When a man that’s not a Feminist Ryan Gosling meme tells a woman what she should think or feel, regardless of intent, the conversation that ensues rarely turns out well for the parties involved. Consider then the feat that the Larry David funk duo, Chromeo, have pulled off on their fourth studio LP, White Women. While the eleven cuts that make up this superb pastiche of disco, dance, and R&B groove is a record that essentially reveals more about Mister Romeo and the Casanova complex than the multitudes of women he loves, the lyrical humour and the sonic agility with which the duo handles things makes players a bunch of adorable softies.
With an album title that only Chromeo could pull off without causing think pieces to clog up the Internet, White Women‘s saving grace lies in its joyful tomfoolery and karaoke-ready lines. “Over Your Shoulder” is technically another song about a boy telling a girl that she’s beautiful because he finds her beautiful, but it remains one of the strongest tracks on the album. Dave 1 is so smooth he can croon lines that cheer up a girl as well as come onto her too: “‘Cause it’s those little imperfections that make beauty in my eyes. I wanna be in the intersection of your thighs.”
Meanwhile on “Play the Fool”, Dave 1 warns the listener not to let him get carried away and fool around in a romantic, uplifting chorus that’ll ensure that the warning goes unheeded. The passionate dog is only capable of love in the moment, and this leads to songs like “Hard To Say No” where, despite winning lady love, it’s getting harder to say no to the gorgeous women buffet. In a similar vein, “Fall Back 2U”, a magnificent closer that smacks of Jamiroquai, is about getting a second chance because even though “I left you hanging, … I never wanna make you cry.” A handclap full of sass, a rousing sax solo, and an appearance by the vocoder add up to a song that is much more emotionally dynamic than to be expected.
The consistent pop nature found on White Women is one of the record’s most noticeable qualities. The hook on “Jealous (I Ain’t with It)” was originally rejected by the duo as being too Katy Perry, but “Hard To Say No” is something Olly Murs could conceivably cover. Chromeo is known for injecting a bit of modern love into retro groove, and “Old 45s” and “Frequent Flyer” are homages that show how in demand they would be if they strictly worked Bar Mitzvahs and weddings.
“Somethingood” is a feet-tapping tune that, as one of the longest songs at six minutes and thirty seconds, is a greater melody because of it. A song that starts with no preamble, “Somethingoood” is a dance melody that develops at its own pace after the third minute mark for a sensual jam exploration.
It’s the more serious tracks on White Women that attract attention and stand out. “Ezra’s Interlude” and “Lost on the Way Home”, coincidentally both collaborations with Ezra Koenig and Solange Knowles respectively, peel back the bravado and the optimistic confidence that peppered previous songs. “Lost on the Way Home” is a sentimental duet that, besides highlighting Solange’s singing capabilities, is a meaningful interaction between two weary, devoted lovers. “Ezra’s Interlude” too is interesting in how it puts, to the forefront, the neuroticism that was always there but repeatedly brushed off and pushed aside. When Koenig sings in falsetto, “I just can’t pretend I’m gonna make you mine,” it’s moving.
Listening to White Women never was so much fun.