Stuck on an Island
When listeners first met ¡MAYDAY!, their sound was predominately hip-hop. Over the years, however, they have allowed their timbre to evolve, sharing stages with Daft Punk and collaborating with musical gems ranging from the brilliantly oddballish Devin the Dude to the far-out Cee-Lo. Their video for “Groundhog Day,” which featured the Gnarls Barkley half, premiered on YouTube in 2007, breaking two million views in less than two days and receiving hefty recognition from major media figures including the New York Times. Packaging both their success and growth into a brand new album, ¡MAYDAY! returns with Stuck on an Island, an artistic reflection of how the happenings of the past few years have shaped them into who they are now and where they ultimately plan to be.
Straddling the bar of hip-hop and a more alternative appeal, the album opens up with “I’ll Be Gone,” a funky, futuristic number on the grounds of Mark Ronson and K-OS. Venturing far, far away from their previous work, its deep, rattling bass line shakes, rattles and rolls as melodic vocals glide into Travie McCoy-esque rap and piano chords rage in the background. Songs like “Lost Highway” take on a darker persona with an ominous and murky boom, while “Transparent,” sounding like something produced underwater, possesses a muffled, smothered quality of resonance. A few more songs in, and we’ve reached “On 2 Someth’n,” which keeps the infectious ball rolling with the adornment of sassy female vocalist, Jovi Rockwell. With its punchy beats and contagious melodies, this 19-track compilation makes it difficult to sit still.
Following an obviously more eclectic and eccentric path, the album finds the group experimenting with a more untried sound, producing an album of urban music with a little more electro and pop/rock than there is boom-bap. The reason? As quoted by website Music Remedy, producer/guitarist Plex Luthor stated that Stuck on an Island displays ¡MAYDAY!’s intentions “to make sure the world knows musicians from this city can compete culturally with the best of them.” Was their goal met? After one rotation, it’s appealingly undeniable to the ears that it was.