Jacob Collier
Djesse Vol. 4


2.7
average

Review

by YoYoMancuso STAFF
March 4th, 2024 | 57 replies


Release Date: 03/01/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Theory will only take you so far.

Djacob Collier’s Djesse tetralogy has polarized listeners unlike any musical project I’ve borne witness to in the past decade. His acolytes liken him to a musical deity, capable of perceiving aural patterns and weaving musical tapestries that no human being has ever been enlightened enough to comprehend. His naysayers, on the other hand, react to his work with visceral disgust, lambasting his compositions for lacking form and being soulless, resembling the sort of music a rogue AI would make if it suddenly desired to torture its cruel human overlords. As the great Bruce Lee once said, we need emotional content. The hilarious thing about these diametrically opposed camps is that they’re both right. Collier’s 53-track long Djesse project showcases his completely undeniable and borderline freakish musical talent at every turn, but also makes little to no effort to conceal a serious quality control problem. Each of its first 3 volumes occasionally rewarded its listeners for slogging through its incomprehensible swamps of theory with a superlative gem like “Time Alone With You”, “He Won’t Hold You”, or his un-fucking-believable a capella rendition of “Moon River”. While Djesse Vol. 4 may be a different beast than its three siblings in terms of genre and style, it regrettably falls in lockstep with this pattern of execution.

Collier lifts the curtain on the final part of his passion project to reveal symptomology similar to that which has befallen most of his work over the past decade. “100,000 Voices”, if its title didn’t give you enough indication, is pure excess, a head-spinning collage of recordings from Collier’s live shows where he fashions a makeshift choir out of his audience, coupled with puzzling Christian contemporary synth pads, the first of two(!!!!!!) THX intro swells on the album, and a frankly nausea-inducing hyperpop-esque metal breakdown to top it off. You know, just to tie a neat little bow on the whole experience. I was 4 minutes into this album before I decided that I needed a water break, and not in a good way. There is no denying that Collier’s mind is full of amazing ideas, but “100,000 Voices” is further indicative of the fact that the more he opts to let all of these ideas off the leash at once, the more his art suffers. The 11-minute two-part epic “Box of Stars” functions as exhibit B to this argument, weaving through inexplicable trap beats and a hilarious Steve Vai shred solo only to still feel like it’s been played in a wind tunnel for its entire runtime. Such is the mystery of Collier; sometimes his music is an overstimulating headache, and sometimes it’s the greatest damn thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Previously released single “Never Gonna Be Alone” certainly has its funky chord changes and theoretical quirks, but its simplicity allows the beauty of Lizzy McAlpine’s vocal and John Mayer’s understated guitar solo to shine through with a brightness that simply does not pervade the bulk of the tracklist. “Cinnamon Crush” succeeds with a similar gameplan, while bombastic single “WELLLL” proceeds with caution by only marrying itself to one insane idea at a time instead of twenty, and ends up succeeding with flying colors.

Djesse Vol. 4 both succeeds and suffers in a remarkably similar manner to its predecessors. As Bruce Lee’s close friend J. Robert Oppenheimer once said, theory will only take you so far. When Collier focuses less on flexing his musical muscles and more on penning genuinely gripping compositions, he stands shoulder to shoulder with the preeminent songwriters of our time. It’s a shame that a significant portion of his work feels like a showcase of possibilities, as opposed to a thoughtful and measured expression of creativity. What Djesse Vol. 4 showcases more than anything is the continuation of Collier existing in this musical limbo. It’s volatile, bloated, and occasionally transcendent; a gas station burrito of a musical experience.



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user ratings (15)
2.6
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2024


19034 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

I imagine there are more Jacob detractors than fans on sputnik, so this review will probably speak to you in one way or another

Mort.
March 4th 2024


25836 Comments


yes the rating speaks to me

the review doesnt because im lazy and only got a couple sentences in

Mort.
March 4th 2024


25836 Comments


'His naysayers, on the other hand, react to his work with visceral disgust, lambasting his compositions for lacking form and being soulless, resembling the sort of music a rogue AI would make if it suddenly desired to torture its cruel human overlords. As the great Bruce Lee once said, we need emotional content. The hilarious thing about these diametrically opposed camps is that they’re both right. Collier’s 53-track long Djesse project showcases his completely undeniable and borderline freakish musical talent at every turn, but also makes little to no effort to conceal a serious quality control problem. '


yeah this is pretty accurate. dude has obvious talent but sort of sucks as an artist.

good review

theBoneyKing
March 4th 2024


24569 Comments


I got roped into seeing him live in a few months - I know little about him other than that he writes some form of ““intelligent”” pop music that “normies” like but that the critical press and more “dedicated” music listeners tend to dislike. Will I do better to go into the show blind or to at least try this or some of his other stuff beforehand?

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2024


19034 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Basically he’s a music theory genius that occasionally writes a super accessible and great pop song, but his more out there compositions are so bogged down by technical exercise that they’re kind of unbearable

Purpl3Spartan
March 4th 2024


8781 Comments


Smart musical mind. Wish it translated to good songwriting. Rating is prob correct

goodsitebaduserbase
March 5th 2024


253 Comments


“un-fucking believable”
joss whedon and his consequences have been a disaster for the millennial race

dedex
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2024


12788 Comments


really really really good review man

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2024


19034 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

really really really appreciate that man : )

Beardog
March 5th 2024


5275 Comments


Oh I thought I was the only one disliking Jacob Collier's music haha

HelloJoe
March 5th 2024


1097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this dude's music. This one is no different. He scratches that maximalist itch for me. Great pacing on this one, too. The hour goes by in a breeze. It's such a fun listen.



Nice review. Great description of the divisive nature of his music. I hope he keeps doing his own thing. I'm digging it.

clavier
Emeritus
March 5th 2024


1173 Comments


@theBoneyKing fwiw I think he'll still be quite entertaining live regardless of whether you'll like his material or not, as he does have great showmanship that transcends the difficult nature of his music

GhandhiLion
March 5th 2024


17650 Comments


Jacob Collier became famous for wanking on an airplane

HelloJoe
March 5th 2024


1097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've seen him live, too. It probably doesn't mean much as I am a fan of his music but I would recommend giving him a try live even if you don't dig his music. As Clavier says, the showmanship (and musicianship of him and the band) is very entertaining.



It's also a really nice communal experience. Everyone gets involved.

UniverseCalling
March 6th 2024


107 Comments


Sorry that artists doing whatever they want and not conforming to the limitations you want to restrict their freedom with makes you feel weird.

Koris
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2024


21418 Comments


"Theory will only take you so far."

Ngl, this has been my #1 problem with Jacob Collier since day one

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2024


1973 Comments


This review not only perfectly matches my views on Collier but is also a fantastic read.

Nicely done sir.

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2024


19034 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

thanks brotha < 3

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2024


10317 Comments


Great write up couldn’t agree more with para 1, fairly and deftly put

Ryus
March 6th 2024


37498 Comments


one of the worst musicians of our time



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