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It's real short  :dno:

Remember this time last year, when Kid Cudi held a listening party, and it was a big swanky secret event? And even though he himself wasn't there, Universal head honcho Sylvia Rhone was, and she gave a speech saying the album was a "game-changer"?

Well, since then, Man on the Moon has been both praised (by those with ears) and dissed (by those with, like, attitude). Cudi’s become something of a celeb, with his starring spot in TV series How to Make It in America (which returns for a second season next year) and a well-publicized drug fiasco to boot.

So it made good sense to us that last night’s secret event had a very different flavor from last year’s soiree. The playback for Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager was held at Don Hill's, a dark, nicely seedy kinda joint in Soho—and was hosted by Cudi himself. Immediately, you got the sense that the aim here was to keep it real. The air was thick with the smell of weed, and listeners munched cotton candy and popcorn. Very cute.

Cudi looked, er, “relaxed” as he introduced the record, making a request that folks don’t talk during the playback. “It’s trippy,” he said, "one of those albums you need to let wash over you." And was he ever right.

The Legend of Mr. Rager is darker than Man on the Moon. Not in an emo, hand-to-brow way; it’s less cinematic and generally bleaker, while also being far more danceable. It also firmly establishes Cudi as a singer-songwriter—not just a rapper with a knack for hooks.

When the record ended, Cudi took the mike for an entertaining monologue on his feelings about the album (“I wanted to make this record a lot more fun, even though it’s dark”) and its success so far; the expanded and clean versions are already in the iTunes top ten on presale, he said, beating out Kings of Leon: “And I’m just one dude!” He expressed his wish to inspire kids by using his life experiences as a muse (“It’s music to get y’all through any problem that you might have”) and told some very funny stories about being totally broke in New York. We can’t wait to hear the album again—it drops November 9.


Click past the jump for the track by track.

Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

Act 1: The World I Am Ruling

"The Other Side/REVOEV"
A thumping beat—which recalls Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”— clashes deliciously with a perky chorus reminiscent of the '80s, and a guest spot from Cee Lo Green.

Act 2: A Stronger Trip

"Don’t Play This Song"
Mary J. Blige guests on this anthemic, slow-mover.

"We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up)"
A slow, loping, super-trippy number that builds in glistening layers.

"Marijuana"
No prizes for guessing that this song is basically sonic intoxication. Cudi raps on a single note over piano arpeggios, and an awesomely wah-wahed guitar. It’s a smooth, rolling track, more mellow than, say, “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

"My Mojo’s So Dope"
Cudi’s fuck-you to the bloggers (he told us this after the playback). The beat on this one sounds like the sound effect for a fist fight in a 1980s computer game. A wistful voice sings, “I’m goin’ home,” and there’s a lovely melancholy, warm vibe.

Act 3: Party On

"Ashin’ Kusher"
Yep, it’s another weed pun. Rides over a sharp, distorted guitar sample and a hollow beat. The effect is like being really stoned at a very loud party. So we hear.

"Erase Me" feat. Kanye West
Cudi’s party-party track. A righteous pop anthem of Weezer-esque proportions. Girls at the playback hit the dance floor; everyone grins.

"Wild’n Cuz Im Young"
We previewed this track a while back. A dark, ricocheting beat underpins Cudi’s gleam-in-the-eye flow. There’s something awesomely nasty about it, and it’s a kind of weird song, too—thus an excellent riposte to those suggesting he’s sold out (whatever that means anymore).

"The Mood"
Tinkling piano and a warped vocal sound like the Orb (yes, really). Then there’s a crazy, maniacal sample that's like a ventriloquist’s doll laughing (argh) while Cudi narrates some grim party chat-up scenario. “No one talks…. Sweatin’ it out…lost in the motherfuckin’ mood.”

Act 4: The Transformation

"Maniac"
This one features St. Vincent—whose robotic, clear vocal is immediately recognizable. This is the album’s weird art-rock spazz-out moment, steeped in coruscating guitar and dischord. The verse is pretty pacy, the chorus is slow, strange and warped by feedback.

"Mr. Rager"
You’ve heard this at shows and probably downloaded it from the Interwebs already. Check out our review here.

"These Worries"
Mary J. Blige returns. It’s kind of an odd pairing: MJB so strong and strident, Cudi so young and seemingly vulnerable.

"The End"
GLC and Chip tha Ripper guest on this super-dark, industrial song (which should by all rights be used in the next Terminator movie).

Act 5: You Live & You Learn

"All Along"
Piano chords take the melody here, backed up by a metallic drumbeat and strings (Larry Gold conducts, as on Man on the Moon), Cudi singing, “I know I will spend tonight alone.” 

"GHOST!"
Set in 6/8 time, this is a careening, booming waltz. A meaty bassline descends, while an awesome, stringy electric note takes the hook.

"Trapped in My Mind"
Reggaeish, backed up with electric guitars; not quite the dramatic ending you might expect.

http://newyork.timeout.com/music-nightlife/the-volume-blog/485687/exclusive-kid-cudi-album-playback
 
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