Chromeo have long straddled their funk between the mainstream white boys and diverse dance floor, come-on lyrics and catchy beats done with a sweet smile. 2014’s White Women (QRO review) pulled it off as they went unabashedly disco, in the most Chromeo way. Head Over Heels continues this, maybe too much in a straight line, including even more blatant lyrics & guest spots.
The beats and tones of White Women are on point here as well, catchy and skilled enough to get virtually anyone dancing. There are more guest appearances, from DRAM to The-Dream, sometimes feeling like they are there to provide variety & relevance. But the duo of Dave 1 and P-Thugg more than know their way around modern musical tools, from guitar to talk box.
Then there are Dave 1’s lyrics. It’s not surprising that they’re about fine women and not-so-fine relationships, but in this era of #MeToo, one can’t help but feel that they push the line. Not in overt manners, but Dave 1 does seem to still view relationships in terms of power dynamics, often with him singing from the lesser position – she’s the one with the “Juice”, she’s the one causing him to make “Bad Decision”, she’s the one who’s “Slumming It” – that are fun and not totally ham-fisted, but not exactly current with the times. The duo have exchanged the photo of women’s legs that were their cover trademarks for photo of their own – definitely getting more with now, if not totally caught up.
At first spin, Head Over Heels is an exceedingly fun album, and if more spins make it a bit more wearing, so be it. And of course there’s a song about staying in all weekend for “Room Service” (and more), because that’s the kind of band Chromeo is.