by AARON MEGAR
There are few names in the past five years that have been hotter and more prominent in the entire electronic music scene than Skrillex and Diplo. Skrillex, the king of dubstep and master of the drop, and Diplo, the mind behind Major Lazer and some of my favorite hits, like “Boy Oh Boy” and “Pon de Floor,” formed as Jack Ü in the summer of 2013. Before last night, they only released one single, “Take Ü There,” in September. But with their debut album, Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü, released as a surprise around 8 p.m. EST on Thursday night, the superstar duo satisfies the long anticipation, supplying a record that cannot be better described as anything other than “really f**king awesome.”
Jack Ü creates a unique and new sound that resembles both Skrillex and Diplo in a way where the two, who began on far different sides of the electronic music spectrum, mesh perfectly, as if it were one entirely new artist. After the album’s introduction, “Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some,” the first musical track, “Beats Knockin,” features the build-up of your common Skrillex song with a Diplo-style rap flowing through it by Fly Boi Keno and a more energized version of a drop that one would hear in Skrillex’s most recent solo-album, Recess, or in most of Diplo’s recent work. It’s a jam, as Skrillex and Diplo tell the world that they have no boundaries, no genre.
“Take Ü There,” the album’s next song and its only single, does something similar. If Skrillex were to come up with “Take Ü There” two or three years ago as a solo project, it would have been one of the most memorable and fantastic Skrillex drops of all-time. But with Diplo, and now having seemingly grown out of the massive and in-your-face drops, “Take Ü There” is what Jack Ü’s first single had to be; an insight to the core of their sound.
Every song after that absolutely kills it. “Febreeze” creates an unusual coexistence between a pretty stupid 2 Chainz verse and the loud and screechy synths that Skrillex has always been so loyal to. “To Ü (feat. AlunaGeorge)” is one of my personal favorites, sounding a lot like Diplo’s “Revolution,” one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in the electronic genre. Both “Jungle Bae (feat. Bunji Garlin)” and “Holla Out (feat. Snails & Taranchyia)” are pure bangers, equally noisy and expressive and fun to grove to.
“Mind” is probably the best song on the album, with Skrillex’s vocals practically wooing the ears of the listener alongside female vocalist Kai and an awesomely funky instrumental. The biggest and best surprise comes on the record’s ninth track, where Justin Bieber is featured in “Where Are Ü Now.” This song flows similarly to “Mind,” though this time it is Bieber on the mic and he’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s cool and mellow, and would seem totally normal if it was released under Bieber’s name instead of Jack Ü’s.
The album rounds out with Missy Elliot’s remix to “Take Ü There,” which was released on Feb. 18 on Soundcloud. The track is obviously something of a novelty – it’s almost funny that Missy Elliot would rap over a Jack Ü song – but it also states a fairly clear message: Skrillex and Diplo, Jack Ü, are the best at what they do and will do whatever they want with that authority. They are the faces of electronic music today and they do not care about what’s mainstream or what sells, they are making good and fun music.
Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü is more dynamic and refreshing than anything I have heard in the electronic genre since Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and there are few other albums that do something similar.
Rating: 4 out of 5