On Kid Cudi’s last album, 2015’s Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, he attempted to move away from the moody, futuristic sound he’d found and cultivated on the Man on the Moon records. The resulting record lacked real direction and was heavily slated by critics. With his recent release from rehab and a war of words with Drake over mental illness, Scott Mescudi’s much anticipated seventh studio album Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’ comes at the close of a tumultuous year for the artist. Despite the title, the resulting record marks a return to his Man on the Moon sound and easily files alongside the 2009 and 2010 productions.
Right from the opening two tracks, ‘Frequencies’ and ‘Swim in the Light’, we are hit with classic, moody Kid Cudi soundscapes. The album really begins to come into its own when featuring artists are introduced to compliment this characteristic Cudi sound. The epic ‘Rose Golden’, with Willow Smith, is a standout radio track from the album and ‘Baptized in Fire’, with Travis Scott, offers an interesting, close friend perspective of Mescudi’s personal struggles. Scott croons “Life aint easy sober”, and “Phoned home to the moon”, a clear, compassionate reference to Mescudi’s publicised drug problems and his return to the Man on the Moon period. Closing track ‘Surfin’’, with Pharrell Williams is a cheery and catchy end to a strangely contradictory record.
The length of the album is both impressive and problematic. For a seemingly troubled man to release an album of nineteen songs, each running at least four minutes, is a remarkable statement of intent. However, the real impact of the length is a record which appears fragmented and disjointed, with sections of songs such as ‘Mature Nature’,’Kitchen’ and ‘The Guide’ being lost in the length; attempting to consider the whole album becomes futile.
However, perhaps that is the very point of Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’. Mescudi is introducing us to his confusing world in the only way that he can, whilst seeking catharsis through the music. Mescudi is no longer Man on the Moon, but a man on the mend.