Dillon Francis has been everywhere lately. DJ Hanzel’s alter ego has recently released remixes of his own songs (Masta Blasta 2.0 and Get Low Rebirth in Paris), remixes of other artist’s songs (W&W’s Bigfoot and deadmau5’s Some Chords), his return to Freaknight and even been drilled in the head with an RC Cola can (people still drink that?). If there’s anything Dillon Francis knows how to do well, it’s shake things up to generate a buzz. To cap off an almost spastic last month, Dillon Francis has teamed up with MTV to premiere the producer’s highly anticipated debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule.
Many of us remember Dillon Francis’s rise to prominence on the dance music scene. In 2010, he released his first song Beautician that featured nice arpeggiated chiptunes and a screeching bass. It was a dubstep track and a great way for Dillon to show his talents during the height of the genre’s popularity. As he started to build his reputation as a producer, Dillon Francis really started to figure out his identity through a series of moombahton releases. Throughout 2011 and 2012, Dillon vanquished the entire genre. Tracks like I.D.G.A.F.O.S., Masta Blasta and a collaboration with Diplo in Que Que put the moombahton scene in a stranglehold and undoubtedly became the industry standard.
The past two years have been a bit of a departure from the style that made Dillon Francis so popular. He has tried out trap with Masta Blasta (The Rebirth) and Bootleg Fireworks (The Rebirth). He experimented with big room house on his remix of Oliver’s Night Is On My Mind. Dillon recently ventured into more chill and ambient on tracks like Without You feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Flight 4555 (I.D.G.A.F.O.S. 3.0). We also can’t forget the producer’s latest love affair for electro house, showcased by Messages and the remix of Steve Angello’s Knas. If anything is for certain, it’s that Dillon Francis is not afraid to push the boundaries of dance music by trying new things.
Money Sucks, Friends Rule is an extraordinary example of who Dillon Francis is as a person. It’s extremely random, fun, and not meant to be taken too seriously. For avid followers of Dillon, most of the songs have been heard already, whether it be via a live set or a SoundCloud posting. This resulted in very few surprises when listening to Money Sucks, Friends Rule.
Dillon Francis’s incredible versatility as a producer is very conducive to his ability to perform interesting and engaging live sets. Just listen to his most recent EDC and Coachella sets. They are incredible. Unfortunately, when placed in an LP format, the randomness of Dillon’s track making drastically throws off the cohesiveness and flow of the album. While Money Sucks, Friends Rule has instances of silliness that are light-hearted and fun, the overall vibe of the album is disjointed and confusing.[/toggler]
There is no denying Dillon Francis’s talent as a producer. Money Sucks, Friends Rule sounds great as far as all the equalizing, mixing and mastering goes and the production quality is arguably the highlight of the album. Dillon is experienced enough now where he knows all of the tricks. Whether it be with filters, effects or instrument selection, he definitely knows how to make his music sound sharp. Dillon has grown a lot as a producer over the years and his ability in mixing vocals has especially improved. This is evidenced on his track Love In The Middle of a Firefight with Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco!
Featured Track: Dillon Francis feat. Brendon Urie – Love in the Middle of a Firefight
Along with the production, the songwriting is also one of the bright spots on the album. Dillon Francis does an awesome job of captivating the listener with a catchy melody with fantastic chord progressions. Even though When We Were Young is extremely cookie cutter and has cheesy lyrics, other tracks featuring vocalists such as Drunk All the Time with Simon and We Are Impossible with The Presets are two of the best songs on the album. Money Sucks, Friends Rule boasts many collaborations, almost a little too much for a debut album. For whatever reason, Dillon’s collaborations tend to meet the other artist more on their end of the musical spectrum. While that is inevitable when you partner with musicians as diverse as Dillon Francis does, it would be more ideal to see others assimilate more to his or her sound when you are the featured artist. What’s That Spell feat. TJR is the perfect example of this. It is undoubtedly a quality track but sounds almost like TJR produced it by himself.
Featured Track: Dillon Francis feat. Simon – Drunk All the Time
The lack of cohesiveness on Money Sucks, Friends Rule makes the album a challenging listen. Being a versatile artist is always a positive, but there comes a certain point in which too much variance from track to track is a detriment to the album’s flow. An album is supposed to be unified. That is where Dillon Francis really missed with Money Sucks, Friends Rule. This album listens like a random collection of singles. There aren’t any songs that tell a story or truly pull you into what the album is going for. Maybe the album isn’t going for anything. That could very well be the case. Being right in the middle of the album, Not Butter is one of the few songs that attempts to bring Money Sucks, Friends Rule together.
Featured Track: Dillon Francis: Not Butter
Nobody necessarily expected Dillon Francis to stick with moombahton for the rest of his career. There is an overwhelming tendency for producers in dance music to make tracks that are essentially the “flavor of the month” or assimilate to what is popular at the moment. That is how the dance music scene works and will probably always work. There is nothing wrong with making tracks like that and it’s interesting to see how different producers interpret different styles. However, that is not the recipe for a successful full length album. You get the feeling that Dillon Francis made a lot of the songs on this album because he felt like he had to, not because he wanted to. For fans, Dillon’s moombahton days, I Can’t Take It is probably the closest you will get to his older style on Money Sucks, Friends Rule.
Featured Track: Dillon Francis – I Can’t Take It
Regardless of how we feel about Money Sucks, Friends Rule here at Dance Music Northwest, give the album a listen through the Spotify widget below and feel free to voice your opinions with us by following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. Even though we are slightly disappointed with this album, we are still stoked to see Dillon Francis play at Freaknight. Get your tickets here before they sell out!
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