Skrillex & Diplo present Jack Ü: The Track-by-Track Review
Jack Ü: The Track-by-Track Review
After months of hype these two certainly need no introduction. Diplo and Skrillex have finally released the Jack Ü album, a collaborative project that has consumed the careers of the two tastemakers since they debuted the superduo at Ultra 2014. Months of teasers and hype have loomed over the heads of electronic music fans since the announcement of the project, a wait that has kept the world on the edge of its seats waiting for the debut of Jack Ü’s highly anticipated release.
The wait is officially over.
Did the Jack Ü album live up to the hype? Do Skrillex and Diplo’s sounds blend as well as their talents would lend us to believe, or do the clashing styles between the two drive the star-studded lineup into the ground?
We dive into the year’s most exciting power duo and review their album.
Reviewed by: Eric Zwilling and David Klemow
1. Jack Ü - Don't Do Drugs Just Take Some Jack Ü (Original Mix)
The entire album abides by a bit of a farcical flare, so why not start the long-awaited release with a grainy answering machine recording? Buffing out any serious expectations, Sonny and Wes open their record with a little goofing off. “Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some Jack Ü” is the super duo’s version of the skits that used to be laced into your favorite rap records of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It certainly marks the carefree approach that is the underlying pretense to the Jack Ü project. Is it a cohesive addition to the collection? Not really, but leave it to Skrillex and Diplo to get people to crack smiles when they aren’t getting them to dance.
2. Jack Ü - Beats Knockin (ft. Fly Boi Keno)
Over the course of the last year, Diplo and Skrillex have maintained that their spectacle side project has been a purely organic collaboration experience, casually linking up with other artists on the fly to record spur of the moment tracks. From hotel rooms to house parties, Skrillex and Diplo’s list of collaborators grew with every city Jack Ü touched down in. The record reflects a colorful cast of supporting talents, with twerk/bounce purveyor Fly Boi Keno leading the way on “Beats Knockin.” Since the moment this one was played out, it has been irresistibly catchy. Although originally thought to be another possible single, “Beats Knockin” makes its official debut with the rest of the record. Obviously reminiscent of Diplo and the late Nicky Da B’s instant-classic “Express Yourself,” this 100bpm twerk tune is designed solely for hands on the ground, feet against the wall rump shaking action; a production theme that Diplo is undoubtedly familiar with.
3. Jack Ü - Take Ü There (ft. Keisza)
For many the collaboration alongside Canadian breakout vocalist Kiesza was the first taste of Jack Ü. It is nice to finally see “Take Ü There” surrounded by an album’s worth of new material, earning its spot at the top of the heap. Floating around for nearly a year now, and having suffered somewhat from being diluted by an endless wave of remixes, “Take Ü There” was the track that started it all. The 909 snare firing, vocal chopping hybrid jam grew on everyone with its fair share of airplay in hyping the impending album, and now as it drops along with a slew of new tunes, the familiar lead single now defines Jack Ü’s sound.
4. Jack Ü - Febreze (ft. 2 Chainz)
Sonny and Wes are both known for bringing a party wherever they go. Respectively leading the American dance music scene with their solo acts, you can count on the pair to connect to deliver some blistering party anthems on their debut. Batting cleanup is the album’s obligatory hell-raiser “Febreze.” Alongside the most high-profile collaborator on the album so far, 2 Chainz, “Febreze” is all about that deserved bravado you’re allowed to have when you’re two of the biggest DJs in the world. Enlisting the help of the former Playaz Circle rapper for 2 aggressive verses and a hook that will likely be inescapable moving forward, Jack Ü cross back into hip-hop with another genre-blurring collaboration.
5. Jack Ü - To Ü (ft. Alunageorge)
Early rumors already had AlunaGeorge pinned to collaborate with the Mad Decent and OWSLA head honchos, however “To Ü” was held \tightly under wrap — and for good reason. The track is the album’s crowning achievement, standing out with Aluna Francis’ vocal work meshed with Skrillex and Diplo’s criminal drum progressions. “To Ü” features Sonny and Wes in a more reserved role behind the vocalist, providing complex accentuation to the tune’s lyrical backbone without overwhelming Aluna’s top line.. Among the highlights on the 10 track release, “To Ü” sets itself apart as the album’s best.
