deadmau5 - W:/2016ALBUM/

When the artist themselves disown their own record before it's release, you can't really have high expectations. This is what deadmau5 has done with his latest record W:/2016ALBUM/, which largely lives up to what he says about it.

Prior to its release, deadmau5 himself called the record "rushed" and "slapped together" on Twitter, downright claiming he released it just to pay the bills. That does feel like the case for a lot of this record. The first half of it is absolute monotonous droning; it's loops that show little change or progression that go on for far too long (the shortest track within the first third of the record is five minutes long). '4ware' is the starter of the album, and it's bouncy synths aren't enough to justify the same loop going on for eight and a half minutes. The run of '2448' through 'Deus Ex Machina' is the biggest waste of 18 minutes imaginable. There is absolutely no reason for these songs to be over five minutes of length - even if they were three minutes long they'd still be as boring as they are now.

The second half of the record isn't amazing but at least it's more interesting. 'Imaginary Friends' is the first song on the record with promise, the synth melody builds up in the intro in a very pleasing way - the rest of the song unfortunately returns to the same boring synth loops that really ruin the record. 'Let Go' features actual vocals on it: a very refreshing sound on this very mechanic record. The song features the same problem as 'Imaginary,' though, and becomes way too repetitive. The extended edit actually makes this worse, despite developing some of the more interesting parts of the song futher.

While still not great, the only song that really shows what this album could have been is the first single 'Snowcone.' It has the same formula as earlier songs, but it has loops that progress and change up give the song different levels of interest throughout it's play time. It's the same sound for five minutes, but on top of that sound comes different elements that will capture your ear. That's the way house music should be. Eight minutes of the same loop is just awful.

deadmau5 has had a rough year, battling depression before announcing his break from music, but this was not the way of getting back into it. W:/2016ALBUM/ is exactly as he described: a subpar collection of songs that were just slapped together. It's nothing you would expect from him - there's no excitement and it's impossible to vibe to many of its tracks for too long. He's already begun work on his next record, so let's hope he finds his inspiration to make something better.

Favorite Track: Let Go

Least Favorite Tracks: 2448, Cat Thruster, Deus Ex Machina, Glish

Rating: 38 / 100

Justice - Woman

There's a lot to be thankful for from the 70s, especially since many elements of disco and funk have been making a comeback over the last few years. French house duo Justice's third album Woman takes the disco influence to another level, but does it translate well in a modern setting?

What's most immediately noticeable about the record is its funkiness. 'Safe and Sound' rolls the album in, the dance vibes resonating with lots of character about the sweet bassline. You're going to want to get up and move around to this track. 'Pleasure' follows through with similar sweetness, though much more restrained and refined. There's less party in this disco and more thought into it. Another song that really brings the groove is 'Fire.'

The second of the album is much more different in terms of disco. There's some experimentation and risks taken on this half. It kicks off with the dinky, sweet synths of 'Stop,' innocently dancing above the the full bassline. The wallowing, seven-minute long epic 'Chorus' is the most invigorating track on the record, built with an urgency that none of the other songs quite reach. Perhaps its the space-opera vibe of the synths or the quickly changing parts of the song, but 'Chorus' really rings as something special in the tracklist.

For this record, all of the good moments are sadly usually paired with bad ones. There really isn't any climax on this album besides the variety of 'Chorus,' which in itself isn't particularly exciting, just interesting. There's drawn out moments like that of the six-minute 'Randy.' It's like they tried emulating the formula of 'Chorus' but in the most standard way possible.

Then there are places where some ideas just don't develop enough. 'Heavy Metal' starts off dark and with a very interesting melody and vibe. It doesn't follow through for the rest of the track, going back to the upbeat disco vibe almost out of nowhere. 'Alakazam !' is a cool instrumental, but it doesn't really add anything of interest to the album.

Justice is a prolific band, but Woman doesn't seem to support that. It's full of tastes of goodness, but there's no serving. It's lacking where it can't afford to, and the jumbled mess that it is doesn't satisfy any listening wants. Woman isn't what it could have been.

Favorite Track: Chorus

Least Favorite Tracks: Alakazam !, Close Call

Rating: 70 / 100