Review Summary: Dev's brilliant charisma enhanced by the production. It's the Cataracs, literally.
Even if you've never heard of her, you know Dev. As an up and coming indie-electropop artist since 2009, she teamed up with production team The Cataracs and Far East Movement to make the catchy #1 single "Like A G6." With her debut effort, The Night the Sun Came Up, she proves that she has more to offer than an annoying hook ("Now I'm feeling so fly like a G6.") In this album, Dev shows how her extreme charisma (comparable to that of Robyn
can be paired with slamming beats to make perfect dancefloor candy. However, the true star of this album is the production team The Cataracs. They make her rapping infectious, her lack of singing ability forgivable, and her image mean more than "the sober version of Ke$ha."
Co-writing and producing every single song on the album, the Cataracs have helped Dev make an album that puts Dev in a niche of her own that will keep her lasting on this scene for a long time. The Cataracs create some of the electronic intrigue to the likes of Passion Pit
. She portrays the "chill girl next door," partying hard with tracks like "Bass Down Low," but she also shows a vulnerable side with tracks like "Perfect Match." She acknowledges the haters with "Me" where she proclaims "At first they couldn't figure me out, funny how they all want a piece of me now." This album is such a balance of dark, danceable songs as well as light, romantic songs that somehow, the album title suits the album perfectly.
"If you ain't on my flight, you gettin' flown over" Dev proclaims on the dance track "Lightspeed." As one of the best tracks on this album, with electronic production so strong that it makes up for the lack of pipes, the lyrics make you want to go hard. The Cataracs manage to keep the panflute fresh with this track, and that's saying something. Oh, and the breakdown also involves coughing.
Other tracks that are standouts include "Take Her From You," the third single from the album that is an ode to personal conflicts with a hint of rock and roll. Also "Dancing Shoes" gains serious momentum in the chorus and is a really perfect potential single.
But perhaps the most interesting song on the album is "In The Dark." The Cataracs strip the song of the pumping beats and replace it with a great saxophone hook (Lady Gaga, what have you done"). But Dev stands out in front of the lack of grand production and it reveals that there is more of Dev to come, a version of Dev that has mastered the charisma of her voice and can use it independently to make great tracks without relying on The Cataracs. It's true, she doesn't have the voice of the likes of Beyonce, but neither do artists like M.I.A.
and she still manages to create genius tracks like "Paper Planes." Dev has the potential off becoming the M.I.A of electropop (note M.I.A.'s song XXXO).
Disappointingly though, the album fades to an end with the unmemorable track, "Shadows." As Dev's voice isn't her strong point, when you rely solely and heavily on acoustic, her voice becomes unmemorable.
Drafted for an original release date of September 20th, Dev pushed it back to November 1st to add more tracks to the album, and it will definitely be worth it. There's so much more she can write about considering she got knocked up, got launched into fame working with stars like Timbaland, David Guetta, and Demi Lovato. Maybe she'll include tracks that are as masterful as "In The Dark" and end with a better track then "Shadows" but if she doesn't, this album will still be as great as it already is.
What to buy: Everything except for "Shadows" really, but "Lightspeed," "In The Dark," "Dancing Shoes," "In My Trunk," and "Take Her From You" are great! And If you're in a Taylor Swift-y mood, try "Perfect Match."