Arts, Music, Review

Stranger Things Icon Joe Keery is Back with Second Album DECIDE

★★★★☆

Stranger Things fans, rejoice. Joe Keery, who stars as Steve “The Hair” Harrington in the hit Netflix show, released his latest album DECIDE on Sept. 16 under the stage name Djo. Keery channels a creative, ’80s-style sound in his music while his lyrics reflect on his perceptions of the world.

Keery sets himself apart from current musical trends in pop culture and crafts lyrics that are memorable and meaningful, resonating with his listeners. 

Through a unique blend of new-wave, ’80s rock, and electronic pop undertones, DECIDE paints a vision of navigating an environment balanced around technology. 

Each of the 13 songs serves as a fragment of the overall emotional and rhythmic aura of Keery’s album, portraying the essence of his life throughout his late 20s. On the opening track, “Runner,” Keery sings about his approach to life to a bouncing electronic beat. 

“Money grows and dies / People never change / But I have to try,” Keery sings.

The album in its entirety is an ongoing internal monologue, as Keery attempts to express his core conflictions. DECIDE is a means of communicating self-actualization and the process of defining yourself in an ever-changing world.

“The world is changing and upgrading / Faster than we can control,” Keery sings on “Half Life.”

Keery’s lyrics can encourage a journey through a wide range of emotions and moods, allowing us to discover the vibrant co-existence of nostalgia, love, isolation, and uncertainty.

The vintage style runs throughout the heavy dance beats that make up the album and appears to be inspired by his successful role in Stranger Things. In the beginning of the song “Half Life,” fans can even identify hints of background music reminiscent of the Netflix hit series’ theme song, as he layers static over haunting piano notes.

The album possesses a creative ability to resonate with a wide range of people, as it reminds us that we all face similar struggles at some point within our lives. Keery pairs this creative purpose with a building, keyboard-heavy tune “Figure You Out.” 

“How can you get to know yourself / I’ve been trying to figure you out / Tell me would you lend a hand?” Keery sings.

This album’s groovy ambiance and Keery’s smooth voice provide listeners with vibes similar to those of Stranger Things, and it will carry fans through the anticipation of the release of its final season.

October 2, 2022
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