Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü
OWSLA and Mad Decent
Released February 27th, 2015
Genre: Trap, Dubstep, Electro House, Trap Rap, Pop
Arguably the most anticipated collaboration of 2015, Jack Ü is a side group/project consisting of Skrillex and Diplo, artists who have heavily influenced and shaped the electronic music industry by their respective accomplishments. But, after surprising crowds with an unprecedented performance at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2014, the duo has finally released its mysterious and impressive debut album.
Sonny Moore, better known as Skrillex, the young talent fresh off his own debut album, first fully appeared on the mainstream scene in late 2010, after releasing his Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP on Mau5trap and scoring a touring spot alongside esteemed producer Deadmau5. From that point on, Skrillex’s success as a global superstar has skyrocketed.
A respected and decorated veteran to the music industry, Thomas Wesley Pentz aka Diplo had his first break in 2004, when his debut record, Florida, was released on Big Dada Records. Since then, Diplo has established his own label, Mad Decent, and has collaborated with big names in the music industry such as No Doubt, Usher, Britney Spears, Sia, and Beyonce respectively. In the United States, the album peaked at #1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums and #26 on the Billboard 200 Chart.
While awaiting the release of the debut album, the duo hosted a daring 24-hour party in the hills of Los Angeles on February 26th of this year, only to be subsiquently shut down by police. The lead single off the album, “Take Ü There” feat. Kiesza, was released in September of 2014. Combining a highly melodic style with a frequently practiced trap drop, the single reached #16 on the UK Dance Chart. Boasting the most iconic intro off the album, the track’s upbeat hook and catchy drop makes it one of the most notable tracks off the album. In fact, the track was recently remixed by rapper Missy Elliot and appended to the full-length album. Leading off the album itself, “Beats Knockin”, featuring New Orleans group Fly Boi Keno, provides a signature punch to the collective work by combining a bass-moohmbaton sound commonly used by Diplo, The drop’s squeaky, high-pitched sounds give it a touch that sticks in the listener’s mind, flexing the creative muscle of the duo of overlords.
“Febreze”, ft. notorious rapper 2 Chainz definitely sounds most like past sounds of Skrillex, bridging the gap between a screechy dubstep brand and a trap texture that’s seemingly ubiquitous in today’s music industry. Straying from previous styles, Jungle Bae ft. Bunji Garlin shreds through any pair of speakers with its repetitive, yet exciting vocals and massive electro-style drop. This is definitely one of the most underrated tracks off of the record because of its unique soundscape, yet familiar format.
The heavyweights off the album, “To Ü” ft. AlunaGeorge and “Where Are Ü Now” ft. Justin Bieber turned heads around the globe because of their perfect balance between what’s tagged as “EDM” and “pop music,” even though they’re slowly merging.
First, “To Ü”‘s addictive future bass/trap sound makes it one of the best tracks off the album. It’s smooth, horn hook heard at the beginning gives it an R&B feel out of the gate. But nasty drops and catchy hooks characterize the album as a whole, but are most easily exemplified in “To Ü”. And finally, the most surprising guest appearance on the album, Justin Bieber (young Canadian superstar turned bad boy) redeems himself in a way unexpected to audiences. “Where Are Ü Now” wins my pick for top track off of the album. The tasteful and actually meaningful lyrics from Bieber, layered beautifully with a smooth atmosphere, sets up a perky wood stab drop that leaves listeners amazed. Garnering over 8.8 million plays on Soundcloud alone, this track in particular has made waves across the globe.
All in all, the album as a whole certainly lived up to the hype, if not transcended it. While you’ll hear the more mainstream tracks (i.e. “Where Are You Now,” “Take Ü There”) well into the summer, I’d challenge the listener to fully enjoy the journey that is Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Where Are Ü Now (feat. Justin Bieber), To Ü (feat. AlunaGeorge), Beats Knockin (feat. Fly Boi Keno), Mind (feat. Kai)
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Febreze (feat. 2 Chainz), Take Ü There (Missy Elliot Remix)