Producer Mike Dean Brings The Weekend For His Own Solo Album ‘4:23’


Since the early 1990s, hardcore rappers (Scarface), multi-hyphen hip-hop tycoons (Kanye West, Travis Scott) and symphonic-note R&B vocalists (Beyoncé, weekend), Mike Dean it always feels like it’s on those cold solo outings where he enjoys the most. Experience the surprise drop last weekend of “4:23,” another of Dean’s no-nonsense stonemasonry endeavors, with equal parts hardcore sci-fi epic soundtrack and intermittent dreamy like 2020’s hilarious instrumental album “4:20”. pop.

“4:23” is reminiscent of Dean’s home-recorded, amplified synthesis work, occasionally filled with proggy improvised noodles carved from larger ice-block suites. But this new album mostly contains more concise and sharp tracks – real songs. For such fresh certainty, we can probably credit Dean’s staunch collaborator, tour partner, and broadcast network co-star The Weeknd, who served here as executive producer of “4:23.”

Having been in business with each other since 2015’s bizarre “Beauty Behind the Madness”, Dean and The Weeknd have matured with several spooky romantic creations, the latest of which is 2022’s “Dawn FM.” Alongside the couple’s collaboration with Future on the moody new track “Double Fantasy,” Dean also featured The Weeknd’s “”IdolNew HBO series co-created with showrunner Sam Levinson of “Euphoria” fame.

The Weeknd’s enticing idea of ​​avant-garde pop spirit infected Dean in the four “4:23” tracks they shared their writing credits with. In “Artificial Intelligence” (co-produced by director-writer Levinson), a piece that allows The Weeknd to utter amorous words like “Your Heart”, they play with metaphors of what “fake news” might mean in the love house. Elsewhere, how can I compete / I am at war with callous, false intelligence.” A few songs later, Dean and the Weeknd takes the dusty theme of lonely stamina and turns “Emotionless” into a bloated ambient prayer.

Everything the couple does in “4:23” is not a dream of a desert in love. The throbbing of “Defame Moi” gives the psychically injured vocalist another chance to tell the truth. “They’re demonizing my name, they’re demonizing me,” he whispers paranoid. “I believe their lies. They believe their lies.” In “More Coke!!”, things turn into a doubly nightmare as The Weeknd’s FX-processed vocals ominously repeat “The cocaine’s waving weight” and “Scarface, Scarface, Scarface” as if stuck in a bad mantra.

Whether it’s the side effects of weed or cocaine, “4:23” is the (intentionally exciting) bum on the Weeknd side of the notebook. Depressing words like hers make it seem like no one has necessarily had a great dope experience this time around… or at least it’s not as pleasant a buzz as young Dean is definitely back when he’s posing for the cover photo for the new album, the young mullet wearer. he wouldn’t have guessed that he’s likely to be a synth-hop icon in the yearbook.

In contrast, Dean’s tunes on great songs like “Music for the Future”, “Goodbye Earth” and “Hello Space” (all of which could easily be featured on the “Stranger Things” soundtrack) rise and rise even in their most arpeggiated eerie states. merrily floats upwards. The set of reverse guitars and pulsating sequencers that make “Rewind Life” an intense spectacle opens up to a soaring (and unnamed) saxophone solo and changes the course of the piece. Whether it’s the Weekend’s executive directive or Dean’s maturing, the instrumental cuts of “4:23” are as lyrical as their vocal-packed numbers.

Unlike other solo efforts from the producer, “4:23” feels and feels like a whole work with a syncopated, sonic crossover line. At the end of this new album, although it draws on the craft and shaping skills of instrumentalist The Weeknd, the cautious solitary lyrical rendering of his singing friend is no match for Mike Dean’s solidly self-made melody manifestation and focused arrangement of chilled synths. Or that mullet.

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