A track-by-track run-down of Diplo’s star-studded ‘California’ EP

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A track-by-track run-down of Diplo’s star-studded ‘California’ EP

Ah Diplo. He’s been in this game for over 20 years now, and worked with everyone from Beyonce to Lil Pump. We’re stoked to say that this master of industry smack talk is also, still a master of his style.

This EP brings together the tracks we’ve each heard singularly in the singles he’s been releasing throughout the year, with the tease of an EP in sight. Together with a string of massive name collaborators, they’ve built a really great release. Whilst the themes and sounds really jump around from track to track, they each feel like he’s injected a little bit of his production and writing prowess to give it that Diplo shine.

I reviewed the EP track by track on first listen below, so read on to get a feel for the sounds you’re in for and grab the project right yourself right here.

Worry No More (feat. Lil Yachty and Santigold)

Diplo is a collaborator, through and through. His singles and EP’s never really see him without someone by his side, but that shouldn’t be something that forms your opinion. It’s about how he selects his collaborators, his tracks, and what they bring to them. But is ‘Worry No More‘ a strong opening track? I’d give that statement about a 7/10 on the truth scale. The opening guitar is stunning, before switching to a tropical beat, completed with a hang drum and Santigold’s layered, pitched vocals. I may be slightly biased – as not the worlds’ biggest Lil Yachty fan, but I’m not sure how much he adds to the track. There’s nothing wrong with this track – I just think there are much stronger ones in the rest of the EP

Suicidal ( feat. Desiigner) 

I have to be real – that infamous Genius Lyric explanation video was very much needed for us all to understand more than 20% of what Desiigner was saying in his breakout single, ‘Panda’.

But that’s not to discredit this track.

Whilst I couldn’t specifically tell you majority of what Desiigner is on about, Diplo’s production stands out in this one. It’s littered with interesting sounds, from Asian influenced flutes to the plucks of a xylophone, rarely peek above the drum pattern (which slaps, by the way.) The chords have an emotional, heavy feel to it, especially in the moments when it drops simply to some atmospheric synths.

Look Back (feat. DRAM) 

In my opinion, ‘Look Back’ is easily the highlight of the EP. It’s in a completely different mood to the rest of the track list. DRAM’s voice is silky, strong and souful as hell. Gospel inspired vocals and chops back his beautiful melodic lines. Everything in this one, soars. The vocals shine over the soloing guitar, with the organic drums acting as risers. It reminds me of something from Childish Gambinos’ ‘Awaken! My Love’. It put me in a beautiful mood. If you listen to one track from this EP, it needs to be this one.

Wish (feat. Trippie Redd)

Wish is built on the solid base of soft saxes, jazzy piano, and low-fi drums. If I’d heard this instrumental on its own,  I wouldn’t have thought the ideal vocalist would be emo rap star Trippie Redd. But the contrast is interesting. His vocals slide from soaring high registers, to the rap equivilant of Dune Rats. (If you have no clue what I’m on about, peep those yelled lines. Would fit perfectly over some surf rock, am I right?)

It’s a really interesting combination, and I enjoyed this one more than I expected on first glance.

Colour Blind (feat. Lil Xan)

This track is really well balanced. The synths and beat have the floating, sparkly feel of a Flume track, but Lil Xan’s melody and the low-pitched backing vocals add a moody quality to it. The bridge of the track throws you into a hazy, ‘verbed out dream, complete with children shouting and muffled conversations. It’s a really fun tune that doesn’t knock you out.

Get It Right (feat. Goldlink and MØ)

The last time MØ and Diplo teamed up, they pretty much spawned a whole new era of pop music. You might remember that one, ‘Lean On’?  At least in my timeline of events, it shook the music world into a time where female topliners preversed into a wobbly, vocal-chop filled drop. And for good reason – it sounds great, and it works. With that award winning formula, they’ve teamed up with Goldlink to infuse that style with a quasi-inspirational feel. Just listen to those piano chords. You know what I’m talking about, right?

And I’m really openly here for it. ‘Get It Right’ tells the story of over coming difficult moments in life, and to end the EP on it is a nice move. As we’re all well aware, MØ is an absolute star. Her vocals pulls you through the emotions of the track – doubtful, to hopeful, then certain. It’s a radio winner, and a really enjoyable listen.

Overall, is the EP worth the hype it’s been building for the past year? I say yes.

There are some really strong songs on this release, particularly ‘Look Back’, ‘Color Blind’, and ‘Get It Right’. And although some may not be my suited to my personal taste, Diplo’s production and songwriting is an undeniable winner. It’s crisp as hell, on the ball style-wise, and he’s a master of merging the unexpected to create the next big thing. He’s shown off his ability to master every style the world loves. It’s why he’s been in the game for so long. With ‘California’, he’s definitely further cemented his status as a big wig of the music world. Stream the album in full below or right here. Long live Diplo. 


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