Deadmau5, ‘Album Title Goes Here’ – Album Review
Since the late '80s, the music press has tended to get all lathered up every couple of years and yell, "EDM is about to take over! Guitars are dead!" It hasn't happened yet, and it's not happening now, so bump that whole idea. (It's not real -- it happens because sometimes we music journalists just don't have anything better to say, and we've gotta write about something to pay the rent.)
That said, Deadmau5 is leading this season's mutiny, imaginary or not. The oft-maligned beat merchant is the celebrity DJ. He's even landed his ubiquitous mouse-head helmet on the cover of 'Rolling Stone.' But he's a lot better at getting people riled than he is at making memorable tracks. The self-appointed EDM mouthpiece has beefed with Madonna and spewed crap about dance music as a whole. He went to the Grammys wearing a t-shirt displaying Skrillex's phone number, and he's called out EDM DJs for -- to paraphrase -- just hitting spacebars in concert.
This guy gives a whole new meaning to "knob twiddler," but his new release, 'Album Title Goes Here' (groan), is hard to flat-out dismiss. As a whole, it's an innocuous, if sometimes apathetic, attempt to bob some heads. That's noble. And at this point, Mr. Mau5 is surely just releasing albums as audio flyers for his live "spacebar pressings" -- which are fun, gum-itching evenings that I, having experienced one, totally endorse.
Let's focus on the good: The nine-minute 'Fn Pig' is one of the best EDM songs you're going to hear all year. A slow burner, the "pigstep" track takes its time warming up before dropping a fat, fuzzy seven-note earworm on top of a cacophony of hi-hats and monster stomp. Play it at your next party and see what happens.
'Take Care of the Proper Paperwork' is a fine industrial track and a nice change of tone from the boilerplate EDM backbone that keeps the album upright. All textures and drop-A bass, it manages to bridge that wide gap between brocore and, say, Throbbing Gristle. Pity it's buried towards the end of the album.
Elsewhere, the album is peppered with tracks that are as annoying as Deadmau5's PR stunts. As a general rule, if you see that the man has brought in guest vocalists, hit the skip button. 'The Veldt' is a surefire contender for the most cloying song of the year. Gerard Way, who has spent the last few years making ambitious, admirable Hot Topic rock, joins for 'Professional Griefers,' a song as bad as its title. And poor B-Real of Cypress Hill farts up a few bars for 'Failbait' -- and embarrasses everyone involved.
If you're into this Deadmau5 thing, you'll find plenty to like here. Everyone else, feel free to keep going about your business.