Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Kid Cudi Channels His Inner Kurt Cobain

The biggest takeaway I was left with after taking my first lap around @wizardcud and @dotdagenius's new WZRD album was "I can't believe they covered a legendary Nirvana track." It was one of the biggest mind (f word)s I've been blindsided by in quite a while when reviewing music. Why was it such a big surprise? For starters, shame on me for having absolutely zero familiarity with WZRD's tracklist. As a result, I missed the Nirvana connection completely prior to listening to it. Second, I can't believe Cudi had the audacity to cover a track that is so legendary. I say legendary because anybody who has seen the haunting and distinctly memorable MTV Unplugged session was moved in some way shape or form by watching Kurt Cobain perform acoustic that night with Nirvana. The video below sums up how memorable the show was as Kurt ended the set with an exclamation point in the form of Where Did You Sleep Last Night...

Before I get into the new school version, you'd all be better off knowing how far back the original Bluegrass version of the track goes. Little known fact (thanks to Wikipedia), the song also goes by the name of In the Pines (Bill Monroe) and Black Girl (Huddie Ledbetter). Even better, the song's origins date all the way back to the 1870s when it was first an Appalachian folk song. To me it's crazy how little Leadbelly's version that was produced back in 1940 has evolved from the version that Nirvana popularized. Crazy, but also awesome to see American folklore unfold through the generations and becoming timeless as a result.

Fast forward to the present and you can appreciate how Cudi has some serious balls for trying to tackle such a challenge on his first rock flavored album. I'm not going to try and gas you all up by saying his cover of the track was near as good as the original, but I will say that I found it noteworthy and memorable that he chose to do his own version. What I really wanted was for him to do was absolutely cut loose on the last part of the track like Kurt did by belting out the eerie "MY GIRL, MY GIRL, DON'T LIIIIEE TO ME, TELL ME WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT?!?!?." Maybe that was part of making it his own, but I feel like if he would have went a little psycho and added a little yelling, I may have gotten a little more hype over it.

In case you missed it WZRD's album just dropped last week and thanks to Cudi's record company, not much effort was made to make the public aware of that. You'd think that would result in the album facing an uphill battle with sales, but 70K sales in the first week is not bad at all. That's right Cudi, you tell Universal what's up. They don't deserve to rake in the profits for being retarded enough to not believe that your rock album would sell. As side note, I hope you take the high road when the dust settles and don't deprive your fans of MOTM 3 in a fit of vindictive rage against your label. Your music speaks louder against authority than any twitter post and if one thing's been made clear through all this, it's that your music is powerful and your fans don't need it shoved down their throat to appreciate it...#PlayOnPlaya

Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Unplugged)

WZRD - Where Did You Sleep Last Night?


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