When the Music's Loud
Label: Candy Talk Records
Released on: August 23rd, 2013
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
Househeads, rejoice! In an ocean of carbon copy EDM where one track sounds only slightly different from the last, Chicago’s own DJ Colette (or just Colette as she’s known here) has put together a masterpiece of real house music complete with vocals performed by the First Lady of House herself. From the opening kick drums of “Best of Days” to the smooth bass line of “Oasis,” When the Music’s Loud is the dance album those of us who grew up with electronic music have been waiting for. While it may throw back to the 90s once in a while — in good taste, of course — this album serves as a Cliff’s Notes for any “EDM” followers that might not be aware of where house music came from. Not only did it come from Chicago — that’s a given — but it was born out of the urge to make people dance and to take the listener on a journey through sound rather than induce fist pumping. Who better to remind us of that than Chicago legend DJ Colette?
Although this record genre-hops all over the map between pulsing electro (“When the Music’s Loud”), Kylie Minogue via Body Language-era pop (“Electricity”), acid house courtesy of Adonis' 1986 cut "No Way Back" used for the backbone of "Hotwire," and the juking beat of “We Feel So Hot,” the entirety of it is firmly rooted in straight-down-the-middle house music. It’s not very often that we get as cohesive an album as When the Music’s Loud in any electronic music genre. More often than not, electronic musicians prefer to veer far off from their beaten path to explore some uncharted territory — whether that comes in the form of a few oddball tracks on an album or an entire album in itself. Colette, though, has stayed true to her genre for the totality of her career, and you’d be wrong to disagree that When the Music’s Loud is her magnum opus of the genre that she's given life to for decades. If you haven’t heard her yet (and if you’ve lived in Chicago longer than a decade, there’s no excuse for this), here is your paramount starting point.
I could wax intellectual about specific tracks you should introduce yourself to this album and artist with, but the truth is that this is an album you should play from beginning to end. Sure, “Physically” features some of Colette’s best vocals we've heard yet, and “Worked Up” is a chunk of the sexiest electro we’ve heard to date. But this record is an album in the truest sense of the word. You can have favorite cuts, but like one of her DJ sets, this is an immersive musical experience. If you like electronic music even a little bit, you’ll do good to check this out. Furthermore, if "EDM" is in your vocabulary… then you definitely need to listen to When the Music’s Loud and hear where this music all began. Colette is a purveyor of real house music — the stuff that has enough staying power to last decades, and this piece of work is her most captivating yet. So, stop reading this review, and take the dive on over to iTunes and cop this house music tour de force.