> Album Title Goes Here <
Released on: September 24th, 2012
Grade: 3.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
When I first heard the new Deadmau5 album, > Album Title Goes Here <, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it. 4x4=12 was such a focused, honed-in effort that sounded cohesive and managed to immerse the listener even in spite of enormously long runtimes (unless you had acquired the mixed version, which I consider to be the superior cut of the album). This time around, the dreadfully long track lengths are still intact, yet aren’t nearly as enrapturing as the last record. That’s not saying the songs themselves are bad, it’s just that not everyone is a DJ and requires epic, nine-minute-long escapades. But I digress; let’s focus on the material and not so much on the grandiosity of it all.
Album opener “Superliminal” immediately caught my attention, as it's traditional Deadmau5 straight down the middle. The pounding 4/4 beat, pulsating synths that get squelched to hell and back, and an enormous build up. Wait… did I just say enormous build up? That’s actually a lie, as the song seems to trudge into nowhereland. The approach is appraisable for the level of outstanding production the Mau5 has become wildly famous for, but there’s nothing more disappointing than the same 4-8 bars of synth lines repeating endlessly with a cornucopia of effects layered on as the song progresses. Sorry, Mr. Zimmerman, but you’re not fooling me. The riff is good, like nearly everything else you turn out, but I expect a little more inventiveness from a talent such as yourself.
Two tracks that really grabbed me by the balls on my first playthrough of > Album Title Goes Here < were “Fn Pig” and the album’s lead single, “Professional Griefers,” the latter of which features — oddly enough — Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. It’s a song that’s been kicking around for a while in instrumental form since Deadmau5 debuted his expanded live setup at Lollapalooza last year and has been one of my favorite Mau5 cuts since I first heard it. The track is strong enough to stand on its own as an instrumental, but I won’t lie… I love My Chemical Romance. So, simply by default, the vocal version is equally as gripping. “Fn Pig” is based off of a wicked, almost old school-sounding electro riff that pounds along at a steady 128 BPM… which, interestingly enough, is the BPM of most of the record.
And that’s a point I’d like touch base on for a minute. I understand that 4x4=12 was also predominantly 128 BPM, but the few times it reached out of its comfort zone was for two of the best tracks on the album: the epic immensity of “Raise Your Weapon” and the dubstep-suffused “One Trick Pony.” Any Deadmau5 fan will likely claim one of these two tracks as their favorite. I’m certainly one of those fans myself. But the few moments in which Deadmau5 oversteps his 128 BPM boundary, it’s for the two light-hearted tracks (call them ballads, if you will) “Telemiscommunication” and “Sleepless,” along with the mildly-decent Cypress Hill guest spot, “Failbait.” I wouldn’t consider any of these three tracks to be remotely close to highlights of the album, even in spite of “Telemiscommunication” featuring the ever so graceful Imogen Heap.
If I had to sum up > Album Title Goes Here < in just one phrase, it would be “disjointed, yet pristinely produced.” It’s not a bad album by any means, but there’s a bit less of the larger-than-life pizazz that infected 4x4=12, subsequently earning itself a Grammy nod and spending over 100 weeks on the Billboard charts. I’m sure the appeal of a new Deadmau5 album will sell enough records in itself to be equally as successful, but I foresee this album becoming a polarizing work for Deadmau5 die-hards who love the harder, more audacious productions that get bodies moving. Sure, the “live” show will probably give these songs a bit more life, but as a whole, > Album Title Goes Here < falls short of our expectations from this EDM wunderkind.