Back in 2007, the French electro duo Justice burst into the music scene with their debut album, Cross. They rose to extreme popularity all over the internet and have been nominated for four Grammy awards with one win. If you weren’t partying or dancing to “D.A.N.C.E.” or “Phantom pt. II” on full volume back in ‘07, then you weren’t living. The sound of Justice was fresh and exciting. It sounded as if rock ’n’ roll snorted cocaine and stumbled into a time machine. On Monday, Justice released Audio, Video, Disco, their highly-anticipated sophomore studio album.
Overall, the album is highly underwhelming. It’s clear that the artists, Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé, decided to go a different route on this record. While Cross is the kind of album you listen to on a Saturday night in the city, Audio, Video, Disco is more of a Sunday afternoon spent outdoors type of record; although not a very good one. I have respect for the group’s decision to try to evolve their sound and style, but frankly this album seems lazy. Apart from incorporating live instruments, whereas Cross was produced entirely electronically, many of the songs are repetitive, uninteresting and forgettable.
The album begins with “Horsepower,” an intro song with cool synthetic noises and bass which makes you think that it’s leading up to a much better song, but it doesn’t. Instead, it leads to the first single, “Civilization.” You might remember this song from a recent Adidas commercial. All I can say about this song is that when I first heard it four months prior to the album’s release, I was hoping it would be the worst song on the album. It’s not. Interestingly enough, the very next track, “Ohio,” is the worst. Not only is the rhythm not catchy, but the lyrics, which repeat over and over again, are unbearably moronic: “Ohio, Tennessee, California, Endlessly, Right on.” No, not right on. Other songs like “Canon,” “Parade” and “Helix” are also weak and unmemorable.
There are only three songs on the album that I enjoyed. In my opinion, “On ‘n’ On” is the best song; it has an electronic indie feel to it that is almost reminiscent of an early ’80s band like Pink Floyd, with cool vocals and an overall good feel to it. It is possibly the only memorable song; although it probably won’t be. “Newlands” sounds like ACDC did a cover of “Teenage Wasteland,” and even though it sounds nothing like Justice whatsoever, it is a decent tune. Lastly, the title track, “Audio, Video, Disco” has a laidback and original feel to it. It demonstrates Justice’s talent with its deep layering of guitar, synths and calming piano.
I understand that when a debut album is extremely successful it can be hard to live up to your own hype, as well as the expectations of your fans — here’s lookin’ at you, MGMT — but Justice had four years to produce Audio, Video, Disco. The album is very disappointing. I know none of you out there would ever dream of doing something as immoral as download music for free, but this album is probably not worth buying. I mean, if you really want to get ripped off you might as well go see that new Adam Sandler movie.