Canned funk for the summer
Chromeo is a case study in what makes “pop” music popular. The mind (and ear) tends to like the familiar, and Chromeo proves this with their formulaic funk music. Head Over Heels brings undeniable dance beats and funky bass lines, all perfectly produced by all-star industry heavyweights. The album doesn’t provide anything particularly interesting or novel, but by relying on tried-and-true sounds, Chromeo is guaranteed to satisfy their demographic.
The album bursts open with “Must’ve Been,” an infectiously catchy song relating the allure of a woman to that of drugs. The next track, “Don’t Sleep,” taps current hitmaker French Montana and proven fresh face Stefflon Don who dominates the track with her verse. “Count Me Out” is the soundtrack to the confusing era of non-exclusive dating. “Bad Decision” is a store-brand Prince song. Oddly enough, one of the better tracks, “Right Back Home To You,” is relegated to an interlude and denied its chance to develop into what could have been an interesting funk bop.
Another standout is “Just Friends,” which features Amber Mark as the perfect foil to lead singer Dave 1. Chromeo and their collaborators have cracked the funk code musically. Unfortunately, the lyrics hold the songs back from ever reaching greatness. The point of view of feels played out; they only really explore the space between “dude that wants to bang a chick” and “dude that feels insecure about the chick he wants to bang,” sometimes venturing over to “dude that wants to bang chick exclusively.”
In an era of pop music that pushes boundaries musically as well as lyrically, Head Over Heels doesn’t warrant much more than a C+. Chromeo’s music proves two things: that funk can be replicated precisely with the right ear for sounds (which Chromeo exemplifies), and that the magic of real funk lies somewhere beyond the sounds themselves (which Chromeo lacks). These songs will be featured on many Summer 2018 playlists but won’t stick around much longer than that.