Posted on April 10th, 2015 (1:00 pm) by Aaron Tremper

Perhaps the most anticipated bromance in EDM, Jack Ü consists of screamo-frontman-turned-dubstep-pioneer, Skrillex, and Grammy nominated Twitter Troll, Diplo. As owner of the label, Mad Decent, Diplo confirmed rumors about a potential collaboration between the two DJs with multiple Jack Ü performances on 2013’s Mad Decent Block Party national tour. After live promotional events (such as a 24-hour DJ set live streamed from Twitch, and a controversial set in which the duo tag-teamed Burning Man Festival’s Robot Stage in lieu of scheduled performer, Seth Troxler), the EDM community held its breath for the release of the group’s debut LP, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü.

Best described as trap-infused EDM, Jack Ü strives for a commercially accessible record with prominent guest features and short, radio-friendly edits. Such a marketable approach is only one of the several instances in which fans have witnessed Diplo’s steady influence on Skrillex’s work. Recent trends in Skirllex’s recent releases show an inclination toward more urban and R&B elements. While Diplo pushed on with producing mainstream releases and the dancehall / moombahton of his project Major Lazer in 2013, Skrillex proved uncharacteristically eclectic by sampling said dancehall, reggae, and rap features on his debut full-length LP, Recess.

Before the album begins, the duo reminds its fanbase thatJack Ü stands as not only a collaboration between the duo’s unique production approaches, but also between their senses of humor. On the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer, “Don’t Take Drugs, Just Take Some Jack Ü,” a sonically manipulated and questionably intoxicated Skrillex (“There’s two million, gillion hundred watts of electrical, electric [sic] voltage coming through these speakers right into your ears.”) insists that listeners “shoot up a little Jack Ü in [their] butt.” Curing everything from “the flu” to anything that requires prescription drugs, Jack Ü knows that laughter is indeed the best medicine.

Once the music begins, the hard-hitting mania of “Beats Knockin” sets the tone for a full thirty-five minutes of frantic synths and rapid fire beats that’ll leave you panting rather than laughing. On “Febreze,” such hefty studiowork flounders under the weight of one of the worst rap rooks ever recorded, courtesy of 2 Chainz: “I’m the shit / I should have Febreze on me.” What begins as a pleasingly grimy track quickly finds itself rolling around in all the wrong kinds of filthy. The dancehall anthem, “Jungle Bae,” however, picks up the slack by offering a rousing Bunji Garlin contribution destined to have everyone on their feet.

The album’s relatively softer moments, however, are also the album’s most memorable. On the highlight track,“To Ü,” Aluna Francis’ airy, British accent is an adequate, yet undeniable fill-in for the role Skrillex’s former flame, Ellie Goulding. Stuffed with trademark drops and trancey synths, the instrumentation makes for one of the album’s peak experiences. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber steals the spotlight on the mid-tempo ballad, “Where Are Ü Now.” Like the vocals of rising club diva, Kiesza, on the lead single, “Take Ü There,” Bieber’s takes are not only chopped and screwed, but pitched, looped, and filtered to prevent the R&B tinged jam from sounding too much like another Belieber anthem.

While Jack Ü’s hard-thumping collection makes for a solid dance record, some devoted Skrillex fans will inevitably find Skrillex’s eccentric production reined in by the confines of Diplo’s dancehall leanings. The treats, however, outweigh many of the sacrifices made on the album. Between humourous recordings of the duo’s studio life and vocal contributions from Skrillex himself on “Mind,” Jack Ü provides a more candid glimpse of the household producer. Meanwhile, Diplo fans will enjoy hearing the producer return to center-stage as he slyly maneuvers through many tracks outside of his comfort zone. With future collaborations with the likes of Wiwek, Yellow Claw, and Feed Me, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü is only a single pit stop on a slew of Skrillex projects for this year.

Track List:

    1. ”Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some Jack Ü”
    2. ”Beats Knockin’” (featuring Fly Boi Keno)”
    3. ”Take Ü There” (featuring Kiesza)
    4. ”Febreze” (featuring 2 Chainz)
    5. ”To Ü” (Featuring AlunaGeorge)
    6. “Jungle Bae (featuring Bunji Garlin)
    7. “Mind” (featuring Kai)”
    8. “Holla Out” (featuring Snails and Taranchyla)
    9. “Where Are Ü Now” (featuring Justin Bieber)
Jack Ü - Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

74 / 100
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