Justice Releases “All Access Arenas:” A Mediocre Live Ego Booster
The French duo, Justice, were kings of dance music for a time. But, in what must be a smack in the face of their (former?) fans, Justice has released a new live album, “All Access Arenas” that is so sub-par, it should be considered more of a tribute album to their former selves.
When their first album, “†” was released in 2007, it rode high on a number of successful singles. “Stress” was a hard-hitting dance anthem that lit fires under asses and on dance floors. “D.A.N.C.E.” was just as powerful, and the album helped define dance music for a time, as contemporaries like MSTRKRAFT and Boyz Noise helped round out the then modern dance sound.
Justice song’s were anthems that exploded out of Europe and crashed heavy on US shores. Remixes were abound, and the having Justice remix one of your tracks was considered the hight of success for man performers. In 2008, they released their first live album, “A Cross The Universe,” along with a companion live DVD. Both showed how the band’s epic sound was well reserved by fans around the world, and just how much the 2 DJ’s were rock stars. Abusing fans, selling out shows, ordering a gun and shooting off in the desert – A Cross the Universe was a proper salute to an epic band. And on a personal Tracks like “Genesis” and “Let There Be Light” are still staples in my “hard dance” playlist, and I have no doubt in their staying power for generations to come.
Unfortunately, Justice’s long-awaited (And heavily hyped) second album fell as flat as possible. The album, “Audio, Video, Disco,” harkened back to an arena rock sound that no one actually wanted. It’s tunes came off like a lazy Supertramp tribute, and a band that had once been at the forefront of the dance scene started to fade behind the deafening blast of dubstep wubs. Not that I’m a fan the melodic massacre that is American dubstep, but its choke-hold on dance music can not be denied, and unfortunately, “Audio, Video, Disco” lacked the brutal, blockbuster sound that was prevalent in “†.”
So, after a depressing second album, Justice returns to your mp3 player with a new live album, “All Access Arena.” And while there are a number of striking moments throughout the album’s 80 minutes, most of them come from samples of their earlier work. And that might be your first sign: when everyone (including the recorded live audience on the tracks) gets more hyped by your old stuff than your new stuff, you know you’ve done something wrong.
And that is my lasting impresson from “All Access Arenas” – Justice, after breaking barriers and invading clubs world-wide, has the audacity to release a new album of old songs. It takes balls to try to deceive people like that, and its the kind of balls that comes from impressing so many people, and being such a powerful voice in dance music for so long.
There is barely a track on “All Access” that doesn’t use something from “Cross” as its main riff. So even Justice seems to realize no one wants to hear their new stuff. But, interestingly, some of their new samples do liven up old jams. And there are moments on the album that make me wish I was screaming and dancing front row, center.
There are rumors Justice might open for Daft Punk if and when a Daft Punk tour is confirmed, and perhaps that is what Justice is destined to be – and opener for someone who continues to break barriers, forever remembered for “that time when” and never able to hit that mark again.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
I shouldn’t be surprised, Justice’s last and second album, Audio, Video, Disco (2011), was similarly a massive disappointment.July 13, 2016
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