While Daft Punk satisfies itself with making morose, barely living soundtracks for mediocre sequels, a crop of groups sprouting up has been trying but never quite taking Daft Punk’s crown (or helmet, really) of electronic-pop. The latest attempt is I Love You, Dude, the sophomore album from German dance punk group Digitalism.
Whereas their previous album, Idealism, leaned more on the punk than dance, I Love You, Dude has its sights set straight on the crossover appeal of Daft Punk’s “Digital Love.” In “2 Hearts,” the duo uses ethereal synths on a melody reminiscent of Crystal Castles “Not In Love.” As for the lyrics, they are pure hipster love (“These two hearts won’t make it last/It’s like you are hopelessly in love/But I will watch you”). It’s an infectious, lightweight track.
Co-written by Julian Casablancas, “Forrest Gump” does not reach the same success. Casablancas brings his signature apathetic attitude to the lyrics with a chorus that goes “And so you run/and then you run.” Deep, man. The shredding guitars bathed in synths do the songs no favor either, making “Forrest Gump” sound like a poorly executed remix of a Strokes song.
The parts of the album that don’t strive to be pop hits fare much better in consistency. But that’s more because the tracks retread into familiar ground. “Antibiotoics” slinks by with an unrelenting beat and features those bits of low voices saying nonsensical yet ominous things. It’s ready-made for any late night rave, but verges on sounding cliché. That’s the biggest problem for the I Love You, Dude: none of it differentiates Digitalism from Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers or even Justice for that matter.
Like a good and adequate pop singer or group, Digitalism can make servicable songs that catch your ear for a little bit. However, by focusing on their predecessors and striving for relative pop success, they end up sounding as dated as an analog recording.