R&R / Warner · November 5, 2021
Dijon’s debut album, Absolutely, is crowded, overflowing, and full to bursting — and yet somehow, it all still works.
Known for his endearing raspiness and genre bending, Dijon can switch between a serenade and a cry without a moment’s hesitation. The first track on the album, “Big Mike’s,” is a big proponent of this concept, coasting from sugary lyrics like “I like how you look when you get good news” to the desperate words of “I might drop to my knees, Joanna please.” For Apple Music, Dijon explained how he crafted “Big Mike’s” with collaborator Mk.gee (Michael Gordon) and why he positioned the track as the first one: “We just felt like if this is on an album, I’d want to hear this first because I can decide if I want to be here or not. We wanted it to be hypnotic, and I wanted to be as confrontational as possible.” From the beginning, Dijon sets the tone of Absolutely, adding a cozy ambience with discordant bass notes and jumbled piano keys splashing throughout the song. Casual conversation and comforting laughs creep in throughout, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves.
He keeps up the tempo with “Scratching” and “Many Times,” each song seeping into the next, making it nearly impossible to tell where one song ends and the other begins. Joanna is addressed once again in “Scratching,” this time in the form of lyrics like, “Oh Joanne I’m stuck, oh Joanne I’m tired.” In “Many Times,” Dijon sounds distressed and his voice strains in a tune that talks about “airing our dirty laundry.” Though some of the album’s songs sound like love songs, they seem more often to center around heartbreak than romance.
In “The Dress,” Dijon croons: “We should go out and dance like we used to dance / We should go out and hold hands like lovers hold hands.” It’s a softer R&B song resembling more of his earlier tunes, like his 2018 single “Skin.” “The Dress,” however, seems like the only track to hold this sentiment of referencing past styles.
Throughout, Dijon’s voice isn’t the only thing doing the talking. From fly-on-the-wall soundbites to isolated, empty stretches and hand clapping in “Rodeo Clown,” he creates an almost cinematic experience. Even his final track, “Credits!” is devoid of distinguishable lyrics as it sounds like his words are being sung from a distance (upon further research he’s actually singing: “Will you freak with us,” but the Genius page is still punctuated with several [?]s). In essence, he accomplishes more by saying less.
On Absolutely, Dijon unleashes an orchestrated recklessness, contributing to his statement in the same Apple Music interview where he says, “I think the idea of sexiness or being calm and collected is a pretty stifling thing as a musician.” He rejects order, genre, and in turn crafts an album which always keeps the listener guessing and always entertained, jumping from folk to R&B and interspersing minute bursts with longer compositions.