It bears repeating: Today's music is digital vapor.
No wonder humanity didn't seem to notice when Chromeo dropped their fourth album three months ago. That's right, White Women came out in May. It even features guest appearances by Solange Knowles (Beyoncé's kid sister), Toro y Moi, and Ezra Koenig.
Thanks to the total decline of physical releases and its attendant retail outlet marketing machine, Chromeo's newest landed modestly in North American charts. But who cares?
White Women was anticipated by the people who mattered—the fans. Including yours truly. And they lapped it up via iTunes, et. al.
Chromeo are indie and an equal number of connoisseurs and hipsters have nothing but praise for them.
“Them” being David Macklovitch (Dave1) and Patrick Gemayel (P-Thugg), a Jew and an Arab, best friends fo' life and self-described walking encyclopedias of old school hip hop. As purveyors of electro-funk, Chromeo possess a genuine knack for mixing cheese with tenderness and a good helping of unintentionally hilarious lyrics.
As in “That one's ass is leaner/ this one looks like Serena [Williams]” as a lyric on this album's Over Your Shoulder.
It's obvious Chromeo love their women. With rappers permanently fixated on ho's and bitches, Chromeo eschew the plastic surgery bimbos for the girl-next-door-types who populate their videos.
Since 2004 when their first album came out and caught some attention, Chromeo have always been balladeers decked in 1980s retrovision and schmaltz. Let's not forget the humor.
For example, on the music video of When The Night Falls both Dave 1 and P-Thugg impregnate susceptible females with blasts from their respective guitar and keyboard.
White Women continues where their previous album, Business Casual, left off four years ago. Rather than slinking away to the fuzzy embrace of pop music, Chromeo swirl in synth and grooves.
So why is it called White Women? Uhm, it's supposed to be a package. The title is a nod to bygone German fashion photographer Helmut Newton, whose body of work often involved partially undressed models with long smooth legs. It also explains the stylish vibe on Chromeo's latest batch of tunes, from the catwalk ready Sexy Socialite to the throbbing Play the Fool and the upbeat Frequent Flyer.
As for the bride on the cover, Chromeo wanted a theme for their latest opus. Or as Dave 1 put it, “You need your iconography, you need that Wu- Tang symbol.”
Doubters beware, White Women kills from start to finish. Most critical appraisals swing between adulation and high praise, with little fence sitting.
The album commences with the catchy Jealous (I Ain't With It), a very awkward confessional about the terrible feeling. “There's no other ode to the castrated male on the radio today,” is how Dave 1, a literature PhD, describes it. Its music video depicts him running off with somebody else's bride on a wedding day.
Past the mighty choruses and juicy hooks, the rest of the album is heartfelt syrup. Why?
Again, Dave 1: “In the context of pop music now, so much of it is so heteronormative, so aggressively macho,” he explains. “We felt like our kind of anti-heroic schmucky take on the love song could stand for something.”
And boy, do the love songs here stick. As songwriters and composers, Chromeo are bulletproof.
No wonder scorchers like Somethingood, Come Alive, and the album closer Fall Back 2 U. This album takes no prisoners with track after track of fat beats and attitude.
You really didn't have to bother reading this whole review. Just get your dose of the latest Chromeo.