Album Review: Satellite Flight

KiD CuDi presents SATELLITE FLIGHT: The Journey to Mother Moon is currently among the top slots on iTunes’ 10 best-selling albums list. Full of ambient, cosmic beats and a slightly too consistent aesthetic, Cudi’s latest is surprisingly down to earth and cerebral in its metaphysical lyrics and mind-altering tunes, yet it struggles to pass as a respectable album. “Destination: Mother Moon” is a short intro that kicks off the album; this technique has become very prominent in not just hip-hop but all variants of contemporary music, from Childish Gambino to Young the Giant. This first track cements the atmosphere to follow, with an otherworldly composition absent of lyrics.

It is in the second song “Going to the Ceremony” that we finally get to hear Cudi’s voice, complementing stellar guitar riffs and a classic Cudi vibe that fans will gladly recognize. It is the most detached of the album and probably its best. This rap-rock anthem with a touch of spacey jive is made even better by the rapper’s alliterated, fast-hitting wordplay; it is the zenith of SATELLITE FLIGHT.

The titular track “Satellite Flight” brings some more of Cudi’s voice but cannot live up to track two, becoming a burden to listen to with its incessant moaning, distorted rambling and slurred lyrics that surround a pretty lackluster chorus.

“Copernicus Landing” is a four-and-a-half-minute track that shouldn’t be so long, being that it’s just more of what the intro initiated. It seems more transition-based and therefore unnecessary because it’s excessively drawn out. Here lies the principal downside to the album: Its aesthetic is the focus, drowning out Cudi’s distinctive voice and talent with ambience and psychedelic indulgence.

There are too many instrumental songs without lyrics, making the project seem illegitimate as a feature album from a well-known rap artist. The entire 10-song album could be condensed to two or three songs, and the synthesizer-heavy tracks could be made into short little snippets to transition from song to song because they’re all quite similar in terms of sound.

“Too Bad I Have To Destroy You Now” is the only other stand-out track on the album. It has a hip-hop feel that still abides by the overall cosmic aesthetic – something that not even “Going to the Ceremony” pulls off. It’s slightly bluesy with an overarching electronic dance music orientation – different, but vital to the album as an art piece.

SATELLITE FLIGHT overall feels underdeveloped or misguided as a hip-hop/rap album, and Cudi himself is arguably the least prominent component of its content. It would work better as a transitional or supplemental piece to a greater album of his. This kind of consistency does not work as a standalone product and would benefit from taking a supporting role to Cudi’s next work.

Unfortunately, it’s labeled as Cudi’s fourth “studio album” and so stands under the criticism of being very underwhelming in that sense. I predict that the album will continue to climb the charts in its misdirected mediocrity until enough people are disappointed.