Dijon’s ‘Absolutely’ is intimate and raw – a stream of consciousness collection that deserves time and attention.
Stream: ‘Absolutely’ – Dijon
Dijon diverts expectations. This has always been clear, but Absolutely demonstrates why he is impossible to put a box around. The LA-based producer and singer-songwriter’s raspy voice makes an impression in an altogether scrappy record. This album turns left when you expect it to turn right; every second is charged with something different. Nevertheless, it propels forward, fueled by love, frustration, and fascination.
With the help of a handful of collaborators, the record was born. Dijon enlists the help of Andrew Sarlo and Mike Gordon (Mk.gee) in production. Other sources of support were found in Gabe Noel, Brad Oberhofer, Henry Kwapis, and Ryan Richter. The musicians, along with Gordon, can be seen in the Absolutely short film, released before the record. The session functions as an improvisation to unknowing ears but bleeds into “Many Times” and the album’s opener. “Big Mike’s” is soft and sweet. Dijon croons to “Joanna,” telling her he likes it when she’s mad, inquisitive, tense, and lastly, naked. Within its romantic moments, the album bleeds a specific kind of loneliness. Lighthearted in sound, but head-turning and neck-snapping in lyricism, especially when Dijon’s sandpaper sound comes in.
The live sessions are a treat. Around a (square) table, the collaborators are knights to Dijon’s King Arthur. The musicians are perched in every corner of the fake room, and Dijon circles them in a bop-induced frenzy. The fake room is a grandmother’s dream, decorated with stunning antiques, also making it the most unlikely rehearsal space. The only pauses are taken for sips of beer, and the carefree attitude is contagious. The lighthearted and comfortable moments are found in the energetic jazzy grooves of “The Dress” and “Talk Down.” The rhythms of the tracks are special. The bass shapeshifts in every song, and the bass drum and cymbals remain trusty yet unpredictable collaborators, caught with their hands in the cookie jars.
The record moves quickly. Every song sounds different than the last, and the sounds can circle your brain without actually getting into them. It’s spontaneous in the best way. The songs are undoubtedly complex, but they wound effortless. Every track follows a stream of consciousness as if planning doesn’t exist in Dijon’s world. Dijon and his friends sit around, looking around for things to do, as their eyes fall onto the full setup in the living room. Dijon just picks up and plays. That’s the magic of Absolutely. I had listened to the album five times before I had a sweaty grasp on it. By the sixth time, I could see Annie and Joanna, the car rides under the stars, and the dark room Dijon retires to after midnight. Most of the words sound like they’re written by candlelight, horribly alone. When Dijon is not addressing a lover, he takes on the role of the outsider. He watches “Jimmy” and “Helen” in “God In Wilson.” He is either fully immersed or not at all. The nostalgia is recent, the wound is fresh. The two-bit reactions are precious and human, and definitely not what I expected to hear in the work.
Listen: “Many Times” – Dijon
Towards the end of the album, we find “Rodeo Clown,” a hidden gem. “Rodeo Clown” is a lover’s lullaby, a lover who lays in bed alone night after night, with only one face glued to their eyelids. Their love rides bulls for a living, living in danger with his sole protective equipment a pair of rusted silver spurs: “Rodeo could kill ya, I just wanna kiss ya..” Dijon wails on the record, confused and determined to get an answer. He probes, “What are you ashamed of? What are you so afraid of? Cause you’re missing’ out on good, good lovin.” Dijon doesn’t waste time, every word is charged with his entire being. The lover continues, “At the rodeo, I put my face on and smile. And I get scared watchin’ you. And the crowd gets wild, I run to you.” Dijon whispers a sacred prayer, “I run to you, I run to you, I run to you, I love you, I love you.”
Yes, it’s chaos. But it’s beautiful, heartwrenching, and unexpectedly fun. Dijon’s stream of consciousness is one I can get behind. Absolutely is an album for the ages, a collection of stories that must be respected and revisited.
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? © 2021
an album by Dijon