Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Déjà Vu’: Album Review

Kathy Iandoli | June 16, 2015 5:30 am
Lady Gaga Sings "Imagine": Watch
The 'ARTPOP' diva' opened the first-ever European Games on June 12.
At 75 years old, Giorgio Moroder is arguably at a crossroads in his career. Undoubtedly one of the forefathers of electronic music, Moroder’s damn near five-decade long tenure in music has included shapeshifting synth culture and melding it into whatever he’d like at that particular time period.

From disco all the way to the almost defunct EDM, there is no plugged-in genre that Moroder hasn’t touched. As his 17th project Déjà Vu (out today, ) is intended to be some sort of #ThrowbackThursday for Moroder and friends, it’s actually a sign of what’s to come from the continuously evolving electronic music and the producer himself.

It’s hard to speak about Déjà Vu without making some grandiose statement about the current state of electronic music. Five years ago, the industry endured a revamp in dance music as it once again became hyper-popularized. Everything (yes, everything) that didn’t come from an acoustic guitar or a piano ultimately got lumped into EDM and metastasized to pop music, blurring the lineage of subgenres like electronica, drum & bass, and even dubstep.

The industry has finally come back around to question the utility of that union, now deconstructing and attempting to compartmentalize once again. That’s a whole lot of douchey tech talk to basically say we’re going back to the old days. Meanwhile, Moroder got his second wind popping up on Daft Punk’s 2013 offering Random Access MemoriesSince then, he has been DJing, giving classic tracks facelifts and dropped the LP’s first single “Right Here, Right Now” with Kylie MinogueDéjà Vu channels sounds from days past, which is ironically now the days of the future. Are you keeping up? Good.

The project is bookended by two quintessential Moroder deep cuts with a third in the middle. The opener — “4 U with Love” — is an anthemic keyboard-heavy song that could serve as the standard for any festival track, where the crowd just rocks out for three and a half minutes while the DJ catches his breath. The closer “La Disco” is a darker, more soulful cut that could make both members of Chromeo foam at the mouth. At the center sits “74 Is The New 24,” a sassy track where the song title is robotically uttered and apropos given Moroder’s age — yet his spunk is undeniable. The rest of the album is a who’s who of music at this very moment.

Sia appears on the title track, which errs on the side of disco but at times channels one of those Deborah Cox dance remixes from the late ’90s/early ’00s. Charli XCX keeps up with the energy of “Diamonds,” while Mikky Ekko takes it down some for “Don’t Let Go.” Kelis goes full on Disco Queen for “Back and Forth,” which is one of the bigger standout cuts on the project next to Britney Spears’ kickass rendition of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” and the standard pop track — “I Do This For You” with Marlene.

There is probably a selection of Giorgio Moroder purists who will find Déjà Vu borderline offensive. It isn’t reinventing the wheel and for all intents and purposes is keeping up with the Kardashians rather than providing an entirely new angle to electronic music. But that’s not where we’re at as a culture right now. We needed an album to serve as the counterclockwise turning point for EDM, and this is it. You may have heard it all before, but that’s the point in this return to familiarity. Déjà vu indeed.

Idolator Score: 4/5

— Kathy Iandoli