Lean On and Turn Down for What mastermind, DJ Snake has only begun to see mainstream notoriety over the past 3 years, yet the French Producer is anything but a newcomer to the music industry. Over a career span of about 8 years at this point, DJ Snake has worked with major pop stars like Madonna and Lil’ Jon, and collaborated with EDM top acts, such as Major Lazer and Dillon Francis. Despite being a lasting presence in the industry, “Encore” is first debut LP and first project in general that isn’t a standalone single, which has certainly shown us a different side of the French producer.
Encore’s strongest point is certainly its electronic music productions. The album’s introductory record, “Intro (A86)”, is 80 seconds of mastery. The chopped and altered vocals, up against the grand piano’s accompanying melody, really allows Snake to introduce his sound in the warmest and softest of ways; perfect for those not exceedingly familiar with his production style. The next immediate track, radio chart-topper, “Middle,” will remain as one of your favorites on the LP, as Snake displays the softer side of his sound that is later revisited (same vocal feature and all) towards the end of the album. Middle is gentle and affectionate, while still boasting a danceable energy in its drop, creating a single that’s perfect for casual listening and festival main stages, alike. It is in these EDM-focused productions that Snake is surely most comfortable. This is further evidenced in his song’s Sahara (featuring Skrillex) Propaganda, and Ocho Cinco. All of these high-octane bangers display Snake’s grasp of what it takes to get tens of thousands of people going nuts at a music festival. Unfortunately, this natural aptitude doesn’t cross over very well into the album’s other non-EDM tracks.
To make things clear, there are some likeable things in a few of the indie dance-esque records on Encore. But these good aspects are quickly overshadowed by large chunks of mediocrity and typicality. Middle takes its time melodically and bounces well, and Future Pt. 2 (also featuring Bipolar Sunshine) is a solid nu-disco record that will make you glad you sat through the past 6 or 7 forgettable tunes. Encore’s Hip Hop songs, 4 Life, The Half, and Oh Me Oh My, are filled with big names like Young Thug and Travi$ Scott, but all these tracks fail to internalize characteristic production or memorability. For example, The Half sounds like a bootlegged DJ Mustard production that’s 10-15 BPM too slow, and features a Jeremih hook that has the talented singer sounding almost unrecognizable. Let Me Love You, featuring everyone’s favorite hated pop star, Justin Bieber, falls extremely flat for its extremely safe nature. Like Bieber’s performances on Jack U’s “Where Are You Now?” and Major Lazer’s “Water”, it is clear that Snake deliberately put Bieber on this very simple, “easy-to-like-hard-to-hate” instrumental simply to add more star power to his album.
This vastly forgettable and poorly-structured LP by no means spells an end to DJ Snake’s quite impressive career. He, like so many other EDM acts, has merely succumbed to the eternal problems of a full length project spearheaded by an engineer of sound. Perhaps if Encore was split into three different EP’s, as opposed to being one lackluster album, the conversation on just how good DJ Snake is would be different for the better. However, we have no doubt that the Parisian phenom will continue to create powerful party music, that may one day spell the multi-genre success that he so clearly is striving towards.
Royal Blue Rating: 2.5/5 stars