Djo - Decide Music Album Reviews

Djo - Decide Music Album Reviews
On his second solo album, Stranger Things actor Joe Keery fights his way through the simulation with winking, off-kilter synth-pop.

Joe Keery knows what you are probably thinking—another actor with a musical side project? Ugh. To Keery’s credit, making music is more than a passing vanity project; before he found life-altering fame playing Steve Harrington, the reformed bad boy of Stranger Things, he played guitar in the Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal. Over the last few years, in between roles as a murderous rideshare driver and a beleagured video game designer, he’s been kicking around a solo synth-pop project called Djo. As suggested by the moniker, which is pronounced like his first name, it’s still him—but with a wink.

Djo’s vibes-forward second album, Decide, conceals its anxieties about change and identity beneath an onslaught of synthesizers and Auto-Tune, often in the interest of fun but occasionally to its detriment. Written and produced alongside Adam Thein, Decide takes full advantage of studio wizardry. Opener “Runner” begins with a series of borderline 8-bit bleeps as Keery commits to growth—“People never change/But I have to try”—delivered in a crystal-clear falsetto. Soon enough, the song transitions into a slicker, chromatic sound, all vocodered vocals and savvy electronica that wraps up with a strangled shout. Sometimes, the full-bodied pastiche can’t hide some clunky lyricism. “I know my hair looked good in the bathroom at the bar/Turns out I left my wallet at the bathroom bar” goes one such line on the Talking Heads-esque “Gloom.” An exploration of the pitfalls of ego—and potentially good-natured jab at his own famous mane—it’s a charming attempt at nodding to his audience, even if his songwriting isn't quite up for the challenge.

It is ironic, then, that the best tracks on Decide tend to be the longer ones, when Keery’s instrumental impulses are allowed to spiral in unexpected directions (those psych rock roots die hard). While agonizing over the grip of social media, “Half Life” toggles between ominous stillness and bursts of sparkly brightness in a manner that evokes a dopamine loop. “On and On,” a song about doomscrolling, coasts along on a throbby wobble before skyrocketing into an arena rock-sized percussion breakdown.

Decide is a fun, off-kilter synth-pop album that proves Keery’s talent, but by its conclusion, a clearer picture of its maker fails to emerge. (One lovely exception is “End of Beginning” with its lyrics about returning to Chicago and reconnecting with a past version of himself.) As on his debut TWENTY TWENTY, Djo proudly reps influences like Daft Punk and Tame Impala, borrowing their tricks without adding much in the way of innovation. Still, the lack of personal revelations is forgivable: Keery has explicitly said that he hoped the Djo persona—he sports a ’70s bowl cut wig onstage and in promo pics—would help distance himself from his onscreen roles. There is something tragic about an album preoccupied with the fakeries of technology made by someone whose fans have as largely formed a relationship with him through the screen. But with Djo, he is finding his way through the simulation.

Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Djo - Decide Music Album Reviews Djo - Decide Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 29, 2022 Rating: 5


Post a Comment