Giorgio Moroder, the dance music pioneer who helped shape disco with Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" and "I Feel Love," has returned.
Buoyed by his Grammy-winning collaboration with Daft Punk, the 75-year-old producer-composer set out to assemble his first album since his 1985 collaboration with Human League's Philip Oakey.
"Deja Vu" (RCA) arrives at a time when pop music is very much in debt to Moroder's pounding, four-on-the-floor dance beat and swirling synthesizers. And these songs, sung by chart-topping A-listers that include Sia, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, sound perfectly at home in today's pop mainstream.
However, they also bear an undeniable Moroder twist. On the album's title track, Sia offers a bit of Summer-like mystery to the glittery pop surroundings before giving into the party atmosphere. Minogue's take on "Right Here, Right Now," which has already topped the dance charts, has a timeless feel, as if it could fill a dance floor in any of the past four decades.
"Tempted," Moroder's collaboration with Seaford native Matthew Koma, uses Koma's distinctive voice to give an edge to the dizzying, new-disco backdrop that sounds like it could have come from Daft Punk. Charli XCX's collaboration "Diamonds" is another bold, successful experiment, with Moroder giving her a galloping drum track and pulsing synth riff to battle.
However, not everything works that well. Spears' robotic, over-processed vocals on her remake of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" drag the song down, even as Moroder gives her as much musical support as he can. (His odd, Auto-Tuned vocals, unfortunately, do not help matters.)
In some cases, like "Don't Let Go" with Mikky Ekko, the singer simply gets overwhelmed by the production, making the song seem less like a Moroder original and more like one of the countless current copies inspired by him. However, most of "Deja Vu" finds Moroder adding to his already legendary legacy.
THE GRADE B+