Sound — 8
Deadmau5 has been doing what he does for something like 12 years under his moniker, and really has carved a niche that has him at the top of the game with just a very few of his contemporaries (if you exclude the "old pros" of EDM and electronic music). "While(1<2)" is Deadmau5's seventh studio album and is technically a double album containing 25 tracks and 2 continuous mixes. There are two "remixes" on the album - both related to Trent Reznor, oddly enough. The first is a remix of the How To Destroy Angels track, "Ice Age," and the second is the NIN track, "Survivalism." The total runtime of the 25 tracks is 2 hours and 19 minutes. That is basically 69 minutes and some change for each disc. The 2 continuous mixes are 67 minutes for the first mix, and 63 minutes for the second mix. Deadmau5 released four singles for this album. The first was the track "Avaritia", which was released as a single in May 2014, then the second was released a week later - "Seeya," which features Colleen D'Agostino. "Infra Turbo Pigcart Racer" was released as the third single in early June, with "Phantoms Can't Hang" released as the fourth single roughly a week after that.
The album opens with the lead single, "Avaritia," which is a slow building track, but builds up to a few pinnacles throughout the track. The Deadmau5 remix of "Ice Age" is pretty engaging, and really one of the most enjoyable tracks from the album for me. "My Pet Coalacanth" has a few really nice moments in it. The single, "Infra Turbo Pigcart Racer" builds up slow but even after it fills out and gets up to speed, it still has some strong melancholy running through the track. "Terrors In My Head" really got under my skin in a good way. "Creep" sounded like it started out as a solo piano piece and was just built onto from there. The single, "Phantoms Can't Hang," will probably be the most universally enjoyed track from this double album because as an EDM track it scratches a lot of itches, so definitely kudos to Deadmau5 on that one. The second disc starts out with "Acedia," which is basically Latin for "sloth," or getting more in-depth is about withdrawing from life until you are unable to meet your obligations - that might be a relevant concept for some EDM people. Anyway, in this context, it is supposed to represent one of the seven deadly sins - sloth. It is a good track. "Errors in My Bread" was another standout track to me, personally. The remix of "Survivalism" is pretty interesting - it would have to be one of my favorite tracks on the album, as well. "Rlyeh's Lament" was a profoundly sad track that reminded me of "The Never-Ending Story" for some reason. "Bleed" was another standout track for me, as it seemed to tap into my emotions in a way that good electronic music should. The track "Monday" was a really great track to me, and I was really surprised for large parts of the track it just sounds like an acoustic band jamming. "A Moment to Myself" feels almost like a rest from the album, which I guess is the point of the track. The album closes out with "Seeya," which is the only non-remix track that has vocals, and also is really interesting for a lot of reasons. It has an awesome bassline, and part of the percussion to seems to be a bouncing basketball, or some type of inflated ball, anyway. The vocals are a nice, soothing way to close out the album.
Lyrics — 7
With this being an EDM album, there isn't much in the way of vocals on the album. The standout vocals would have to be from the 2 remixes - "Ice Age" and "Survivalism," and then the closing track and second single from the album, "Seeya," which features vocals from Colleen D'Agostino. In regards to her vocals there is definitely nothing to complain about and the way that they used processing on the vocals worked well in the context of the track. The lyrics for the track, "Seeya," are as follows: "Don't wake me up, I'm winning wars inside my head/ and maybe I'm weak but not beneath the covers of this bed/ asleep, I'm undefeated in this world of mine/ so let me stay inside this dream and keep me from the light/ I've built this place behind my eyes you'll never see/ and you can move my body but please keep my mind asleep/ beyond the galaxies where there's no space or time/ I will transform, I am reborn to rule over the skies/ I, I feel it in my bones/ Escape, the world don't know/ It's all in my control/ I, I just wanna stay this way/ blood pumping in my veins/ I feel it, I feel it/ I, I just wanna stay this way/ blood pumping in my veins/ I feel it/ Behind the darkness there's a sea of neon light/ and maybe you think I'm sinking, but you just can't get inside/ don't try to save me when my mind is finally free/ cause I'd rather run my own world than face your reality/ It's not enough r me to paint with black and white/ You think you're traveled far? You've never seen the stars/ cause the only way is if I say you can follow me that far." For an album with almost no lyrics, there are pretty good lyrics.
Overall Impression — 7
It is really difficult to review an EDM album, to be completely honest. I have to give it props - it is masterfully done, but some of the tracks seem like they're more cerebral than "dance" tracks. That isn't a bad thing for me, personally, but I know some of my friends who are pretty hardcore into EDM that would be really disappointed by some of this album. On the other hand, there are some really exceptional moments, as well. If I had to name my favorite tracks from the album, I would have to go with "Seeya," "Terrors in My Head," "Monday" and "Bleed," but I also like both of the remixes on the album as well. The 2 continuous mixes have a lot of value to play in the background while you're just chilling, or putting on for a house party. I do appreciate that Deadmau5 makes music that seems to get in my head in ways that a lot of EDM doesn't.