Kid Cudi - 'Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' (Album Review)

I think it's probably true that my anticipation for a Kid Cudi album might have been at an all time low when he first announced Passion, Pain, And Demon Slayin'. Cudi hasn't released an album that I really liked a lot since the Man On The Moon 2: Legend Of Mr. Rager. That's not to say there haven't been shiny spots, but nothing really stuck with me the way that his first couple commercial albums had. Still the singles leading up to Passion... were good so I went into this album hoping for something slightly better than Indicud and a lot better than last years Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven.

Passion, Pain, And Demon Slayin' is a really long album that is broken up into acts. It is a pretty cerebral listen, even for fans of Cudi and his brand of melancholy vibes. This one may take some time to dig through and capture all the vibes he's presenting. Here's the upside though, even though it is a long album, it is a really well thought out album that kind of encapsulates everything a hardcore Cudi fan wants and most things a casual fan probably wants, as well. For me it's easily his best album since Legend Of Mr. Rager. It's not as commercial sounding as either that album or Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, but it's just as focused and probably more of an artistic statement. I feel like this has been the album Cudi has been working towards for the last three or four releases he's put out. It all kind of comes into a much sharper focus on this album. From the beats, rapping, singing, and lyrical content I think it's all much better than I expected it to be and much better than his last two albums.

The beat on "Wounds" is brooding and has the sci-fi feel that I really like. Cudi's singing on the track goes nicely with the beat. "Illusions" is another standout beat on the album and it's slow moving as well, but Cudi's vocal performance, for the most part, has a slightly more upbeat feel and delivery that I really like. The album doesn't feature many guests, but I think the guests on the album are pretty good and work pretty well for the most part. Travis Scott, Willow, Pharrell, and Andre 3000 have guest spots with Andre 3000 and Pharrell guesting on multiple tracks. "By Design" with Andre 3000 is probably my favorite feature. Both artists come through over a pretty energetic beat that glides by with some smooth vibes and some almost tropical sounding keys. The two bounce off each other nicely on the track.

Overall, I think this album is a redemption album for Kid Cudi. It feels laser focused on accomplishing the full album feel. There are a few songs that could have been cut to tighten it up a little, but at the same time I don't think anything really feels like filler. I'm sure some people will probably think there is, but at least everything fits together in theme, concept, and context of the album. I think for the first time in a while the concept, vibe, and songs have come to fruition for the listener in a really rewarding way. I'm enjoying this one. I think it's some of his best work in a long time.

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