kelly gonsalves gets a bit dubby …
Way before the “rave wave” hit America in the last half a decade, before the hipsters and pre-teen cool kids started flocking to the Electric Daisy Carnival, in a time when artists like Zedd and Icona Pop would have never seen the light of radio play, 3OH!3 was already trying to push a dubsteppy electro pop sound into the mainstream music scene. Their first little album, self-titled and self-produced, experimented with wacky synths and bass drops back in 2007, and the following year, duo Nathanial Motte and Sean Foreman struck gold with their triple-platinum-selling single “Don’t Trust Me” and fellow radio hit “Starstrukk.” Both songs, however, had radio versions that significantly cut down on their EDM-vibe, discarded for the pop sound that the music industry loved to eat up.
Times have changed since then, however. We are at the peak of what MTV calls an “EDM invasion,” a logical next step for the growth of music in an ever-growing digital and technological age, and more and more producers are finally getting the praise and spotlight they’ve been deserving for years. In their newest album OMENS, 3OH!3 takes advantage of pop culture’s newfound appreciation for electronic dance music.
OMENS opens with a pumpin’ little introductory mix of about a minute and a half that features some intense chanting of “3!” and “oh!” that half gets you pumped for the rest of the album and half acts as a reminder not to take anything too seriously—this is 3OH!3, resident douchey pranksters, after all.
The actual first song of the album is “EYES CLOSED,” an entire song dedicated to the boys trying to act a lot cooler than they really are. However, you have to have a real stick up your ass if you’re not at least half convinced that they’re pulling it off. They have a very Ke$ha feel about them, in that they act like total assholes and that’s what people love about them. With lines like “it’s so easy I can do it with my eyes closed” and a killer beat that show that they’re not playing around with this EDM thing anymore—they’re going right at it, full front, with hard, swanky bass drops—it’s nearly impossible to not break out into embarrassing rave dancing. “HUNGOVER” and bonus track “I’VE BECOME” also feature some pretty sick dubstep, as do almost all the tracks of the album.
There are, of course, some misses interspersed between all the hard-hitters. “YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS,” easily the worst track on the record, features a pretty cheesy dance club beat that sounds like a very poor attempt at earning radio play. Ironically, in an album full of electronic gold, this was the first single the band put out off of this record. Luckily, their latest single “BACK TO LIFE,” dropped this March, makes up where the former fell flat on its face. Overall, this song is highly refreshing, even featuring some pleasant piano chords and just the kind of melody that makes you wanna throw your arm over a friend’s shoulder and wave your cell phone around in the air. Overall, it is probably one of the strongest on the record, despite being one of the mellowest.
3OH!3 succeeds at both catering to the popular themes of today’s young generation of music while still staying true to their own dickhead style. Tracks like “DO OR DIE,” the gratuitous #YOLO song of the album, and “LIVE FOR THE WEEKEND,” a weekenders’ anthem waiting to be discovered, fit perfectly into an age of kids that value of young rebellion and living to the reckless fullest. At the same time, the more pop songs like “TWO GIRLFRIENDS” and “GO F**K YOURSELF” hearken back to the days of “Don’t Trust Me” and “My First Kiss,” featuring dumb, cocky lyrics presented in ridiculous pseudo-rap that epitomize everything that this duo is—obnoxious, vulgar, and insanely charming.
OMENS is some of the boys’ best work since their 2008 album Want. I highly recommend giving it a listen. Taking full advantage of the rave generation while still maintaining the asshole of a voice that is 3OH!3, OMENS delivers a crazy electronic music experience like no other.