Staff Rating

3.75/5

User Rating

5/5

Dillon Francis - This Mixtape Is Fire

WREN   (345 reviews)

Posted: 10/21/2015 | Comments: 1 | Rate:

LA’s Dillon Francis kind of came out of nowhere for me. As I stated in the GTA review, it was only a few short years ago that I decided to dive, not dabble, right back into the electronic dance scene. I was aware of some of the big names like Diplo, Tiesto, and, of course, Daft Punk. Being pointed in the direction of Soundcloud to check out practically any EDM artist I wanted, I took a chance on Dillon Francis, mostly because the website was giving away a ton of his stuff for free. With a little bit of research I was pointed in the direction of his signature hit “IDGAFOS”, (I Don’t Give A Fuck Or Shit, if you didn’t figure it out.) It’s a slow airy synth heavy track that has no bass and you definitely can’t dance to it. This was the up and comer that everyone was hyping? I didn’t see it. It was a little bit later that I stumbled upon a free hour long mix that he did for Australia’s Triple J Radio stream that I got a better taste of what he was all about. That particular mix is a very eclectic run of the gamut of EDM styles, but most of the focus is on the mid-paced Moombahton style, which apparently is Francis’ wheelhouse.

While the mix was and still is a lot of fun to listen to, it never blew me away as say the first time I heard Major Lazer or Knife Party, so it was quite a surprise when last year’s Money Sucks, Friends Rule, his first official full length, made it into my top 20 (arguably top 10 depending on my mood) for last year. That record was a showcase album for Dillon and was a departure from his typical moombahton roots. Electro House, Trap, and even some Synthpop littered the 12 tracks. The straying from the path was there but Francis was able to bring it all together and make the album make sense in the end. It never felt like it wasn’t a Dillon Francis album even with all the collaborations and style mashing. His strongest tracks were We Make It Bounce (w/ Major Lazer) and Get Low (w/ DJ Snake), the latter being one of the biggest songs of last year. It’s in those two songs, along with the Not Butter track that we got something more accustom to what we expected from a Dillon Francis record.

As much effort that went into making Money Sucks happen, it came as a shock that Francis announced almost immediately that he was already working on a moombahton EP to follow-up the full length and even went as far as playing 10 second snippets every so often on his Instagram account. So we knew he was serious. A lot of fans, including yours truly, felt this was quite a gamble to jump right back into the mix. Why not enjoy the success of the full length and the ability to incorporate those tracks into headlining sets? The debate of “strike while the iron is hot” vs. “sit back and give yourself room to breathe” seemed to be argument in the months between the announcement and the release. Then Bruk Bruk happened. The first track from the album was released by Francis with the announcement of the release date of the EP, This Mixtape Is Fire. In that one song, which is a Francis by himself, seemed to squash any disbelief that he could actually pull this off. This song is signature Dillon Francis, an infectious tribal like track that is moombahton at its core. It’s reminiscent of Dillon’s early days in the genre but obviously proves he’s grown as a producer as well. It’s just crafted and flows much better than anything in his past. How would this hold up for the rest of the album though?

To get right to the point, it’s very good but a few tracks could be thrown out. The album’s second track, What’s Your Name? is a track that I was introduced to as his intro song at EDC Las Vegas 2014. Only then it didn’t feature Calvin Harris and it didn’t have a title. Now that the song is finalized, it barely has any Calvin Harris in it. The bridge between the main beat is about it and some signature Dillon Francis vocal play has been added to give people something to sing along to. Next up is the highlight track, Bun Up The Dance, which is a collaboration with Skrillex. It’s exactly what you think you’d get if you put these two into a room together and had them write a song. Francis’ Caribbean moombahton sound meshes very well with Skrillex’s signature dubstep to create a very Jamaican, for the lack of a better term, sound. This song is strong enough that I’d love to see these two explore the idea of doing a full collaboration album much like Skrillex is doing with Diplo in the Jack U project. The last of the 4 moombahton tracks is Pull It (w/ Bro Safari). It keeps the theme going from the previous tracks in terms of pacing but has enough breaks and switches that it keeps the listener engaged the entire time.

After Pull It, this is where the album starts to go a bit south. In the EP’s 5th track, Dillon collaborates with Kygo for Coming Over and it results in a pretty big departure from the theme of the record. A future bass pop outing that, while isn’t a bad song per se, is still a sudden drop off from the mood created by the first 4 tracks. Next is the Chromeo featured “Lies” and this song makes little to no sense. It just sounds like the feature’s track and it’s just one melody repeated over and over again for just shy of two minutes. There is no bass, heck there is a barely anything to it. The only purpose of this song I can see is that it will be used to bridge the gap between tracks like, much like what IDGAFOS serves as. If not, this was a waste of a collaboration. The album concludes with a Party Favor remix of the Money Sucks track, I Can’t Take It. The song starts out with a funny skit by Francis’ alter ego, DJ Hanzel, and then cuts into a trap remix that maintains a lot of the original. I’m not that familiar with Party Favor in the studio aside from the Bap U track and some live sets but this definitely sounds like he got ahold of this song.

Even with how cool the final remix is, it’s another track that can be tossed from the record. It would be better served either given away for free or sold as a standalone track on sites like Soundcloud, ITunes, or even make it a Spotify exclusive. Coming Home and Lies are so far from being the moombahton theme that Dillon Francis promised that even those would have been better served on something else. Maybe the legit follow-up to Money Sucks, Friends Rule? Even with almost half the record being worth ditching or saving for something else, this is still a really, really fun dance record. I’ve already seen him include these tracks live and people are already losing their shit for them. In the short time that I’ve been acquainted with Dillon Francis, he’s grown leaps and bounds as a producer/DJ and is definitely earning his reputation as one of the fan favorites.

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Comments
MMM..Johnny Cakes
31,330 Posts
41/M/PA
good review. Get the mix he did for Diplo & Friends a while back.....all of these songs are featured on it plus his old stuff with others thrown in. It's a free download on Soundcloud

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