In the third week of G.O.O.D. Music’s reimagined G.O.O.D. Friday series, we have been delivered KIDS SEE GHOSTS, the eponymous debut album from a new rap duo that consists of Kanye West and the brilliant Kid Cudi. Now, Kanye released his eighth solo album, ye, last Friday, but his repulsive comments about slavery left me no desire to give the album a single spin. Regardless, since I love Kid Cudi and he isn’t nearly as disgusting as present-day Kanye, I decided to listen to this album.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS begins with the glorious deep house infused “Feel the Love.” The track recalls West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy track, “Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver),” except with double the intensity. The pure mania on this track perfectly encapsulates the concept of love and emotion in general. About halfway through the track, Kanye and Cudi perform some wild scatting and ad-libs that help the track reach peak insanity, it’s great.
The first true peak of the album comes in the form of “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)” (yes, I listened to the corresponding track of ye to understand the full context of the song). It’s as if a typical Just Blaze production was played underwater; fragmented plucks of a cello are juxtaposed against distorted drums and electronically warped vocals to create “Freeee.” The song is in a similar vein of mania as “Feel the Love” but it is soaked in a freedom-infused euphoria. “Freeee” is cathartic and universal, and it embraces the concept of freedom without apprehension.
The album reaches it’s second of two peaks with the anthemic and redemptive, “Reborn.” The track is simultaneously a tear-jerker and a sing-a-long. Given Kanye’s downward spiral since the album rollout for The Life of Pablo and Cudi’s much-publicized battles with mental illness, “Reborn” is the single most beautiful studio musical moment of the year thus far. Sonically, the production wraps itself around the men’s voices; if their vocals and lyrics are the medicine, the production is a cast to heal the album’s themes of brokenness and hurt. Kanye even spits a few lines that almost make me forgive him, “What an awesome thing, engulfed in shame/I want all the pain/I want all the smoke/I want all the blame.” This song, the apex of the record, is freedom in all of its whimsy and confusion.
There is not a bad song on the record, and at a crisp seven tracks, there was no room for missteps. Kanye and Cudi have always benefited from togetherness, their minds work in tandem to produce some of the best work of their career and KIDS SEE GHOSTS is proof of that.