It's hard to place WZRD in any particular genre, which I believe was the goal Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius were trying to accomplish with their new project. Pronounced how it's spelt-out, but meaning "wizard", WZRD fuses rock and electronica to create a psychedelic soundscape featuring Kid Cudi's singing vocals (Sorry rap fans, no bars are spit on the WZRD project, nor is there any swearing). The entirety of the album is produced by Day 'N' Night producer Dot Da Genius with Cudi on guitar, however Empire Of The Sun leant their talent on The Dream Time Machine and Desire is sampled in my personal favorite Teleport 2 Me, Jamie.
The album's journey starts out with the cinematic instrumental The Arrival and immediately jumps into the fast paced High Off Life which sets the tone for the album. Cudi, otherwise known as Scott Mescudi, wants the listener to know he's off all the drugs and he's enjoying life. On past albums Scott has admitted feeling guilty and uncomfortable when talking with his mom while under the influence. Now he says "Hey mama I'm livin' la vida, No need to worry bout' your baby no more".
The song Love Hard stood out to me from the first time I heard it. Not only is the hook great to sing along with, the breakdown by Dot is beautifully crafted, changing the song from a rock anthem to an electronic remix of a rock anthem in seconds and back to rock again without you even realizing it. As for the lyrics, Scott said he wrote them in the voice of the girl (Jamie in his case) and that's the reason for it's "sassy" attitude like in the lyrics "What you gone' say to me??". This is a great record with radio single written all over it.
Brake was the first preview of WZRD that fans had a chance to hear and was the song that made me excited for Cudi's new side project with Dot. Although the snippet of Teleport 2 Me, Jamie is what really sold me. They collaborated with Desire to sample their song Under Your Spell from the Drive motion picture soundtrack. Featuring Kid Cudi's classic "nanana's", you can't help but sing along to this love song to Jamie, the mother of Scott's daughter.
Listening to WZRD's cover of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? you may notice similarities between Nirvana's rendition of the same song, which is no surprise because Cudi has said Nirvana was a core influence on the project, as were Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and the Pixies. Interestingly enough, the guitar parts (which were not done by Cudi) were recorded on an iPad.
Kid Cudi concluded his past albums with songs of hope and the same applies to WZRD. On Upper Room he sings "Theres someone way up in the sky look out for all of us, Yeaaaa mmhhmmm, I don't believe in miracles, I do believe in fate, I do believe in destiny". Dot did beautifully on the production and Larry Gold is always amazing on the strings. Although Cudi said he had reservations about sampling other works for WZRD, he said he loved the feel of Cream's White Room so much he wanted it to be sampled in the intro for Upper Room, which to his surprise was cleared by Cream for usage.
Overall Rating: 7/10
What I've always admired about Scott Mescudi is his ability to say no to the easy way. He could have made a dozen club songs like Day N Night, but instead he followed his heart and did want he wanted to do, regardless of what his fans or label wanted. That, to me, is what makes a good artist, great.
Listen to Love Hard:
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