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REVIEW: Kid Cudi's "Entergalactic" mesmerizes listeners with otherworldly vocals

Image courtesy of Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

"Entergalactic" is the eighth studio album from American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and (newly) actor Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi. He returns nearly two years after his last release in 2020, "Man on the Moon III: The Chosen" amidst a rather tumultuous year for him. With his public falling out with long-time collaborator Kanye West and mistreatment at his Rolling Loud performance in July, Cudi has claimed that the album is his final musical project, as he plans to focus more on acting, making this, his potential final outing, a musical and visual combination send-off. 

The album was released alongside a Netflix film and acts as the film’s soundtrack. Here, Cudi attempts to make the ambitious jump into film to merge his musical and acting talents into one cohesive project.

According to Cudi, he wrote and produced the music for this album to accompany an animated musical television series back in 2019, which explains the deja-vu feeling from the project’s presentation. The TV series concept would later be adapted into the "Entergalatic" film. 

The film itself is a fun, adult, animated romantic comedy that features Cudi’s spacy and melancholic music production. The familiar art style is directly inspired by the 2018 animated superhero film "Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" with its thickly outlined, beautifully animated characters, and a comic book-esque look reminiscent of New York street art. Though not narratively strong and lacking serious character depth for the protagonist Jabari (played by Cudi himself) and his supporting cast, the film is a fun watch and captivates viewers easily.

Luckily for Cudi fans, any shortcomings the movie has are easily made up for by the supporting music mentioned before. The album sounds more akin to the first two "Man on the Moon" projects with their greater emphasis on the trap and psychedelic sounds that helped influence artists like Travis Scott. 

Returning to a more classic Cudi sound was a nice treat while listening to the album, but plenty of the songs sound similar or derivative to old Cudi songs. Many fans felt the pieces were like retreads of the first two albums rather than a wholly new experience.

Despite being a bit repetitive at times, "Entergalatic" has plenty of stand-out tracks. Songs like “Do What I Want” smack of old Cudi with some harsh vocal renditions and catchy beats. “Willing to Trust,” in contrast, is a slower, melodic track with floaty vibes accompanied by great background vocals from Cudi and feature Ty Dolla $ign. 

In fact, many of the guest performances here add a lot of extra power to the songs in which they appear. Don Toliver’s similarly melodic voice pairs well with Cudi on “Somewhere to Fly,” while 2 Chainz’s double entendre-filed bars have great chemistry with Cudi’s vocals and flow well on the harder-hitting track “Can’t Believe It.” 

While many of the tracks do have that classic Cudi vibe, many of them need more impact or impression similar to Cudi's previous albums. This is likely because the tracks are meant to be supplemental to the visuals audiences are presented with, but songs like “New Mode” or “Ignite” that are meant to have some higher weight often feel underwhelming without those visuals to stand with. 

Additionally, a lot of the album’s instrumentals feel a bit awkward or unintentionally compared to stronger Cudi from "Man on the Moon" tracks like the titular track or “Pursuit of Happiness.” 

Introspective and playful tracks like “Livin’ My Truth” bring a lot of charisma and depth to both the album’s theme of self-expression and allow Cudi to express more candid moments with his listeners. These tracks really up the album's quality and leave an overall good impression upon listeners finishing both projects. 

If "Entergalactic" is the last album from Kid Cudi, then it is an uneven, yet good, note on which to leave. The album is a strong standalone project that should not be written off as merely a soundtrack, standing well enough on its own. However, watching the film that accompanies it adds a whole other layer to the messages, lyrics, and sounds in Cudi’s songs in a way few soundtracks have done before.

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