The anticipation for Dillon Francis’ debut album has been building exponentially for over a year now. Following a push back on the original July release date, it seemed as if the album would never hit electronic store shelves (if an album release isn’t pushed back, is it really an album?), and the slow trickle of singles that were released in the meantime only served as minor stress Band-Aids to calm eager fans with spiked blood pressure.
After the drop date was set for Oct. 28 and it was announced to release through Columbia Records (a offshoot of Sony Music Entertainment), the light at the end of the tunnel came into view. The LA-based producer and DJ (a former Buckhead-Atlanta resident, mind you) knows how to build hype off the dance-floor as well, though, and treated the world with a streamable version of the full album via MTV. Thank you Mr. Francis, consider our thirsts quenched.
Saying this album serves as a milestone in his career is admittedly cliché but an undeniable truth.
The young artist has released eight EP’s since his inaugural release, “Swashbuckler,” and fifteen singles, seven of which were released in 2014. His anthemic “IDGAFOS” became Francis’ anthem and spurred on a subcultural cult following from which he’s built a massive fan-base.
Since then he’s pioneered the modern sound in the world of moombathon and developed a distinct audible identity that matches his online personality.
Hearing music from a Dillon Francis production should elicit mixed feelings of joy, hysteria, rage (in the good way, of course) and even community. This album hits all those points and more.
“Money Sucks, Friends Rule” features twelve heart-pounding, earth-shattering tracks with a dynamic range to satisfy the needs of any listener’s palette. To drive the point home about how much friends really do rule, there’s a slew of big name artists featured that make the A-Team look like a peewee baseball team.
Twista and the Rej3ctz are on the album’s opener, “All That,” Francis’ festival banger with DJ Snake, “Get Low,” took the number two spot, and Sultan and Ned Shepherd & The Chain Gang of 1974 aided in making what might be the most heartfelt track of the album “When We Were Young.”
The eighteen years young wunderkind Martin Garrix was enlisted to produce “Set Me Free,” Simon Lord’s uplifting vocals were used to make “Drunk All the Time” a true delight, and the Presets joined in the fun by adding a retro vibe to “We Are Impossible.”
Major Lazer and Stylo G brought the fire for “Make it Bounce,” TJR helped out to teach us how to spell a very special word in “What’s That Spell,” and Panic! at the Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie was the real album MVP, as he made for a stunning addition to “Love in the Middle of a Firefight.”
After all is said in done, only three tracks are left as complete originals. Don’t think this means he didn’t put any effort into this. The world of EDM has become increasingly built upon collaborations, and in this case, it gives each track its own distinct personality, almost as if each track is a representation of a different friendship, which makes every one of them unique.
Any preemptive critics that deemed Francis a “sell-out,” or an artist who’s capitalizing on a single sound formulated to bring in cash, should be left with their jaws dropped, ready to chow down on a three course meal of their bitter words.
With “Money Sucks, Friends Rule,” Francis employs a level of humanity and realism that many artists in electronic dance music fail to achieve.
The trait that separates the mid-tier electronic artists from the top-tier is the ability to make their music relatable or organic.
Each track on this album carries a small piece of Francis in it. He’s like a living cartoon, full of life and energy and its apparent in different ways within each song.
“When We Were Young” reveals a nostalgic, passionate character full of youth, and “We Are Impossible” channels 80s pop vibes and a solemn attitude, while “What’s That Spell” solidifies his class-clown status in the EDM community and shows that he knows how to throw a party.
As a debut album, we can’t really ask for anything more. It is a dynamic collection of songs that show his ability as a producer to make more than heavy drops and loud beats.
The way he implements mixed genre sounds and vocals into his music speaks volumes for his potential to succeed going forward and to draw in even more fans.
There’s too much to say about this album without writing a full-fledged essay, it is simply a must-listen and must-purchase for music lovers of all types.
Our Take: 5/5