Songwriting

Dijon: Absolutely album review | Fork

The Los Angeles singer Dijon loves to roam. Since his alternative R&B group Abhi // Dijon amicably split up in the mid-2010s, he has become a wanderer, his music accumulating and rejecting styles as a sub-letter acclimating to new quarters. . Over the past two years he’s released a steamy cover of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing”, recorded a Prince pastiche in which he shouts “Automatic”, and brought together Raveena, John C. Reilly and Dan Reeder for what can only be described as a popular number. This last song was intentionally eclectic, decided the guest list – in a strange echo of the criticism of Claire Lobenfeld, collaborator of Pitchfork, on the EP 2020 of Dijon – by throwing names in a hat. Dijon never presented these undertakings as ironic, kitsch or daring, but they could look like hijacks, gimmicks obscuring the anonymity of his writing. Absoutely, his first album, moves more deliberately, his voluntary zigzag.

Dijon’s supple and hoarse voice guides the record, moving from cooing to moaning to whispering as it sings about love and its complications over folk and soul arrangements. It tends to avoid shine and polish, instead of humming without noticeable enhancements or treatments. As a result, even his finest notes sound physical and textured, like he’s fighting a cold. This strain defines “Many Times”, the powerful single about a breaking point in a relationship. “Strawberry, Raspberry / Candlelight, Satellite / TV, X-ray / Aw vision, what will you need to listen?” He sings in frustration. His flow quickens as he tears up items from the bizarre list, syllables and rhymes follow one another, becoming more and more stupid.

For “The Dress”, a slow jam on a couple revisiting their glory days, Dijon turns pleading, prolonging its melodies. “We should go out / And dance like before / We should go out / And hold hands,” he sings. The character knows the spark is dead but prefers to dream, a common choice in these stories of grief. “Annie” is even rosier, the narrator from Dijon tells her sullenly that she can “change [her]disturbs. ”There is little outright storytelling on the album, but Dijon’s passionate performances make it feel like the votes are loaded. Grievances lurk in every omission.

The production follows the contortions of Dijon, wavering and flaring in tandem with its theatricality. He recorded Absoutely with a revolving door of collaborators whom he encouraged to present themselves as they please, an atmosphere captured in the compositions. Sometimes Dijon is alone. On the self-produced “Did You See It?”, He floats in a drumbeat void as he wonders aloud if the drugs have worked. Other times the room is packed. “Big Mike’s” is full of instruments – slide guitar, organ, percussion, clarinet, piano – which accentuate the ardent voice of Dijon. The singer on the closest album, “Credits!” is just a guy. “He’s a great friend of mine, but also a real country boy, I can’t come close to that,” Dijon said. NME. Compared to the calculated syncretism of his past music, the direction here is whimsical and open.

Dijon can feel closed despite the hustle and bustle and personality of these songs. His love for the Americana deepened without any explanation as to why he is so obsessed. While the unrequited love between a mechanical bull champion and his admirer on “Rodeo Clown” and the Friday football games and “honky tonk bars” mentioned on “Noah’s Highlight Reel” are well rendered, they do look like pictures. of stock, revealing nothing about Dijon’s experiences or the perspectives of its characters. Though he eschews the empty provocation of RMR or Machine Gun Kelly, his heart Easter eggs are scanned as keepsakes rather than symbols.

Absoutely works best when Dijon’s writing is as vivid as his performances, like on “Talk Down”. On a breakbeat, Dijon tells the story of two people who bicker during a car trip. His voice breaks as he details foggy windows, tired eyes and flushing cheeks. They listen to Gillian Welch, the band and Liz Phair as they exchange sarcastic remarks and backwards compliments. There are no gimmicks here, just people and the thrilling spaces between them.


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