Dada Life, The Rules of Dada (So Much Dada)
When this duo’s follow-up to Just Do the Dada dropped, legions of banana suit-wearing fans were already familiar with singles “Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker,” “Happy Violence,” “Rolling Stones T-Shirt” and “Feed the Dada.” The music and antics of Dada Life are not to be taken seriously—and neither is this album. The Rules of Dada is a collection of upbeat party tracks with staccato vocals and pro-drinking anthems perfectly crafted for bouncing around as bottle rats take off their stilettos and dance barefoot on banquettes in the club under champagne showers. ★★☆☆☆
Zedd, Clarity (Interscope Records)
Zedd’s debut album opens with a soft warm-up on “Hourglass” then flows into wisely placed percussive elements instead of the typical EDM assault. The layers of complexity on “Shave It Up” are reminiscent of early Wolfgang Gartner. Clarity takes a turn into 2012’s typical dance-y, cheese-y vocals cul-de-sac, with Ellie Goulding and Lucky Date on “Fall Into the Sky.” There’s a breakout with “Codec” where Zedd shines, and then he ties it all back together with “Epos,” creating that now-rare full album experience. ★★★☆☆
Max Vangeli & AN21, People of the Night (Size Records)
If you’re bummed about the Swedish House Mafia breakup, check out the debut LP from AN21 (a.k.a. Steve Angello’s brother) and Max Vangeli. The title track, featuring Tiësto and Lover Lover, doesn’t kick off well, mainly due to a maddening 90 seconds of the same vocal snippet. The duo redeems itself with a delicate acoustic guitar breakdown. Ultimately, it’s an album dominated by formulaic big builds and drops, plus lots of synths. The exception is a smooth departure on “Shades,” proving the duo is at least capable of deeper, subtle nuances. ★★☆☆☆
Upcoming albums on Deanna’s radar …
NOV. 13: This date is like musical Christmas! Oh wait, I get it, in case people still buy albums as presents, this is a prime release date for new ones. First up (and don’t laugh), I’m curious to see what Christina Aguilera comes up with for Lotus, ’cause no matter what, that girl still can sing. The Deftones also drop Koi No Yokan and the second album in Green Day’s trilogy, appropriately titled ¡Dos!, is out, as well. But wait, there’s more! Soundgarden is back with King Animal. And for those Dada Life fans rocking out to the song “Rolling Stones T-Shirt” on the album reviewed above, get familiar with the actual band to which the logo belongs when the Rolling Stones release a greatest-hits album (don’t they already have a few of those?) titled GRRR!