The Future Will Come

The Future Will Come is the second album by American electronic artist The Juan MacLean. It was released by DFA Records on April 21, 2009. The album is heavily influenced by British synthpop band The Human League, and it incorporates many themes from science fiction. The Future Will Come received somewhat positive reviews from music critics and yielded three singles: "Happy House", "The Simple Life", and "One Day".

The Future Will Come
The Future Will Come.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 21, 2009
RecordedFlymax Studios (Woodstock, New York)
Genre
Length60:26
LabelDFA
ProducerThe Juan MacLean, The DFA
The Juan MacLean chronology
Visitations
(2006)
The Future Will Come
(2009)
DJ-Kicks
(2010)

Following the release of "Happy House", the band embarked on a European tour to promote the single and returned to the U.S. before the release of "The Simple Life".[1] After the album was released the following year, the Juan MacLean promoted it with a one-month European tour followed by a U.S. tour with Swedish electronic musician The Field.[2]

RecordingEdit

 
The Juan MacLean performing on the DFA + Kompakt Tour in 2009.

John MacLean and Nancy Whang wrote the album at a studio in Woodstock, New York.[3] Several of the songs were co-written with Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel from synthpop duo Holy Ghost!. MacLean stated that he wanted "to use dance music production techniques to make pop songs."[4] To move away from the common first-person narrative used in popular music, they decided to feature their voices equally. MacLean and Whang sought examples of songs that had male and female narrators but struggled to find any aside from The Human League.[5]

The music on The Future Will Come is influenced by Detroit techno, especially the Belleville Three. MacLean used the Roland SH-101 as his main synthesizer lead and the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer.[4] Influenced by electronic band Kraftwerk, many of the songs use robot metaphors to describe emotional detachment in relationships.[5] The album's futuristic lyrics are inspired by science fiction writers Philip K. Dick and William Gibson as well as dystopian films such as Blade Runner, Logan's Run, and THX 1138.[4]

SinglesEdit

The 12-minute closing track "Happy House" was released as the lead single in early 2008. The song's lyrics are cheerful and romantic, with Whang providing distant-sounding vocals.[6] In a review for The Guardian, Dorian Lynskey likened the song to the work of Chicago house musician Larry Heard,[7] and Pitchfork reviewer Douglas Wolk noted the similarity between the song's piano riff and that of Dubtribe Sound System's "Do It Now".[8]

Remixes were commissioned by artists including VHS or Beta, Will Saul, Paul Woolford, and Matthew Dear. "Happy House" ranked number 37 on the 2008 Pazz & Jop survey,[9] and Pitchfork listed it number 20 on its list of the year's best tracks.[8] The music video for "Happy House" was directed by The Wilderness and premiered in August 2009. It shows Whang in a futuristic veil, accompanied by back-up dancers dressed in white. They are illuminated by colorful LEDs.[10]

Opening track "The Simple Life" was released as a single later in 2008. In it, MacLean sings the verses in a conversational style, with Whang singing the chorus. Its synthesizer arpeggios were compared to the work of Italian producer Giorgio Moroder.[11] "One Day" became the album's final single in 2009. The rave song has MacLean and Whang responding to each other with spiteful lines about a breakup.[6] Its music video was directed by Patrick Longstreth.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic71/100[12]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [11]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[13]
The Guardian     [7]
NME8/10[14]
Pitchfork Media7.4/10[6]
PopMatters5/10[15]
Rolling Stone     [16]

The Future Will Come received somewhat positive reviews from music critics.[12] Entertainment Weekly described the album as "by and large, a fun ride, all squiggly synth wah-wahs, airy vocal coos, and funked-up drums".[13] Pitchfork Media described the music as "post-disco dance-pop aesthetics intersecting and merging in ways that transcend cheap retro", adding that the use of more longer tracks would have allowed it "a bit more breathing room."[6] NME described the music as "Dionysian disco: dynamic, decadent and utterly brilliant."[14]

Reviewers were mixed on the album's use of mechanical musical themes. PopMatters wrote that the influence of "future shock and technological singularity are clearly on MacLean's mind…his music does not seem to be advancing in brave new directions."[15] AllMusic compared the album to the group's debut Less Than Human and praised its "more user-friendly approach, injecting warmth and buoyancy into the typical machine music tropes of house and techno."[11] Rolling Stone agreed, commenting that the relative lack of programming had allowed for more "stretched-out, club-wrecking grooves".[16] The Guardian, however, opined that MacLean "frustratingly boxes himself into the synth-pop format of the Human League." It elaborated that Whang's caustic responses were enjoyable but "Maclean's own flat Phil Oakeyisms not so much."[7]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."The Simple Life"Alex Frankel, Juan Maclean, Nancy Whang, Nicholas Millhiser8:36
2."The Future Will Come"Maclean4:53
3."One Day"Frankel, Maclean, Whang4:15
4."A New Bot"Maclean, Whang3:14
5."Tonight"Frankel, Maclean, Whang10:06
6."No Time"Maclean, Whang3:52
7."Accusations"Frankel, Maclean, Whang5:29
8."The Station"Frankel, Maclean, Whang, Millhiser3:37
9."Human Disaster"Maclean3:44
10."Happy House"Frankel, Maclean, Whang, Millhiser12:27

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Juan Maclean Readies New Single + Tour Dates". The FADER. August 12, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  2. ^ Breihan, Tom (April 16, 2009). "The Field and the Juan MacLean Team Up for North American Tour". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Simon, Rosemary (March–April 2009). "Back and Forth" (PDF). The FADER (60): 34. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Hirji, Zia (August 10, 2009). "The Juan MacLean". Ion. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Grandy, Eric (June 4, 2009). "Inhuman League". The Stranger. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Patrin, Nate (March 27, 2009). "The Juan MacLean: The Future Will Come". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Lynskey, Dorian (April 9, 2009). "The Juan Maclean: The Future will Come". The Guardian. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Wolk, Douglas (December 15, 2008). "The 100 Best Tracks of 2008". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "New York Pazz and Jop Singles". The Village Voice. 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Shepherd, Julianne Escobedo (August 10, 2009). "Video: The Juan Maclean, "Happy House"". The FADER. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Shim, Dave. "The Future Will Come - The Juan MacLean". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "The Future Will Come Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah (April 24, 2009). "The Future Will Come". Entertainment Weekly (1044/1045): 105. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Hoban, Alex (April 6, 2009). "Album review: The Juan MacLean". NME. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Britt, Thomas (April 13, 2009). "The Juan MacLean: The Future Will Come". PopMatters. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  16. ^ a b O'Donnell, Kevin (April 2, 2009). "The Future Will Come". Rolling Stone (1075): 83.

External linksEdit