Chromeo Call ‘Head Over Heels’ Album a ‘Love Letter to Funk’: Pop Shop Podcast
Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
This week on the show, we’re joined by Chromeo! The dance-pop duo are back with their fifth studio album, Head Over Heels, out this Friday. Fans have already gotten a few tastes of the new project — including “Must’ve Been,” featuring DRAM, and “Bad Decision” — but what ties the whole project together is the group’s eternal love of funk music.
“The mission statement for this album, for us, was to kind of pen this overarching love letter to funk music and the different kinds of funk music that have influenced us throughout the years since we discovered funk music when we were teenagers all the way until now,” Dave 1 tells us, with P-Thugg adding, “But it’s also sort of, you know, going back to the real roots of funk. We made this one much more live, just a little less electronic than our previous two, three albums.”
Part of that history lesson involved calling up the masterminds behind some of their funky favorites, like paying homage to the Minneapolis sound by getting Jesse Johnson from The Time to play on a song or calling up Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins to co-produce a nod to late ’90s/early 2000s R&B.
But it’s not all about looking backward: There are some current stars along for the retro ride as well, including French Montana and Stefflon Don (“There are voices from today’s culture and in today’s musical landscape that we wanted to bring into Chromeo world,” Dave says). And then there’s the elusive The-Dream, whom the guys have been wanting to link up with for years. “He’s had a couple of songs that had that ’80s feel,” Dave says of The-Dream, whose epic co-writing credits include Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and who appears on the Head Over Heels standout track “Bedroom Calling.” “But we were like, ‘When we hear him, we hear almost like El DeBarge.’ And so we wanted to bring that out of him. And again, it’s not us reaching and trying to make a record that would sound like one of his albums or his songs. It’s him jumping into our universe and just being himself.”
Chromeo see themselves as sort of a bridge between the two worlds that Head Over Heels straddles. “We’re kind of at the nexus, you know?” Dave says. “We’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and early on, we got some co-signs from some funk royalty or whatever and at the same time … if you look at us at Coachella, we play the same day as French Montana and we play alongside Post Malone, all those guys. So we’re part of, hopefully, part of today’s music conversation, but our music harkens back to other traditions, and we just want it to be like a nexus for that.”
Head Over Heels arrives on Friday and Chromeo are currently on tour, with their next stop set for the Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware, this weekend. (Find all their tour dates here.)
Also on the show, we’ve got chart news about Kanye West’s Ye album, Post Malone’s latest Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, and Diana Ross’ return to the dance charts. Plus, we chat about the Tony Awards and Ariana Grande’s whirlwind engagement to Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson.
Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.