The Rage—Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi is back with his first single since his 2016 album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. “The Rage” is another one of Cudi’s typical simultaneously ominous and uplifting anthems, featuring a couple verses, a sampled chorus from a Smashing Pumpkins song, and plenty of the iconic Cudi hums layered throughout the track. “The Rage” was released as a feature in the soundtrack for the movie Rampage (the one with Dwayne Johnson and a mutated gorilla). And, although there are many elements reminiscent of Cudi’s glory days with the Man on the Moon series, the verses in “The Rage” ultimately come off as forced, with lyrics ambiguous enough to lack any real substance. Cudi ends the first verse, “Pack ‘em up and just hittin’, aimin’ and never missin’ / Servin’ up the prescription, no time for intermission / rippin’,” unfortunately like a SoundCloud rapper with a rhyming dictionary. The beat itself has some appeal, and the hook’s repurposing of Billy Corgan’s vocals works to a degree. But “The Rage” really falls flat in its cinematic size, perhaps a product of it being on the soundtrack of a movie that wallows in cinematic size. The biggest highlight on the song is Cudi’s never-failing hums, specifically at the ending bridge section. Cudi has mastered using his hums as their own instrument and utilizes them for a really cool layering of sounds at the end. Hopefully some more music is coming from the Cleveland native, and hopefully it won’t be made for a movie.
Guatemala—Swae Lee ft. Slim Jxmmi
The latest solo release from Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, “Guatemala” features a verse from Slim Jxmmi and is driven by a Caribbean-style backbeat. The song features mournful melodies and reverberated inflections to an up-tempo production of airy synths and Auto-Tune. Rae Sremmurd’s next three-part project SR3MM is set to drop sometime in April.
In efforts to condemn the recent political talk of barriers and walls, Bon Jovi has released a stadium-rock anthem called “Walls” that features brazenly straightforward lyrics in “Build them up / We’ll tear them down … Build more bridges / And tear down walls.” Though certainly well-intentioned, “Walls” fits too many stereotypes to work.
Featured Image by Republic Records