Album Review: Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

What do AlunaGeorge, Missy Elliot, 2 Chainz, and Justin Bieber have in common? They’re all featured on the debut LP from Jack Ü , Skrillex and Diplo’s producer supergroup. As two of the most lauded men in electronic dance music, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the musicians paired up. Their sharp business sense and keen ear for developing artists have made both Skrillex and Diplo major critical and commercial successes in their own right, each standing tall with a multi-million dollar net worth. However, the two previous Grammy nominees both seem to have surprisingly found an aperture in the churning continuum of EDM, and defined a new sound to fill it. As a duo, Jack Ü’s collaborative efforts show that both Skrillex and Diplo show no signs of slowing down in regards to all aspects of their career. The LP seems to take the best of both Skrillex and Diplo’s skill sets, fusing them into an approachable electronic record that still pleases the most die-hard of their fans. Diplo, who’s worked with artists such as Usher, M.I.A., and Madonna, has developed his own formula for a radio-friendly electronic dance music song, and it’s evident he brought this knowledge to tracks such as lead single “Take Ü There, “ along with “To Ü,” featuring AlunaGeorge. One of the standouts of the LP, Aluna Francis coos over vibrant synths, while richly brassy horns add depth to a sticky kick. “To Ü” finds itself with just the right amount of grit to appeal to a bass-loving festival crowd, yet still please the Top 40 fanbase.

Skrillex’s penchant for aggressive kicks, intoxicatingly complex synths, and industrial bass is sprinkled throughout the LP; the 27-year-old’s signature being heard most notably in tempo-flipping “Holla Out,” with Snails and Taranchyla assisting, as well as 2 Chainz’ boastful “Febreze.” Though Skrillex and Diplo bring two largely different styles to the table, they find a way to bring their ideas together while maintaining their identities. Diplo’s riddim-inspired and bass-injected tropical beats link with Skrillex’s aforementioned sound, interweaving throughout each track with an unparalleled ease in comparison to their peers. “Jungle Bae,” an aptly titled jungle-terror-esque stomper, falls midway through, breathing new life into the 128 BPM arena with this amalgamation of balanced production. Yet another example of this adept production style is heard in Skrillex’s duet with Kai on “Mind,” a call-and-response midtempo groove spiked by staccato percussion.

However, the crown jewel of the album lies in the buzzed-about Justin Bieber ballad, “Where Are Ü Now.” In this track, it’s clear that Skrillex and Diplo are prepared to rule airwaves for the next six months – Justin’s syrupy voice drifts and melts over compelling percussion in this graceful production. With “Where Are Ü Now,” Skrillex and Diplo may have just created EDM’s most successful ballad, displaying a phenomenal amount of crossover potential among multiple charts. Anthemic in all the right ways, the tune appears as if it will be everyone’s soundtrack to the summer of 2015.

Exhibiting a strong sense of style and a vastly comprised knowledge of music, Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü debut offers something for every fan, from the casual to the ultraist. Tying the LP together is a slew of intuitive melodies that topple over crunchy bass, giving Jack Ü a definitive sound off the bat – something that will serve the duo well in their albums to come.

Author: Staley Sharples

Editor in Chief of Saint Audio | Contributor at Audiences Everywhere