Big Data released the critically acclaimed single "Dangerous" featuring electro-rock band Joywave in early 2014. The album 2.0 was finally released yesterday after over a year of teasing songs. It features an all-star cast of collaborations: Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Twin Shadow, Kimbra, and Bear Hands among others.
Big Data, an electronic music project helmed by producer Alan Wilkis, uses flashy electronics with a dark thematic tone. Lyrically, Big Data portrays a world in which we are being followed; this paranoia is most evident on the best song of the record, "Snowed In", an opus about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Featuring Rivers Cuomo on vocals, it is key to both facets of Big Data's approach that recur on the album: it has fierce, pounding synths and builds up to a flighty, radio-friendly chorus.
"Dangerous" is another highlight. It's an anthem as claustrophobic as Rodwell's classic "Somebody's Watching Me", but it speaks to something larger than just being watched: it's about being watched by an entity, whether it be governmental or corporate. In an age where data collecting is a norm, many people are asking, "What do they want from me?"
"Sick For Me" features Bear Hands, another up and coming alt rock act who themselves had a minor hit last year with "Giants". It starts off with a pulsating beat reminiscent of Peter Schilling. Rarely does synth-rock find the golden mean between pounding, but beautiful electronic music and accessibility. Whenever an act achieves this, musically it's a revelation.
White Sea, aka Morgan Kibby, a former collaborator with M83, has a star turn in "The Business of Emotion", which was released as the second single from the album. It is beautiful and is about preying on the emotions of others for personal or financial gain. It has an absolutely bombastic beat and is brimming with soul and compassion.
So what to make of all this paranoia? Although one can argue that it's a silly concept, 2.0 brings depth to what is usually a skin-deep enterprise. Some people will embrace the message, others will just shrug their shoulders. The beauty in this album is that it is so good, you can ignore the big ideas if they don't suit you.