Adventure, the debut album for French Wunderkind Madeon, takes listeners on a colourful and whimsical musical journey. It represents three years of hard work on the producer’s part, and it certainly shows. Every single note and vocal is crafted to orchestrate a soundtrack to an imaginary world. One which is filled with good vibes, catchy pop sounds, and a lasting state of euphoria.
Kicking off the 12-track LP is a prelude titled “Isometric.” Winding scales prepare the listener for the adventure ahead, progressing towards a sneak peak of the signature Madeon break. While brief in length, it creates anticipation and a yearning for what’s to come. Following that is “You’re On,” which was also the second release from the album. It highlights the soothing R&B vocals of Kyan, which ride a 100 bpm wave of pop melodies and synths.
“Ok” is up next and it’s a glitchy electro track that will make you feel like a character in a video game. Bubbly 8-bit sounds are met with intermittent voices singing the title of the track (one of the vocal samples is actually of pop-punk princess Charli XCX, from a previous recording session the two had). While the drop and breakdown make for interesting points in the song, the overall track does feel a bit repetitive.
Moving on, the collaborations on “Adventure” have all been highly anticipated, as Madeon brings the dance, pop, and indie rock worlds together in an exciting fashion. Two high-profile names are featured on the next tracks. The first being Dan Smith of Bastille, whose voice has become familiar in the dance scene by means of Audien’s popular “Pompeii” remix. Here, he sings on the soulful “La Lune,” a song which we can anticipate to receive a good amount of radio airplay in the future. The track’s emotion is well dictated through a steady anthem sound and passionate lyrics. “La Lune” perfectly matches the tone of Dan Smith’s voice, as it’s an indie-pop melody infused with light stringy notes in true Madeon style.
Speeding up the tempo, Madeon and Passion Pit team up for “Pay No Mind.” As one of the highlight tracks off the album, it presents a perfect marriage of both artists’ sounds. The producer delivers an upbeat disco-pop track that will foster high spirits and an urge to dance, while Passion Pit’s unique and recognizable sound bring “Pay No Mind” to soaring heights that match their impressive vocal range. Moreover, catchy lyrics ensure that you’ll have this one stuck in your head for a very long time.
Adding another reason to why he’s respectfully a boy wonder in the music industry, Hugo Leclercq, aka Madeon himself, takes the mic on three tracks. “Home” was the first public release to include his vocals, and stands as the closing piece of the album. The rawness in his voice adds character and emotion to the snare-strong beat, singing lyrics that really feel like a finale to the adventure at hand.
Taking a few steps back, “Beings” presents Madeon’s vocals with a softer and more cheerful tone. This one sits on the indie rock and pop border, but doesn’t fail to include glitchy breaks and ascending flutes. “Zephyr,” meanwhile, has a nu-disco feel to it. It holds a sound reminiscent of music by Earth, Wind and Fire, fused with Madeon’s own “Pop Culture” mash-up. Hugo’s voice is noticeably matured in this track as well, and is exercised further with higher notes and harmonies.
“Nonsense” brings in the indie pop vocals of Mark Foster for an addictive love song. It features a percussion-heavy chorus that you’ll learn the lyrics to almost immediately. Stepping outside the dance music bubble that Madeon has previously been categorized into, this track could easily find its way into a Foster The People set. The clap-friendly nature of “Nonsense” prepares it for the main stage just as much as it does for personal jam sessions.
The electropop duo Aquilo jumps on “Innocence” with a heartfelt ballad. The song is beautifully written with a chilling downtempo beat that allow the vocals by Aquilo to take the spotlight, as you can hear their genuine emotion with every note.
Rounding out the album, “Imperium” and “Pixel Empire” fall under the electronic portion. These two are more so the type of sound people expect from Madeon.
“Imperium” is a powerful song that is sure to pump up both crowds and video game players, as it also sits on the FIFA 2015 soundtrack. While the track is darker than his previous releases, it still holds amazing production quality with its cinematic sound.
“Pixel Empire” on the other hand, has Madeon written all over it, and holds its place as one of Adventure’s top tracks. A fluttering melody takes the listener on an ascending journey towards a climactic point of the album. He creates a “Finale”-like drop met with dramatic stutters and a heavy beat. The song’s breakdown brings about a sense of accomplishment, during the escapade this young talent has taken us on. From there, he brings us “Home” with the aforementioned closing track.
All in all, Madeon’s debut album demonstrates his ability to produce more than just electronic dance music. It’s a beautiful collection of high quality production that spans across various genres. The album’s cohesiveness provides listeners with a story through song, but each individual track can still stand strong on its own. Step into the futuristic world of Madeon’s pixel empire, and prepare to dance, smile and embark on a thrilling “Adventure.”
Madeon’s Adventure is a versatile compilation of tracks across the dance, indie rock and pop genres. Quality vocal features (including that of his own) combine with polished and complex production to create a blissful musical journey from start to finish.