Justice’s Audio, Video, Disco album is a departure from their previous work. The tracks are less dancey, longer, and more repetitive. Despite this, there are a few really catchy hooks that you’ll find yourself humming as you shop for produce in the grocery store. That’s when you’ll realize the album is better than you thought.
Audio, Video, Disco is tough to digest. Before the listening party, as I do with all albums before I pass judgement, I listened to it several times in various states of mind. I put it on as I caught the bus to work, in the background as I did other things around my place, and a couple focused play throughs.
My first reaction was that the album was total crap. I mean like MGMT’s second album or Daft Punk’s Human After All. Like the aforementioned bands, was Justice in a dispute with their label and pumping out crappy albums to get out of their contract? I didn’t find anything on the net to suggest that. It wasn’t the Justice I was expecting, so I attempted to overcome my preconceived notions of what “Justice” should sound like and take in the album on its own merits.
Around the fourth listen, the album started to grow on me. No, it wasn’t like their first album Cross, on which just about every song starts the adrenaline pumping through your system and makes you want to move out on the dance floor. Cross hit harder and had a gritty undertone. Audio, Video, Disco is slower and more synth heavy. While the tracks aren’t as likely to be played at dance parties, they really get stuck in your head. It’s like Justice figured out how to subliminally implant their music in your brain. As I mentioned before, I keep finding myself repeating snippets of songs from this album in my head as I’m doing other things.
I’ve seen mentions and can’t find the source, but apparently Justice called Audio, Video, Disco a “daylight album” and Cross was for night. After listening to them both, it makes a lot of sense. Audio, Video, Disco is tamer and does things in a very intentional way, while Cross was the best kind of out-of-hand party that can only happen under the cover of darkness.
Audio, Video, Disco is not meant to be listened in pieces. None of the songs, even the single “Civilization,” hold up under much scrutiny. They are repetitive, slow, and somewhat boring. The songs tend to start off slow, then build into a crescendo that culminates in something close to what you expected. Unfortunately, they never really find that indescribable thing that would make them good. That being said, if you listen to the album, start and the beginning and play it through to the end. When played end to end they provide a complete package and delivers Justice’s aural story they way they intended it to be heard. And by not skipping to the next track after previewing a track, you will be rewarded with catchy little hooks and more complex layers than available at first listen. I can’t stress this enough – just listen to the whole thing from start to finish.
Verdict: Cross was a classic and expectations after that album were too high. Give Audio, Video, Disco a listen. The album is definitely a shift away from their previous sound. After you’ve listened to the album, go back to Cross and remember just what Justice is capable of. I definitely think fans of Cross will be disappointed.
My favorite song: “On ‘n On”
Party Goer Opinions:
Lauren: It reminds me of the 80s. It’s not really my thing.
Videos from Audio, Video, Disco:
“Audio, Video, Disco”
Bonus – my favorite Justice video: