Cross by Justice, is one of those albums. You know this album, even if you don’t, you do. It’s inescapable. One of the quintessential albums in electronic music, this album came out in 2007 and ever since, a song from this album has been spun every single day. I first heard this album back when D.A.N.C.E came out just lurking around on youtube. The video, which features Justice walking around what appears to be the backstage of a venue wearing t-shirts that change graphics corresponding to the lyrics, blew my young mind. So Me, the artist behind the animations, has such a distinct style that you’ll go back and watch other videos like Good Life by Ye or Day ‘N Nite by Cudi and everything will start to click. From that one viewing, I was hooked. Fast forward to 2012 when NBA 2K13 came out and JAY-Z does the soundtrack and Stress is on there. That only cemented my fandom, and it’s only grown since then.
Right from the jump this album grabs you by the collar, those booming horns at the start of Genesis let you know you’re in for a wild ride. Then, the song starts and you’re hit with these piercing synths matched with funky guitars, larger than life drums and a haunting piano. What a way to open your first album! “Yo, we are not here to fuck around.” This continues right into Let There Be Light, too. What I love about Justice is that their use of distorted guitar chords has become one of their trademarks. This is evident on this tracks, the main melody is built off one that drills into your head, but in the best way possible. At the end, it’s almost like night and day how the beat changes. It’s like the title described what was going to happen in the song. The first part sounds scary and more upbeat, it sounds really menacing. My favorite part is when the beat cuts out four times completely. It made me look at my phone thinking it had cut off, then after the four cuts the beat comes back and punches you in the chest. Right when it seems like all hell is about to break loose, the “light” comes in. The tempo slows down and now there’s nothing but major chords. It’s beautiful honestly.
What more can be said about D.A.N.C.E. that hasn’t already been said? It’s one of the best electronic songs ever (to me) and this holds up year after year. If you haven’t heard this song, I’ll assume you’ve been dead for the past 15 years because it’s just that good. I think this is where my love of strings comes from because when the piano has a breakdown and they get real quiet then at 2:26 they come back and raise octaves (?) 3 times?? I melt. Apparently, Justice samples around 400 albums for this album, and nowhere else is that more apparent than Newjack. Wow, this song sounds like you had a CD that skipped on every song that was on it, then you tried to listen to the radio, but you’re in a town with no radio towers. This track is a distortion fest and I mean that in the best way possible. The groove is mesmerizing. I love how they took certain elements out when they weren’t supposed to, then brought some in at different times and it still worked. This whole song is built off the noise an amp makes right before you plug your guitar in all the way it’s so wild to me.
My absolute favorite stretch of songs on here has to be TTHHEE PPAARRTTYY to Stress. TTHHEE PPAARRTTYY is just the perfect song, Uffie sounds so cool and the slow build up to when the beat drops is so worth it. The energy of the song matches the lyrics so well it’s almost impossible to not feel like you’re that guy while it plays. In a song about being the it girl and partying all night you want elements that make you feel groovy and this song delivers that and then some. DVNO, though? Oh my goodness, this song is so amazing. What a perfect union between funk and electronic sounds? This song is full of little moments that make you melt or make your brain turn to goop. Here’s some of my favorites: When the strings come in right before the first hook, the two claps during the breakdown before the second verse, How “am” repeats itself and becomes part of the beat right before every elements comes in towards the end, during the breakdown before the end when the beat repeats itself then the two claps come in again???? Wow. Stress is probably the most accurately titled song that has ever been made. This song sounds like one of two scenarios, 1. you’re on every drug imaginable in that vampire club from Blade and the blood just started raining down or 2. You just robbed the federal reserve and now you’re on the run from every single law enforcement bureau in the country. I hated this song when I first heard it, but now? Wow, this song is great. Whole song built off of a siren? Come on now.
This is one of the classics, you have to listen just based off that. You’ve seen this cover somewhere so why not know why? Plus, it’s really good, it’ll open your ears to new sounds and chord progressions that’ll blow your mind.
Listen to Cross
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