Review Summary: Musical accomplishments go elsewhere
As America finally begins to accept electronic dance music (that's edm to all you dictionary avoiders) into its daily culture (welcome to the party guys, the invites only went out about twenty years ago), watching the established stars scramble for purchase in amongst the scuffle has produced interesting results. Joel Zimmerman, the mau5test with the mostest, was a producer who quickly found success by doling out a rather hypnotizing brand of chilled-out lounge-house, a sound that at times felt ill at ease when paired up with his over-sized happy meal identity. That it would find success with the type of sonic merchants now specializing in the purchase of ear-splitting four to the floor that would perhaps be better suited to an industrial steel mill, is also a novelty by which similar acts have sadly wound up left at the wayside; that perhaps his supernova-like rise could perhaps be attributed to... okay fu
ck it, lets be honest here, it was the big head that sealed the deal okay?. But more than mere circus sideshow routine, Zimmerman had an ear to the ground (or perhaps the sound system?) and understood what was going to work in a few years time and what wasn't, at least in regard to the waters that he wanted to be swimming in. 4x4=12
signaled his arrival into the big leagues, that crowded pantheon of "I can be loud and abrasive as well, ya know!"; we dubstepped, we danced, and some partied 'til they puked. But something seems to have happened in the mau5 camp, and at least as far as Zimmerman's latest would seem to indicate, there appears to be a desire to eliminate the distance between the old and the new.
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is a tale of two identities, two very distinctly different worlds attempting to enter into some form of amicable partnership; Joel Zimmerman as Deadmau5 spilling caffeinated house into the night, and Deadmau5 as himself,a kind of nightclub superhero attempting to blow the training bra off of every newly-minted adult's first night out. Which places the album on shaky ground, dangerously retreading over the familiar while trying to reach new cornerstones. It might very well be the album that For Lack Of A Better Name
might have sounded like had it been delayed by two years, and album opener 'Superliminal' attempts to recreate the start-stop motion of death-marcher 'FML', but it's a light hand that ends up steering this particular vessel, a pilot resigning himself to flying solely on cruise control. The curious reappraisals of Random Album Title
on 'Closer' and the deftly-scripted 'October' are somewhat impressive, if simply to question their very existence, but not only do they feel like time-traveling oddities rubbing shoulders uncomfortably with their younger and far more abrupt brethren, they also feel at odds with themselves. Their premise is more than a little self-serving, but the follow through is mere indulgence for no one but their maker, with their intended audience (devout followers and purchasers of material) instead returning to the origins of their existence, before everything began to get just a little bitter. By contrast does 'Channel 42' provide some entertainment, it's funked out balls-to-the-wall approach in stark disagreement with Zimmerman's and Wolfgang Gartner's previous collaboration, the dismal 'Animal Rights'; and while Gerard Way might feel a little out of his depth, he somehow finds a way to make the previously instrumental 'Professional Griefers' work, its electro-schlok impulses firing tectonic slabs of pure adrenaline.'Maths' is cut from a similar cloth, its bubble-gum house makeup perfectly attached and in full swing, its job as another wordless anthem of midnight tomfoolery accomplished even if by sheer virtue of its own infectiousness.
But this is really where the party stops; 'The Veldt', a marathon of insipid mellowness and monotonous dilemmas is a trial that lingers long after its extended length, and at eight minutes and counting you feel every soul-crushing second of its appalling self-worth. 'Sleepless' as an experiment is interesting, but as a genuine release it's pointless, a downtempo boogie that exceeds only in extending the album's runtime, and Cypress Hill's appearance on 'Failbait' is equally as wearisome; a slight jaunt into hip hop, it begins an ill-fitting final section for the album, a hastily-assembled pastiche of low-brimmed gun-toting stereotypes from two acts who have clearly stumbled into the wrong dressing room. It's a bittersweet finale to a bittersweet album, and while Imogen Heap performs heroically on closer 'Telemiscommunications', it's an unwelcome coda to an album that suffers from a severe case of identity crisis. Album Title Goes Here
is simply, and honestly, a pointless release, a record designed for two very different crowds, yet lacking the ammunition to even moderately please anyone. With his commercial successes in stark opposition to his critical ones, it's clear that Zimmerman has reached a crossroads of sorts, and while he should be commended for attempting to please everyone, the end result is one that simply doesn't please anyone. Call it buyers remorse or simply the purchase of faulty stock, but the cheese here is starting to smell.