The Artful Tiger
Electronic music has always changed with the times, and it seems to embody the current trends of its specific period. Even at a time when electro/synth/dance pop is always harkening back to the past three decades, there’s a sort of quality that makes every new release unique to now. JD Samson & MEN is the type of group that can only really exist today. With JD Samson of Le Tigre at the core, there’s bound to be some good stuff in this latest release, Labor.
First, “Power Strobe” kicks off the album with Samson throwing down some phat bass. The lyrics are very much akin to the hyper-sensual imagery present in dance-punk music from the late ’90s and early 2000s. Next, “All the Way Thru” is a sexy, potential club banger. This is electropop that could very well exist before the Electronic Dance Music craze. There is no heavy sidechaining, no never-ending buildups or brutal drops. It gets you moving… but not floored. Finally, tracks like “She” and “Neon Poles” are MEN’s attempts at ’90s house. Imagine a dark Russian club filled with the sweatiest and highest people you’ve ever met in your life wearing mesh half-shirts and you are, by now, in pure bliss.
In reality, JD Samson & MEN’s Labor is something you want to put on while driving to work, relaxing at home or at your next dinner party. It’s also something you can just jam to with a good pair of headphones. So much of today’s electronic music emphasizes the recklessness of youth with big, bombastic synths and effects; MEN is forced into the realm of sophisticated art pop, which isn’t a bad thing. At least Samson has something to say amidst all the bleeps and bloops.