This is the debut album by French Wunderkind, Madeon. Aptly titled as Adventure, you can be sure of an amazing journey that ends with nothing less than a satisfaction. Before we delve more into the world of Adventure, Madeon (or his real name, Hugo Pierre Leqlerc) is a music producer-songwriter-DJ from Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France. He became popular through a YouTube video known as “Pop Culture”, but obviously, he doesn’t stop there. Madeon has given his magic touch to a number of popular artists such as Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, and Coldplay. His brand of House, Electro, and Synthpop is unlike the others you may have heard nowadays. And that is a good thing, since electronic music scene is saturated with commercialised production nowadays. On one hand, it’s good since electronic music is now receiving a wider coverage and new listeners, but the negative side is that sometimes, it also turns generic, the same beat, the same sound. Trying to be different and staying true to the soul of electronic music, are perhaps now rather important elements now.
Hugo Pierre is belongs to those who dare to be different and craft a rhythm that he can quite call his own, which is not surprising since Madeon is quite a lanky, baby-face guy. If you look at him, you won’t probably believe that he is an amazing artist. But his music proves that his maturity and credibility and creativity far outweigh his small stature. Adventure is a work three years in the making. He perfected his trade, learnt from his surrounding, and through some connection with his emotions (and trust me when I say that), this is an all-rounded pop-influenced dance record.
Beginning with an intro track called Isometric with its arcade-game-like beats, it moves to many kinds of sounds. Two of the catchiest songs in the album will surely make you bop your head while singing the chorus, the retro-influenced You’re On, featuring the British singer, Kyan, and the summery, guitar, up-tempo Pay No Mind that features the group Passion Pit. Those two are radio-friendly synthpop offerings. OK with its retro sounds samples the voice of Charli XCX saying well, ‘OK’ here and there. La Lune is perhaps one of the most interesting, with Dan Smith of Bastille lending his soulful voice in a melancholic delivery of the lyrics that are probably one of the best in the whole album. Nonsense, with Mark Foster, from Foster The People, is another song that could pass as an indie pop song if Madeon doesn’t put his craftsmanship in it. That being said, this catchy song (although not as up-tempo as Pay No Mind or You’re On) is still as addictive. Innocence is one of the much slower songs in the record, a soothing serenade punctuated with Aquilo’s soulful voice.
Two instrumental tracks, Pixel Empire and Imperium showcase Madeon’s credibility in creating great electronic songs, with Pixel Empire being the more subdued one (as if it’s somewhat a continuation of Innocence), although it turns heavily-laden as it finishes, while Imperium features a more upbeat, powerful rhythm, replete with angst and darker sounds. A few songs are sung by Madeon. Beings is one of those songs, and if not for the electronic beats, it could very well be an song by an indie pop band. While the middle part features a sudden breakdown, the rest is pretty cheery. In Zephyr, the fast disco beats provide a backdrop against Madeon’s voice which is warped here. In the emotionally-fraught Home, Madeon sings with an isolated, vulnerable, yet personal voice, while piano, snare and drums pulsate higher and higher making this song anthem-like. Home closes the standard album flawlessly, bringing us a sense of closure.
From the beginning until the end, from the fun side of the album, until the more contemplative section of the music, he does not fail. All songs have that Madeon identity, the sounds that can only be created by this Frenchman. Adventure is perfectly driven by Madeon, and now, I think the next ride may even be more thrilling. This album is an adventure made on music.
Adventure is on sale now in Madeon Official Store at MyPlay Direct for USD12.99 (MYR48.00)