kidcudisbthcoverReview written by Jordan P. (@_jpounder).

I can only imagine the cover art photo was taken mere minutes after recording in a tripped-out, studio-tent filled with psychadelics and other “candies” nearby. Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven (SB2H), Kid Cudi‘s fifth studio album, is his deepest plunge yet into unknown terrorities, solely aided by hallucinogens and a shredding bass guitar, as there is no feature in sight. Though Cudi has spent much of his career in search of escape from his terrestrial problems, as he displayed on the Man On The Moon series, SB2H takes a sharp turn inward, exploring the vast depths of Scott Mescudi‘s inner mind. Using sounds reminiscent of his 2012 experimental-rock album WZRD, Cudi takes this idea even further, blending drugs with angsty, 1990s punk-rock to explore the facets of mental illness, leaving him at his most vulnerable as an artist facing his own dark, deep-rooted issues.

Upon release, many took to Twitter in uproar. This simply was no longer the Cudi we are used to — the brash, dissonant, and sometimes uncomfortable moments of this project definitely went past any mere “experimental” expectations. Kid Cudi seems to understand this notion and opens the album with a careful, but forcefully artistic choice. “Edge of the Earth” creates a lo-fi, campfire, folksy sound reminiscent of the vibe Joe Fox was able to create on A$AP Rocky‘s album earlier this year. “Edge of the Earth” is a classic rock vibe, which immediately encapsulates the audience, placing you into this new world that Cudi has created, as he inaudibly sings,

Hanging on the edge of the earth, oh what a beautiful scene.” – Cudi

The song eventually switches up to its latter half, “Post Mortem Boredom.” Here, we are introduced to a Nirvana/Kurt Cobain-esque aesthetic. Cudi sings about post-death boredom and weeps about the lack of whiskey in Heaven, with bass-guitar twanging in the background. “Edge of the Earth/Post Mortem Boredom” ponders the before/after of suicide, questioning the thought while hanging off the edge and being filled with regret. It’s clear from the start that Cudi is serious about the album acting as an ode to those with mental disease.

“Confused!” remains the stellar rock single that it initially was, and it fits perfectly as track number two. The tempo picks up and kickstarts us into an adventure, accelerating us into the first punk-rock song of the project, “Man in the Night,” which throws us back to the 1990s MTV era. The track ends with a clip of Beavis and Butthead, who provide running commentary throughout the album, as they pronounce “Punk rock is not dead,” even shouting out Kurt Cobain explicitly.

Running with this theme, “Fade to Red,” “Judgemental Cunt” and “Seance Chaos” all provide brash, defiant and dissonant anthems to thrash to, as Cudi rages against his demons. “Angered Kids” is perhaps his most poignant song of this form, singing about bundles of dynamites and hand grenades. He proclaims, “You should have never angered the kids, yeah, the darkness is coming,” fully embracing the shadows that have consumed him.

Cudi made WZRD when he was sober, and it’s clear this experimental follow-up does not follow the same path. “Adventures” offers a lo-fi rattling electric guitar with slapping drums against a spacey, melodic backdrop upon which Cudi lays existential vocals.

And we’re floating out to nowhere. No safety, fall, we will land safely” – Cudi

The track is surely a high point (no pun intended) on the album. Cudder, Beavis and Butthead consume magical mushrooms at the conclusion of the song. Right on cue, the trippiest, most drugged-out song is on deck, “The Nothing.” It’s a haunting representation of addiction, and we realize just how strange the journey has become since the beginning of the album.

Drugs and alternative rock combine to reach other high notes on tracks such as “Fairy Tale Remains,” “Fuchsia Butterflies” and “Red Sabbath.” “Embers” wraps up the album in perfect harmony, returning us to the campfire around which we initially gathered. This is where Cudi completes his rawest, most natural self-portrait. A simple, yet beautiful guitar-led beat guides the song, as he spills out some of his most heart-felt lyrics to date.

Hold my hand in heaven, count the heartbeats and count the seconds. I really don’t want to leave, I really don’t want to leave.” – Cudi

While paying tribute to those with mental disease, Kid Cudi is also able to exorcise his own demons as he struggles with the depths of his existence. Topics such as depression, suicide, love, addiction and more seem to plague his thoughts, and this album is a testament to his ability to channel these ideas into a true form of self-expression, crafting one of the most daring artistic statements in music this year.

Stream Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven below, and drop a comment to let us know what you think.