Jacqueline’s Album Recommendations VI


Jacqueline Lemus-Govea, Editor-in-Chief

Razzmatazz, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (2020) 

The perfect number of band members is four, and three is acceptable, but not ideal, and more than four is too crowded. But two, that’s not a band. That’s not to degrade duos, these groups produce incredible music as well, but it’s structurally odd. Over the years, I’ve made room for these groups because of their abundance of creativity and disregard of the status quo, particularly IDKHOW (this is the shortened version of their name). 

This duo consists of members Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman. Weekes was briefly in another band called the Brobecks, and was also a part of Panic! at the Disco for a while (both bands have that pizzazz Weekes’ drags behind him). Given his presence in several bands, Weekes has shown the ability to tie together all of the elements that each band member brings, and present them in a way that flows cohesively without losing the listener in the process.

Lyrically, the album screams 2020, from quarantine life to other earth-shattering dilemmas. They also clearly hint at the racial issues that were, and are, being widely discussed. I especially heard these messages in Mad IQs: 


I’m a voluntary victim

Watch your colonial tongue

I’ll watch you tighten the noose 


It’s self explanatory, but it was bold for them to feature these lyrics in the song. In a time where these long-term pockets of discriminatory history continue to affect people, this lyrical portion grips the heart with a cold fist. This lyric doesn’t need to be interpreted that way, but that was the first avenue it took me through, it could equally be about social scrutiny and how we aren’t allowed to learn from the mistakes we make. 

The duo adds instrumental components that give their songs textures other bands tend to leave out. When musicians don’t include those key aspects of the music listening experience, it leaves listeners wanting more, so it was refreshing to hear the nuances in this album. Weekes and Seaman found a renovated, young way to adhere to listeners by creating a timeless experience with the subtle addition of older-sounding instrumentals (which is difficult to achieve).

 I especially enjoyed how they created a few moments of jazz-y instrumentals with the additions of saxophone solos in the title track, Razzmatazz. The saxophone is phenomenal; but at times it can feel as though the musician is trying too hard. I didn’t get that energy from this song at all. So, if you’re into jazz music, but in moderation, Razzmatazz is for you. 

My sister and I have the CD of this album and the two members are supposed to be test subjects in some kind of experiment. I didn’t flip through the entire lyricbook that came with the CD, but the layout was visually pleasing (much like the cover). There’s a lot of new things you notice every time you look through it, which adds years of life to the album. The album’s color scheme contrasts nicely with the warmness of the off-white in the background. 

Also, the band name is absurdly lengthy, let me explain: it’s not that bad. There’s no telling why they decided to go through this route, but it adds the same level of shock value when songs are so long that letters are spilling off of the page. Relax, just call them IDKHOW. 

Despite this being produced by a duo, I like all of the songs, some more than others, but they all carry their own qualities on their backs with ease. My favorites are: New Invention, Clusterhug, and Nobody Likes the Opening Band.