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100 Albums: "Random Album Title" by deadmau5


Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: deadmau5
Title: Random Album Title
Released: 2008
Genre: progressive house/trance


Random Album Title is the third album from Canadian house/trance maestro Joel Zimmerman under his stage name deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse" and not in any way related to Danger Mouse). He performs in a stylized mouse head helmet because after Daft Punk, that's what EDM artists just do anymore. His album titles all have bizarre names, like Album Title Goes Here, 4x4=12, and--a personal favorite of mine--W:/2016Album/.

Random Album Title was deadmau5's breakout record, largely on the strength of the single I Remember, which is just one hell of an earworm. I heard it during the club scene in the 2010 remake of GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo Wii and decided I had to know more about what was going on with whoever this artist was. I Remember was also the fifth single from this album, which just proves to me that I have absolutely no understanding of the house/trance scene. The songs are mostly very long for pop songs, and are arranged in movements rather than an ABACAB verse/chorus/bridge structure. They have long intros and outros, obviously to make them easier to work into dance mixes. And indeed, the entire album plays out in a single uninterrupted mix where songs blend into each other rather than having clear starts and stops.

I Remember is the record's centerpiece as far as I'm concerned, but Brazil, Faxing Berlin, and Slip all have solid melodic hooks underpinning them. I particularly like Slip because the meter is all over the place, so it gets stuck in your head while being impossible to count. If you like house/trance, you probably already know this record, and if not, this isn't a bad entry point, probably? It's a genre I don't follow very closely, but it's fun to dip a toe in and experience it. I missed rave culture entirely--I'm either five years too old or five years too young, I honestly have no idea which.

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