Ten years after the release of the second part of his Super Discount series of albums, Etienne de Crécy has brought the project back into his sights with the release of Super Discount 3. Rather than continue his foray into techno from part 2, Super Discount 3 sees Etienne taking his music back to its funkier house roots.
In a world where EDM is dominating the charts and every song is almost guaranteed to have a looping drop section after the chorus, it’s refreshing to see him taking a step back in genres. The songs, both instrumental and vocal, are made up of repetitive compositions that bring to mind the music of pre-Random Access Memories Daft Punk, possibly the most recognisable house producers in the industry. The album remains consistent in this style throughout, which is both a blessing and a curse within the genre of choice.
To Etienne’s credit, the album is full of strong instrumentals with memorable hooks and little tricks to differentiate tracks. The constant clanging of a flat cowbell in WTF helps separate it from the rest of the album even before the introduction of Pos & Dave, two thirds of the hip hop trio De La Soul, whose rapping is another anomaly in the album that works to the song’s advantage.
Smile shows us that Etienne knows how to carry a song on melody alone, with the main riff working single-handedly to draw you into the song and carry you through the four minute run time. Love and Night (Cut The Crap) also showcase this strength, though not quite as well.
If anything, the album is so consistent that it manages to work against itself. WTF sets itself apart as the most interesting production on the album, while everything else blends together thanks to the similar sounds used in the production of the music. While this may not be an issue for dedicated house music enthusiasts, it may make the album more of a chore for general listeners.
The album also features an especially cringe inducing moment caused by the use of internet lingo, namely in Hashtag My Ass, whose lyrics seem to be related entirely around the concept of selfies, making references to filters (or the lack thereof) and hashtags as referenced in the title, among others. The Instagram-powered video for the song, which pulls photos from your account to add to the video, also screams of a gimmick. While it is an interesting idea, it just wasn’t executed all that well here.
All of that aside, Super Discount 3 is still a solid album. The melodies are strong and some curveballs are thrown throughout, some great and some less so. While the sound of the album does start to drag in the second half of the album, the strength of individual songs saves it. Dedicated house fans will definitely appreciate the album more, though the generally curious listener should get a kick out of it too.