Djo - “Twenty Twenty” Album Review

Story posted September 19, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jack Grossman

2019 has proven to be a big year for musician and actor Joe Keery. On top of appearing in this year’s release of "Stranger Things,” Keery has also dropped perhaps one of the most intriguing and impressive albums of the year. Undergoing the new alias “Djo,” Keery's solo project is reminiscent of his prior work within his former band, Post Animal. However, it is not necessarily a rehashing of old sounds but rather an expansion of what talents he brings to the music world.

"Twenty Twenty" is the debut album of the alternative-heavy artist. Even though “Twenty Twenty” runs 45 minutes, it doesn’t feel that long at all. Keery's voice is pumped through several filters, giving it a very dreamy and siren-like sound. His haunting melodic tones are what drive this album forward, backed with lyrics that provoke Keery's thoughts on the world, how things are shaped up to be, and what we can do to survive. The track "Just Along for the Ride" is a great example, exuding melancholic lyrics that are both reflective and emotionally evocative.

In addition to his voice, Keery masterfully blends his instruments together to create a euphoric, dream-like sound that is eerily familiar of his older works. It acts as a companion piece to his vocals while also giving depth to the tracks as a whole. The instrumentals are best showcased in the tracks "Total Control" and the album’s finale, "Mutual Future (Repeat)." The synths, combined with the jangly sounds of guitar and slow drums, provide a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for background music.

Some highlights of the album include the tracks released as singles: "Roddy," "Chateau (Feel Alright)" and "Mortal Projections.” The first is a showcase of Keery's more experimental side, as it follows a nontraditional structure and even includes a beat switch in the middle of it, which wrap together nicely. "Chateau" is a more relaxed, ballad-like piece, evoking a sense of companionship and being at peace. The last track, "Mortal Projections," is a proper showcase of Keery's talents at their best. All the stops are pulled on this track, as Keery demonstrates his unique skills in mixing and crafting what appears to be both familiar and unfamiliar.

While some can compare him to artists like Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala, there are other inspirations that are present within this work, such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd. The record itself can double as an homage to these experimental and traditional types of music, brilliantly displaying how far experimental and alternative music has come while maintaining its roots.

Joe Keery is a man of many talents, and music is one of them that needs to be discussed more. His debut record is not only fun but also surprisingly dense, carefully put together, and presented in a very neat and clean format, complete with a quiet presence on social media. Hopefully there are more musical ventures from Keery in the future that provide us with the surprise and charm that this record has brought.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer's Favorite Song: “Just Along for the Ride,” “Total Control,” “Mutual Future (Repeat)”

Reviewer's Least Favorite Song: “Ring”

 

Jack Grossman is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jackdgrossman@gmail.com.