Kanye has been on a roll this summer, releasing Ye-produced albums every week since Pusha T's Daytona. After that he released a solo release plainly titled Ye; it was about his personal issues that he was dealing with like bipolar depression and opioid addiction, as well his ideas on family and what it means to be a father. However, because of his recent events on Twitter, I reduced it's score in my previous review of the album. It's hard to separate the man from the music when his Twitter comments are a main topic on the album. He doesn't really apologize for it either. There are other reasons, of course, like quality of music and creativeness, but you can read that in my other review if you want.
Kids See Ghosts is also only 7 songs sitting at 23 minutes like the other Kanye produced albums this year. It is a collaboration album with Kanye West and Kid Cudi. They formed a group with the same name as the album title, Kids See Ghosts. This album deals with similar issues that were discussed on Kanye's solo album, Ye, but, with the addition of Cudi, there is a strong sense of comradery that works well. Kid Cudi's solo career has honestly been a little lackluster recently and many fans and critics have received his work poorly. He has also been dealing with personal issues too like depression, drugs, and losing custody of his son. His music had become more mellow and dark and his singing tone has gotten worse. It looked like it could only get worse to a point where he would stop making music or worse. Then this album came out. I was not having high expectations since I was not a fan of Cudi's earlier work even if Kanye was on this album.
Straight from the first song, Feel the Love, Cudi screams "I can still feel the love!" This is already a huge difference from his solo albums, introducing the audience to some positive vibes. It feels like a nice, simple song, with Pusha-T delivering a fresh verse about not being afraid of other rappers because they (Cudi, West, and Pusha) are already the best. Then Kanye rushes in with loud and aggressive gun-like sounds. The exact lyrics, according to Genius.com are Grrrat-gat, gat-gat, gat, ga-gat-ga-ga-gat. And yes, it seems a little out of place at first but with repeated listens, it makes sense in the context of the album. They are trying new and innovative ideas on this record and are coming at the audience fast, just like a gun. Although it seems a little insensitive, that's kind of Kanye's gist.
Fire follows, a short song that has a small Kanye verse, but allows Cudi to get his message out of wanting God to forgive him despite his scars. It has an eerie instrumental reminiscent of old Kanye but allows Cudi to take control of the track, which is he does very nicely. There is not much else to talk about for this song since it is only about 2 minutes. One of the better songs of the album comes after called 4th Dimension. The song contains a sample from an old Christmas song, but it turns into a scary and dark feeling. Kanye drops a funny line in his verse: "She said I'm in the wrong hole, I said I'm lost," obviously referring to… well, you should know. The Kid Cudi verse is pretty good too but nothing to boast about. However, something that does sound different is the fact that Cudi sounds like he is enjoying rapping and being there with Kanye, which is a nice feeling for the listener too.
On Kanye's previous album, Ye, he had a song called Ghost Town, that featured Kid Cudi, if only for a few lines. Cudi's singing on that song was a lackluster at best, but he redeems himself with the next song on the new album called Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2). With a psychedelic vibe, this song feels like I took a hit of something while listening to this album and I just started feeling it. With the exclamations of "I feel freeeeee," Kanye, Cudi, and Ty Dolla $ign all have their own "Freeee" moments, each one providing their own little flairs, even if they all kind of sound the same. This song contains another moment on here where Cudi doesn't sound depressed or upset, it feels like he is releasing himself from the depression that has been hurting him for so long. Although depression never really goes away, you can hear in his voice that he might be feeling better, which makes this song even better.
Arguably the best song on the album comes after Freeee called Reborn, which has Cudi's best singing since his Man on the Moon releases. He preaches a lovely chorus about being reborn and how he must keep moving forward despite past events. It is the longest song on the album, but it doesn't feel long. Honestly, I would like for it to last longer. Kanye's verse complements the chorus well because he discusses his recent issues with bipolar depression, calling back to Ye. And Cudi's verse is beautiful knowing his problems, especially the line "Peace is something that starts with me." It feels like a song of acceptance after the struggle.
The title track is the 2nd to last song on the album and it is unfortunately the weakest track on the album. Featuring Yasiin Bey on the chorus singing "Kids see ghosts sometimes" repeatedly, the only highlight about the track is Kanye's part on her where he raps for a while instead for only a few lines like the rest of the record. He is boasting again about his accomplishments and saying that he has always been Christian, despite the news telling otherwise. It's an okay song but among the other tracks on the album, it falls short. Finally, Cudi Montage allows for Kanye to expand on his knowledge of vocal harmonies with an uplifting chorus of "Lord shine your light on me, save me, please." It is a cry for help but a positive one, nonetheless. Cudi talks about his same personal issues from earlier in the album but Kanye gets real rapping on the cycle of loneliness and troubles that the poorer communities must go through. It's depressing but it is good to see that Kanye is talking about these issues at least. That's the first step in solving it.
4/5. The album is a beautiful testament to friendship and recovery. Kanye and Cudi complement each other very well and bring out the best of each other: Kanye telling Cudi that it's okay to feel upset sometimes and that eventually, with some help from friends and family, people do get better and Cudi telling Kanye that it's okay to speak what's on your mind, to tell the truth, and be creative because when that happens then you'll be able to move to acceptance. Their song styles work well together, and they have some of their best performances on this record. Despite some missteps in some songs, this album shows that Kanye is heading in the right direction, and he's bringing some friends along for the ride. (Plus, the album art is amazing and I only want more of it.)