Album Review: Madeon - Good Faith

Album Reviews: Madeon - Good Faith | Random J Pop

Madeon's debut album Adventure was a very wild-eyed album. From the album intro "Isometric" right the way through until its concluding track "Home", there was a real sense of somebody viewing a version of the world for the very first time, and their mind being almost frazzled in amazement at it all. Everything was big, it was frenetic, it was sharp. 

Then 4 years passed. And we then got Madeon's follow up album, Good Faith.

Good Faith by comparison feels like an album from that very same person having lived in that world, settled into it and being reflective of the experiences they've had. A little older. A little wiser. No longer impressed by the things that they were before, and instead wanting to find more. To be the guide to their past self.

At least that's how I feel. And it's not hard to imagine these are parallels between what Madeon was experiencing over the course of his journey to Adventure and then to Good Faith. A young artist thrust into the world that he wanted to be a part of with those he idolised, to then settling in his new life and  finding new reasons to keep doing what he's doing, without falling into pitfalls aplenty.

Good Faith at its core is a very pensive album in ways that Adventure wasn't until it's closing track "Home", which Good Faith feels like an extension of. Almost perfectly. Playing the opening track "Dream Dream Dream" straight after feels like a perfect sequence.

Album Reviews: Madeon - Good Faith | Random J Pop

Good Faith feels almost risky coming after Adventure, because whilst it shares the same DNA, it's a very different album in terms of its execution and what it seeks to evoke. Adventure seemed to want to do lots of different things, which fits the sense of an adventure. But it didn't tell you all that much about who Madeon was. This wasn't helped by it emerging at the tail end of period from 2010 - 2015 when EDM albums felt like they were in abundance, both across Europe and the US with the likes of Zedd's Clarity and True Colors were doing the rounds on every chart, and in Japan with Capsule's Wave Runner. Good Faith by comparison draws out more of Madeon as a person, as an artist, a songwriter and as a purveyor of music. For how broad Adventure was, it was still very set within a particular sound. Good Faith is very much the same, but also manages to have a greater sense of breadth - showing a greater prospect of all the different directions that Madeon could go in with future projects, whilst not specifically signposting where exactly he will go. Good Faith is like the New Game+ to Adventure. 'Let's just mosey in the centre and the fringes of everything because it feels good'.

Album Review: Madeon - Good Faith | Random J Pop

Adventure put Madeon's production skills front and centre, but there is a greater pop sensibility to Good Faith, despite not all of the songs falling neatly into pop and featuring a broader spectrum of sounds and influence than Adventure did. Good Faith is a melting pot of R&B, funk, French house and gospel. It's not hard to imagine some of these songs with other artists, or to develop a mental rolodex of artists that Madeon's sound would work great for. The vibe of "All My Friends" feels like one that SM Entertainment would pull from for SHINee, "No Fear No More" sounds like it'd be great for the likes of BoA and Madeon's sound as a whole would make him a good choice of producer for an act like Perfume. Whilst Madeon has produced for other artists, (Lady Gaga and Two Doors Cinema Club, just to give you range within the space of two artists), I am surprised that he hasn't produced more. Maybe it's a personal choice. But when I listen to songs on Good Faith, I think about how great it'd be to hear some of these sounds and styles with other artists. In addition to wondering how the hell a song like "All My Friends" wasn't a radio smash.

Madeon also plays with song structures; manages to take things which are typical of EDM and retrofit them into the structure of pop songs, and visa-versa. Sometimes he subverts the clichés of both and fucks with everything completely. But the end result is also a cohesive song.

The structure of songs also leads into the sequencing. Good Faith works at its best as a whole. "Nirvana", "Mania" and "Miracle" feel like three parts of one song. Each is great as a stand-alone song, but once you've heard them strung together, it's difficult to unhear it and pluck any of the one songs out of sequence. This is Good Faith in a nutshell. Whilst each song is certainly strong enough to stand on its own, each song feels so linked that it almost compels you to only listen to them together. 

The sonics of the album are also great, with Madeon utilising live instrumentation on songs with electronic sounds and synths. It creates a far more grounded, richer and warmer sound than Adventure. Everything about Adventure felt so crisp. Good Faith sounds softer, but still hits hard. 

Album Review: Madeon - Good Faith | Random J Pop

It would have been very easy to Madeon to do Adventure again, bring in bigger names to guest feature and simple make everything bigger. But instead he did the opposite. Madeon created something a little different by stripping things back and baring himself - which can be a scary thing to do. But it pays off massively. Good Faith is very clear in what it was to be and how it wants you to feel.

Adventure was Madeon's experience and his alone. But this album is the journey that everybody is invited to, in nothing but good faith.

VERDICT: ALL MY FRIENDS ARE SELF ISOLATING

Highlights:
■ Dream Dream Dream
■ All My Friends
■ Be Fine
■ Miracle 🏆 J's fave
■ No Fear No More
■ Hold Me Just Because

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