G.O.O.D. Music, 2018

REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


When Kanye West announced the plan for G.O.O.D. Music to release five albums in five weeks, all produced by him, hip-hop fans cautiously but excitedly listened to the artists that would be featured: Pusha-T, finally giving fans a long-awaited new album, good. Kanye’s latest solo project, sure. But it was the third album, the midpoint and presumed climax of the five-week cycle, that excited people the most: an album-length collaboration between West and Kid Cudi. The duo’s previous team-ups included such classic tracks as “All Of The Lights,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” and “Welcome To Heartbreak,” so the prospect of seven songs featuring both artists, operating under the name KIDS SEE GHOSTS, had fans salivating. The result is a mixed bag, a harmonious, smooth collection of songs that has some interesting things to say, but sometimes does so without the requisite dynamism expected.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As in ye, West’s solo album released the week before KIDS SEE GHOSTS, the theme that runs throughout the group’s self-titled album is mental health, something both West and Kid Cudi have struggled with over the years. But rather than dwell on the struggles, this album is an announcement that they are both now at peace: “I'm so, I'm so reborn, I'm movin' forward / Keep movin' forward, keep movin' forward /Ain't no stress on me Lord, I'm movin' forward,” Cudi sings in “Reborn.” “Nothing hurts me anymore, guess what babe? I feel freeee” both exclaim in “Freee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2), the sequel to ye’s most lauded track. For all the problems both have faced in the past, KIDS SEE GHOSTS sees them emerging from the abyss with smiles.

That sense of peace leads to songs that are more mellow than fiery, more suited to nodding your head than pumping your fist. On tracks like “Kids See Ghosts” (yes, they loved that phrase so much they named a song, album, and group after it) and the aforementioned “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)” the beats set the tone for the whole album – understated and smooth, these are songs you’re more likely to hear in a coffee shop than at a house party.

‘Peaceful’ describes not only the individual artists, but their partnership as well. KIDS SEE GHOSTS sees West and Cudi sharing the mic 50/50, and if Cudi seems to get more of the starring roles, one must remember that Kanye produced it all. Where some great partnerships are forged in the fires of competition, this duo is clearly more like buddies happy to share. Indeed, even in “Cudi Montage,” the album closer and a song whose title might leave you expecting Cudi to shine brightly, it is West who steals the show.

KIDS SEE GHOSTS is not the banger fans hoped for and expected – it’s not particularly radio friendly, and its groovy beats, while rewarding after multiple listens, veer dangerously close to low-energy at times. But overall, Kanye West and Kid Cudi generally deliver a deep, worthwhile album that sees them both comfortable in their own skins and that points the listener toward that goal.

Rating: B-

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© 2018 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of G.O.O.D. Music, and is used for informational purposes only.