Money Sucks, Friends Rule
is Dillon Francis
‘ first full-length after a string of EPs and singles that broke moombahton big (well, bigger) in the States. And while there’ve been glimpses of what he can pull off when he’s not in his usual flippantly goofy mode, like the warm, oddly moving electro-house sleeper “Without You”
, this intended breakthrough album pushes him out to the wider world as the man that nuance forgot. He can put together crowdpleasing music that pushes all the right buttons at the right moments, and his lack of shame when it comes to giving his pop upbringing its due hints at the potential versatility of his status in a world where EDM is one of the few new ideas pop’s stuck to recently. But it’s hard to get to the core of what his music does and where its inspiration really comes from without his public persona’s living-meme goofiness getting in the way.
It happened to every youth-energy genre, and lowest-common-denominator EDM isn’t immune, either: at some point, a major player in the music eventually mistakes stupidity for rebellion. Now making stupid shit isn’t a crime in itself. Subversive idiocy in action is when Country Joe & the Fish led Woodstock in a mass cheerleading effort to spell out the word “FUCK” before launching into their dark-humored, fatalist ‘Nam-War hillbilly eyepoke “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag”. Not to bring it up as the fifty-thousandth example of attempting to prove how right-on the Baby Boom generation was or anything; It’s just to note that Money Sucks has a track, “What’s That Spell?”, that lifts the “gimme an F” (and so on) from that cheer and is pretty much fine with leaving things there. We’re at a point long after that word alone has seemed dangerous and long before we appear done with shipping soldiers overseas, so what’s the point?
With an edgy jokester’s built-in defense mechanism (what’re you, humorless?), coupled with his defiant belief that dropping a bunch of blatant pop crossovers into Money Sucks can still be a true-to-self move, it’s almost like he’s daring purists and tightasses to roll their eyes.But if that’s a source of cred for his fanbase, it’s going to have to make up for the cred lost with the album’s directionless eclecticism. Never mind if it’s a sellout or not—it’s just a mess, and makes Francis’ claim in an early-October Billboard interview that an album of wall-to-wall club songs “is not going to be interesting to anyone” look tone-deaf. Does Twista’s land-speed-record schtick fail to hide how little he (or anyone) has to say about hater-callout VIP-section fellatio trawling? Does Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie try to Jim Steinman his way through histrionic nonsense and assembled Springsteen/Stooges lyric lifts on “Love in the Middle of a Firefight”? Do the Presets sound like an emergency airlift from 2005’s indie-electro heyday dropped into the blankest caricature of that style imaginable?
There’s still a fair amount of stuff that fits more of what you might expect from a Mad Decent hedonist. And that’s fine if you don’t mind both-kinds-of-dense faux-Arabian rich-kid twerkbait (DJ Snake collab “Get Low”, which won’t make you forget either 2003 or 2013 Lil Jon), grating vocal chops that careen through dizzying pitch shifts (“I Can’t Take It”), and an overwhelming reliance on building machine-gun crescendo/underwhelming drop structures that are five minutes from becoming the decade’s big musical self-parody moment. Which is another joke not worth telling.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1tOrJnn