Chromeo Ease Into Midlife on 'Adult Contemporary'

BY Antoine-Samuel Mauffette AlavoPublished Feb 20, 2024


Chromeo are facing midlife head on with Adult Contemporary, the funk duo’s sixth full-length and the follow-up to 2018’s Head Over Heels.

Steely Dan’s influence this time around is palpable, but it’s more in relation to the record’s subject matter than its sonic makeup. The drum machine, synth solos and vocoder musings we’ve come to expect are still present, but Dave 1 and P-Thugg are in a more contemplative mood, preferring to muse on lessons learned post-breakup than their latest romantic escapade.

“BTS” (that’s "Better than Sex") is a prime example of the lyrical mode that the duo find themselves in throughout the record, while “Personal Effects” flexes a two-part formula they employ a handful of times, crafting songs that work like plays in miniature. Part one is all about partners conveniently leaving things behind to extend a one night stand into something more substantial, while part two is a dance floor slow burn for when the person comes back to claim said items. “Replacements” contains the album's only feature, with La Roux’s soothing vocals perfectly complementing the strong boogie bass and enhancing the song's overall structure.

As the album progresses, the frenetic tempo starts slowing down and leads to “Lonesome Nights,” a deep cut full of introspection on past relationships which opens the door to slow jam “Cut Above.” While people may look to Chromeo for dance floor fodder, Adult Contemporary truly shows how far the pair have come. These songs really breathe, analog sounds finding space within the spot-on pacing. Elite vocoder work from P-Thugg is the cherry on top of the final one-two punch of “Friendsnlovers” and “Two of Us (Friendsnlovers Pt. 2),” revealing the sly complexity of the duo’s shared compositional ear.

It’s a fittingly adult album from a pair who’ve long seemed stuck in a loop of playful immaturity — midlife sounds good on them. 


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