I’ll start this off by saying, I enjoyed this album more than I did the first Neon Future. Steve Aoki released the first half of the Neon Future experience last year, spawning singles such as “Free The Madness” with Machine Gun Kelly and “Delirious” featuring Kid Ink. This album doesn’t fall short in the guest department, either. Arguably, this album holds an array of even more notable guests: Linkin Park, Snoop Lion, and ever J. J. Abrams makes an appearance to close out the album.
With Neon Future II, it’s clear to see why Aoki is dominating the EDM scene at the moment. Even non-electronica fans can’t resist bobbing their heads to the heavy beats and awesome drops in his songs. Sometimes cliché, sure, but always infectious - a key in EDM music. Each song is varied in their own respect, and the fun stayed consistent throughout the album.
The storyline of the albums takes its next step (as expected). Neon Future I introduced the concepts of the neon future, and what it could hold. Neon Future II explores it, everything from traveling to the future with the intro to finding paradise in “Heaven On Earth”. And what better way of returning to the present than being narrated out by J. J. Abrams? Priorities.
Sonically, though, as much praise as I’ve given it, it is relatively average. Sure, each song is respectfully different, but it gets to a point where there’s no progression. Things begin to become a bit stale after the halfway point. Being the Linkin Park fan I am, I feel “Darker Than Blood” is the most sonically impressive song on the entire album, even though the entire song is based on a loop that should really only be used as a 30 second build up for another, grander song. Chester and Mike’s duet is simply beautiful, and Chester does some of his finest vocal work in quite some time during the chorus. In this regards, the album is still a good listen, but could be improved on a broader scale when it comes to instrumentals.
The Neon Future series allowed for Aoki’s popularity to massively grow, becoming some of mainstream EDM’s most vital hits. With tracks like “Free The Madness”, “Delirious”, and “Darker Than Blood” hailing from these albums, its easy to see why. Neon Future II explores the dark and light concepts of the proposed dystopian land, and even gives the listener a dance while having the adventure. That being said, these albums are definitely nothing groundbreaking. A lot of improvement is to be had, as these albums begin to drone on at points. Though when concluding with such a feat as to have J. J. Abrams accompany you back to the present, maybe it’s time to reconsider what’s “standard”.
Favorite Tracks: Darker Than Blood (ft. Linkin Park), Hysteria (ft. Matthew Koma)
Least Favorite Track: Holding Up The World (ft. Harrison)