Mainstream electronica is a genre most of us never thought would occur, but Joel Zimmerman, better known to the world as deadmau5, has created a sound that is both true to the genre and catchy enough to succeed on the charts. His sixth and newest album, “Album Title Goes Here,” helps further this sound — there are songs that are primed and ready to be played on the radio constantly, while other tracks appeal to a more dedicated electronica fan base. The problem is he’s done it with such precision that it comes off as a tribute album to deadmau5 rather than the next step in his career.
The album features moments of pure brilliance, such as “The Veldt” and “There Might Be Coffee.” Zimmerman knows his fans, and these songs play right into their hands. “The Veldt” has the right combination of upbeat tempo and calming vocals, which is ideal for everything from clubbing to studying. “There Might Be Coffee” emphasizes a slow build-up that bursts into a catchy, fun beat. It has a lot of room to be remixed and intertwined with other songs from Zimmerman’s past work. Zimmerman will be playing this one at his shows.
As good as a few of the songs are, most of the album fails to deliver to hardcore fans of deadmau5. The album starts off with “Superliminal,” which is very reminiscent of Zimmerman’s past work with his signature repetitiveness that grows into a mash of various sounds. The song is perfectly fine, but it’s an example of the major problem of the album: none of the material feels innovative or fresh. After listening to the album in full, it begins to feel like rehashed versions of songs Zimmerman has done before. “Professional Griefers,” a combination of deadmau5 and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame, might as well be the upgraded version of “Ghosts and Stuff” from Zimmerman’s fourth studio album, “For Lack of a Better Name.”
This isn’t a poorly made album. Zimmerman’s techniques and sound have never been better, and there are moments when the music is even a little mind-blowing. Those who love his sound will continue to appreciate his workmanship and his ability to deliver a range of emotions through his work. However, the majority of the album lacks creativity, and for someone who’s been on the EDM scene for more than a decade, his techniques and sounds are at their finest. He has definitely fine-tuned his style.
Those who have never heard of deadmau5 should take a listen to this album. Zimmerman is at the top of his game when it comes to making a solid, albeit predictable, album. However, those who have loved Zimmerman’s past work may want to listen to a friend’s copy first. It offers nothing new for the old fans, and it only gives reminders of past brilliance from other albums.