Jack Ü - 'Skrillex And Diplo Presents Jack Ü'
Subtle it's not, but the blockbuster electronic duo's new collaboration is outrageously fun
Since 2013, Skrillex and Diplo, perhaps concerned that there just weren’t enough drops in the world, have been making music together as Jack Ü. This debut album was released partway through a 24-hour DJ set in Santa Monica that was eventually shut down by police due to overcrowding. It’s no surprise to discover that the production duo – whose inspiration to start making music together came from their wild joint festival DJ sets – haven’t exactly used it as an opportunity to explore subtlety.
But what the duo lack in tact, they make up for by finding the sweet spot between M.I.A. and Madonna producer Diplo’s pop tendencies and Skrillex’s international noise terrorism. The booming, Kiesza-featuring ‘Take Ü There’ – their first single proper – is the highlight and appears twice, once in its original form and again quakingly remixed byMissy Elliott, who provides sniping vocals (“I’m the main chick, not a substitute/ Not a cockatoo could do what I do”).
Georgian rapper 2 Chainz pops up on the self-consciously silly ‘Febreze’ to announce “I’m the shit, I should have Febreze on me”, and AlunaGeorge vocalist Aluna Francis battles to be heard amid predictably relentless drops on ‘To Ü’. Justin Bieber takes time out from posing in his pants on Instagram to pine for a lost love on ‘Where Are Ü Now’, which is surprisingly affecting, given its grating synth part. It’s just a shame his spot didn’t go to someone with a less comically angelic voice.
Tracks like ‘Holla Out’ and ‘Jungle Bae’, with their ADHD bass wubs and simplistic synth riffs, are the kind of lowest common denominator trash you can imagine soundtracking a fight scene in the next Tranformers movie. The latter, in particular,feels like something Diplo would have ditched during sessions for 2013’s Major Lazer album ‘Free The Universe’.
If Skrillex and Diplo set out to make a record of good time party tunes that straddle their individual talents, they’ve done just that – ‘Skrillex And Diplo Presents Jack Ü’ crash lands squarely between tropical chart pop and dance tent-slaying EDM. That it feels like neither are particularly exerting themselves is a shame. Yet although much of it coasts along on autopilot, it can be outrageously good fun.