mixtape and first two Man On The Moon albums were good-but-not-great projects. He’s an amiable actor, if an unmemorable one. And he’s… kind of funny? Essentially, Cudi’s spread himself too thin and quickly moves from one thing to the next. Perhaps he thinks he’s the G.O.A.T. and changes the game no matter what industry he’s in—his hubris doesn’t suggest otherwise. Whatever the case, he’s all over the place and not in a good way.
To be fair, he’ll always resonate with that moody subsection of 16-to-21-year-old kids who confuse suburban angst for anything at all. That’s why his embrace of grunge is particularly appropriate—the Ernest Baker-idolizing population will certainly dig it since that generation probably wasn’t even born when Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. Teens and young adults will always love that “woe is me!” sh*t; however, when it comes to solidifying an identifiable and mature sound, Cudi’s is as confounding and lost as ever. Give us a shout when you figure yourself out, Cud.
Listen to “Confused” below.