Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
By Marshmello, Joytime Collective 2021.
Award winning American DJ/producer Christopher Comstock, known as Marshmello, has a signature sound and image.
The helmet head is the image and the sound is created by a filter that he runs his vocals through, often referred to as the ‘Mello Sound’ – although it’s not mellow in the traditional use of the word but more a synthesised vocal sound that goes with the android image.
Shockwave is his fourth studio album and its title track is a standout.
On release the music video clocked up more than one million YouTube views in the first 24 hours and the clip has been aired on billboards in Times Square in NY, Marriott Downtown LA and Dundas Square in Toronto so some substantial advertising money has been thrown at the album.
Marshmello’s star is obviously on the rise because he has also become the first DJ ever to headline the opening ceremony of the UEFA Football Champions League Final which is one of the biggest gigs in the world.
It’s taken me some time to come to an appreciation of DJing which has got as much to say about generational inertia as it has about the perceived quality of what I’ve been listening to.
In the case of Marshmello I have to say that the single Shockwave is what dragged me in and after delving into the entire album I still think it’s the best track on the disc.
The album opens with Fairytale a brooding electronic beat that develops into an edgy hip-hop dark dirge.
The second song, Supernovacane, shows us that Marshmello has a sense of humour as he ridicules himself with lyrics that include “Marshmello is the most overrated electronic musical artist by the way, ever to exist, of all time. It’s so mediocre. To have it become so popular makes no sense.”
The middle tracks of the album are mostly made up of singles that have already been released: Back in Time, Bad Bitches, Hitta, and House Party.
Each track on the disc explores differing beat patterns and dance grooves which to my ears is the standard stuff of this musical genre and therefore makes the single Shockwave, the final track on the album, stand out even more.
Has this album converted me? Probably not but it did interest me enough to give the entire album a spin.