As a producer, Madeon’s always been a bit of a dabbler in the entire electronic spectrum. He’s done drum and bass with Ellie Goulding on Stay Awake, pop with Lady Gaga on Mary Jane Holland and Gypsy and an alt-rock-electro hybrid with Two Door Cinema Club on Changing of the Seasons. And that’s without mentioning his own music, which is a mixture of house and pop music the likes of which you don’t really hear too often. Now that he’s finally dropping his debut album Adventure, we finally get a chance to see where his music is heading next.
Adventure is a different kind of album for an electronic producer, though not in a unique way. Rather than going the way of Zedd and attempting to recreate his biggest hits like he did with Clarity, Madeon did something more akin to what Porter Robinson did on Worlds and shifted his style. Rather than being full of dance-pop and house songs like The City and Icarus—you’ll only find these tracks on the deluxe edition of Adventure—the album is almost entirely pop, still using Madeon’s bouncy and colourful style of synths only in a different way, with house elements remaining mostly in Imperium, OK and Zephyr. OK bears the most resemblance to his old material, featuring video game style beeping synths and warped voices repeating the title continuously, without any real vocals to accompany it.
Most of the album takes after the singles You’re On and Pay No Mind. Various male singers from alternative bands are featured, with songs produced to complement their vocals. Foster the People’s Mark Foster on Nonsense and Passion Pit on Pay No Mind are the best of the bunch in execution, with their vocals complimenting Madeon’s production style particularly well.
However, the best moments on the album are those where Madeon supplies his own vocals. Beyond the final pre-release single Home, the first song to ever feature his vocals, he also takes the lead in Beings and Zephyr, and it turns out he can actually sing quite well. The music suits his voice better than his guest vocalists, and it’s particularly effective on Home, with the melancholy music, personal lyrics and vulnerable vocal delivery closing the album in a manner that really makes it feel like you’re at the end of an adventure.
In truth, there’s nothing here that Madeon really does wrong here. It’s pop enough to welcome a larger audience, yet stays true to his sound. Even after tacking his older songs onto the deluxe edition, the album still sounds cohesive, and the production is all top notch. Madeon has struck electronic gold with Adventure.