A bassline harder than Arnold Schwarzenegger's biceps.
Review by Jakob Hertl
Whether alone, as the mastermind of Major Lazer, with Skrillex as Jack Ü, with Mark Ronson as Silk City or with Labrinth and Sia as LSD: Diplo is always convincing. Regardless of the many side projects and collaborations with world-famous stars, the American, whose real name is Wesley Pentz, also creates something as a solo artist that only a few musicians manage to do: to successfully try different genres, to exhaust openness and musical diversity and yet one To develop signature sound that captivates fans from all over the world. Fans who, like me, are looking forward to the new album.
On "Diplo" the DJ and producer reflects on his roots, at the same time serves the current trends of the scene and raises the bar again. The record surprises and at the same time sounds like pure Diplo. I was already afraid that it could go in the direction of irrelevant pop mush. Because the previously released single "Don't Forget My Love" with singer Miguel – at the same time also the first track of the album – just ripples along without pleasing or offending. Just boring.
We continue with "High Rise" and "Your Eyes". Two songs that delve into the depths of deep house. Atmospheric synths and sound effects with gentle vocals, accompanied by electronic drums in a very unique rhythm between classic four-on-the-floor beat and dancehall influences. Of note is Australian singer RY X's unique voice, which suits "Your Eyes" perfectly.
"One By One" also fits into this series of surprising pieces. Surprising because they show a new, calmer side of Diplo. In addition to danceable bangers, he also succeeds in staging the deep part of house music perfectly. Beats that push, but which you can also play as relaxed background music while you work.
Following is one of my highlights: the intro of "Promises" starring Paul Woolford and Kareen Loomax. Who would have thought that piano chords, a simple snap of your fingers, and a bit of The Weeknd-style vocals could make a song so addictive? It's a shame that the rest of the song then sounds more like smooth-ironed standard dance that's likely to hit a hit. There would have been more.
Today, most people only know Diplo as the producer of this mainstream EDM. Despite his enthusiasm for house in particular, it wasn't always like this. The 43-year-old became known as part of the DJ duo Hollertronix. Together with Low Budget he played American rap in the clubs at that time. His debut album "Florida" in 2004 also moved more into the world of hip hop with many samples.
That was almost 18 years ago, Diplo's music today is different. Nevertheless, he never lost his connection to hip hop, as "Right 2 Left" from the new album shows. Rap great Busta Rhymes can be heard on the very experimental track: However, only with two sentences that are sampled and repeated throughout: "Hot to death, we swingin' it from right to left / Bassline for all of my people movin' around ." Interesting, but I would have expected more in view of this artist's suit.
With Lil Yachty, the next rap star is a guest on "Humble". Both have proven several times that only good things come out of collaborating: whether in 2017 with "Forever Young" on Lil Yachty's album "Teenage Emotions" or in 2018 with "Worry No More" from Diplo's EP "California". "Humble" now jumps onto the Tech-House hypetrain. But not in an 'I'll copy the others so I can get on the charts' kind of thing, but with fat drums and a bassline heavier than Arnold Schwarzenegger's biceps. I wouldn't be surprised if the song becomes a perennial favorite in the reopened in the near future clubs will.
Speaking of evergreens: There's not much more to say about "On My Mind" with Sidepiece, is there? Went through the roof on all streaming platforms, welcomed by all radio stations with open arms, dominated the charts and even been nominated for a Grammy: the success speaks for itself.
"Don't Be Afraid," featuring Damian Lazarus and Jungle, snatches everything that's good about pop music and steers clear of everything that sucks about it. A groovy bass and playful percussions are embedded in the typical sound of the album. The result is a little outstanding song, but one that simply puts you in a good mood.
Good mood is also the perfect keyword to talk about "Let You Go": The beginning of the track is tempting, you keep listening – and it's rewarded: I can't describe exactly why and how, but the drop triggers a real torrent feelings of happiness. Simply enjoy!
What electro genre haven't we had yet? trance maybe? No problem, "Forget About Me" with AlunaGeorge and Durante is just around the corner. The track is reminiscent of Robert Miles' legendary "Children", could just as easily come from Armin Van Buuren or Tinlicker and once again shows how broadly Diplo is musically positioned.
After that the album flattens out a bit. In the end, however, Diplo goes back to the combo that worked so well on "Promises". "Looking For Me" with Paul Woolford and Kareen Loomax is the Feel Good conclusion to an album that isn't very spectacular but has really good music, proving that electro chameleon Wesley Pentz is still one of the big ones. What can this Diplo actually not do?