6. Jack Ü - Jungle Bae (ft Bunji Garlin)
Embracing the sound of the big room, Jack U’s studio debut continues with “Jungle Bae,” a track designed from the mainstage. Having been previewed multiple times, the Bunji Garlin track has gone through various renditions and makeovers before finally arriving at the final product, ditching the overly abrasive demo sounds for smoother, dance floor friendly four-on-the-floor beats. Skrillex’s influence shines through with the Caribbean flavor of the vocal while Diplo’s style clearly dominates the drop. Removing the track itself from its tongue-in-cheek title, the production certainly does not ring out as the most unique or satisfying skeptical that resulted from the star-studded collaborative project, but “Jungle Bae” certainly fills the slot for the festival-friendly jam – and it fills it well.
7. Jack Ü - Mind (ft. Kai)
If there is anything that gets Skrillex fans going more than new music from the OWSLA big boss, it’s new Skrillex music with vocals from Sonny Moore himself, and “Mind” provides exactly that. After teasing pictures and short video snippets of Moore on the mic in the studio, Diplo and Skrillex provide us with the fresh vocals from the ex-From First To Last front man, the first track to be released with Sonny’s vocals since “Fire Away.” “Mind” unquestionably shines as a major highlight on the album as Sonny’s vocals juxtapose with Kai’s, a wonderful match for Moore’s more alternative vocals. Again, following Sonny’s vocal cuts, Diplo’s influence on the break is evident with slightly goofy and clunky drum work and snappy synth swings.
8. Jack Ü - Holla Out (ft. Snails & Taranchyla)
A project from Skrillex and Diplo would not be complete without shining a light on some of the finest upcoming talent in bass music. With “Holla Out,” the ‘vomit-step’ rising talent Snails is highlighted with his ever-recognizable signature synth style that bubbles over the top throughout the production. With vocal flavor from Taranchyla, the project comes together as complete and fresh even after die-hard fans have heard numerous versions of the evolving production. The OWSLA influence dominates on “Holla Out,” favoring a rugged and rough style over the bounce aspects of many Mad Decent productions. The track itself excels as exciting, but a seemingly random one minute outro certainly throws off the general excitement and flow of the album for a short while, snapping the listener back to reality from Skrillex and Diplo’s other-worldly creation.
9. Jack Ü - Where Are Ü Now (ft. Justin Bieber)
Those that have been following the Jack Ü project closely were aware that Diplo and Skrillex had hit the studio and completed a highly anticipated track with Mr. Justin Bieber. Those that haven’t been following as closely are probably blown away. Regardless of your preconceived notions and thoughts pertaining to how the project would come together, “Where Are U Now” is a sonically brilliant production. The star power of Justin Bieber alone is sure to bring plenty of attention to the Jack Ü project and the American electronic music sound in general, but the masterful instrumental work from the two producers will surely keep listeners tuned in. The track’s unique and exotic flavor manage not to overpower Bieber’s work, and the collaboration sincerely surprises as the album’s strongest track. Number one.
10. Jack Ü ft. Keisza - Take Ü There (Missy Elliott Remix)
If you’ve never heard “Take U There,” you may be living under a rock. You’re actually definitely living under a rock. The Kiesza-featured production has permeated the radio airwaves and club dancefloors since its unveiling months ago, but only recently did the re-ignited Missy Elliott capture the hype from her Super Bowl performance and channel it through a remix of the excessively popular track. Missy Elliott’s bars are solid as to be expected, but the production of the track remains exactly the same around the lyrical assault on the project. While the track technically occupies the slot of being a “bonus” tune on the album, fans certainly expected a bit of differentiated flare from the original project.
Needless to say, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, was one of the most highly anticipated electronic releases in recent memory, and rightfully so. The industry’s two leading taste makers linked up to create a new sound, unbound by genres, with a stellar cast of collaborating talent. The over-the-top hype that comes with anything Skrillex or Diplo do on their own, let alone together, only served to make this release all the more special. A drawn out 24 hour release party, although well-intended, may have been the slightest measure of overkill. Release methods and hype trains aside, Diplo and Skrillex did well to surpass their own cult of personality to deliver an undeniably fun and hit-laden debut album that — like everything the pair do — doesn’t take itself too seriously.