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Monday, November 29, 2021

Review: “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen”

Kid Cudi’s newest album continues common themes from his prior works in the Man on the Moon trilogy

When I first heard Scott Mescudi’s, more commonly known as Kid Cudi’s, music, I was just a small, sad, yearning middle schooler. His top hit “Day N Nite” introduced many of us to his music, which eventually led into the legacy of his now trilogy of “Man on the Moon.”

In his latest addition, “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen,” many features appear, from Pop Smoke to Skepta to Trippie Redd and others that demonstrate the depth of Cudi’s growth in the music industry. While Kanye West is commonly featured in his albums, after their joint album under “Kids See Ghosts,” Kanye does not make an appearance in “Man on the Moon III.” Their partnership has always been linked by their common struggles with mental health but diverge in the different types of illnesses they face, West mainly with bipolar disorder and Cudi with depression. 

As this new album follows many of Cudi’s common motifs, it serves as an extension of his old album but with new and deeper struggles. Ultimately, it depicts the sad and lonely road Cudi faces as he goes through different stages of his life.

The introduction song “Beautiful Trip” repeats his trophic melody from the first album of the trilogy “In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem).” Like the title of the song suggests, it remains a persistent staple throughout the album saga. As an introduction, it connects the end of the last album to this one and christens his third installment of the trilogy.

He also uses spoken word in his songs, often ending a song with what seems to be an internal monologue of the inner conflicts he faces. My favorite dialogue is the intro of “She Knows This” which takes lines from “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” another work that Cudi constantly references in his work. 

Loneliness is a recurring theme in Cudi’s work that appears in his songs “Solo Dolo” and “Mr. Rager,” which personifies his loneliness into a semi-alter ego version of himself. He refers to himself as “Mr. Solo Dolo” or “Mr. Rager” interchangeably, which is when his loneliness is at its peak as reflected in the deep sadness of these songs. The addition of “Solo Dolo III, Part III” illustrates how depression and isolation go hand in hand, hiding its sad message under a bumping bass beat.

In general, the concept of this album is the same: learning, growing and being sad in classic Cudi fashion. But with his father’s passing, “September 16” explores the new layers of Mr. Solo Dolo’s sadness.

“Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback)” also explores his family life and is one of my personal favorites on the album. It contrasts heavily from the rest of the record and goes into his childhood. It also uses a similar guitar track to “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals.

Compared to the second “Last Man on the Moon,” which contained a lot of instrumentals, this third was a good combination of his old styles and new styles.

The album cover is half his face and half a skeleton, which plays into the new theme of death and mourning during this period in his life. Although it has been a while since I first became a Kid Cudi fan, this album definitely brought me back and has me listening on repeat.
Written by: Mariah Viktoria Candelaria –– arts@theaggie.org

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