“CHAOS NOW*” Review

A song by song reflection of the high energy third album from singer/songwriter, Jean Dawson


Evan Johnson


Least Favorite Song: HUH*

Jean Dawson’s “CHAOS NOW*” is an explosive combination of genres that combines aspects of punk, rap and noise pop into an eclectic and excellent album. 

The album begins with THREE HEADS* which is a high energy rock influenced track with a chorus that some may find repetitive, but I find easy to follow and even easier to sing along to. 

On the second track, “GLORY*,” Dawson opens by addressing others’ perceptions of him and expressing feelings of inadequacy before the instrumental picks up and transforms into a more layered and noisy sound. I think the song is at its best during the chorus while the other sections of the song don’t keep my attention as well.   

 On the third track, “KIDS EAT PILLS*,” topics such as dreaming inside of a dream and escaping those dreams are present around an incredibly exciting and almost pirate-esque guitar riff. The song calms down a little after the halfway mark with a much welcomed Isaiah Rashad feature accompanied by intricate acoustic guitar picking. My only complaint about this song is that it is too short.

 “POSITIVE ONE NEGATIVE ONE*” starts out slow for about a minute before ramping up with distorted and noisy electric guitar riffs to launch the song into a more intense mood. The intense drum pattern right after the beat switch is very appealing to my ears and works well to accompany the other instruments. 

On “BAD FRUIT*,” Dawson begins by comparing himself to things like volcanoes and tornadoes as the song gradually builds up with many orchestral sounds present throughout. After the second verse, the song begins to feel too sing-songy and reminiscent of overproduced pop songs. The track is then immediately saved by the Earl Sweatshirt feature. Auto-tuned Earl is not something I knew I needed until I had it. 

The thing that stuck out to me the most on track six, “0-HEROES*,” is that I actually find it a little bit annoying until the chorus hits. The song is very back and forth. At times Dawson sounds very repetitive and clashes with the instrumental and then quickly transitions into expertly arranged riffs with vocals that mesh quite well. 

Track seven, “SCREW FACE*,” starts out incredibly strong, which makes the disappointing majority of it even more painful. Fast-paced lyrics about interaction with law enforcement take place over an incredibly compelling and energizing melody. After about a fourth of the way through, however, the song slows and transitions into a drastically different sound with a disappointingly generic guitar solo near the end. 

Track eight has an infectious hook that constantly gets stuck in my head. The song has a great pace that doesn’t leave me feeling bored. Near the end of the song however, there is a whistling solo that feels shoehorned in and a bit corny.  Nevertheless, It is a solid song that I feel embodies Dawson’s energy as an artist greatly. 

“BLACK MICHAEL JACKSON*” had my jaw on the floor after listening for the first time. The circling guitar melody accompanied by synth leads work great on this song, but the focal point of it is the George Clanton feature. Clanton clearly had a part in production as the end of the song presents an ethereal electronic sound that is also present in his solo music. The ending of this song makes me feel like I’ve just entered the robot afterlife and I’m about to spend eternity in cyberspace paradise.

 Track 10, “HUH*” contrasts the previous song mostly because there wasn’t anything interesting for my ears to latch onto. The song has a very dark mood and interesting riffs.

“SICK OF IT*” is a short and sweet upbeat song to follow the rather brooding previous track. It has a fast tempo and a peppy cadence to the lyrics. Nothing completely mind blowing about this track, but incredibly far from underwhelming.

“PIRATE RADIO*” is a rather shocking stylistic change for Dawson. I was not expecting an orchestra focused track to close out the album, but it did an excellent job at providing a serene yet epic finale to the project. 

“CHAOS NOW*” is simply an incredible album from an incredible artist. This LP was a great start to the month of October and will continue to be in heavy rotation for the following fall months. Dawson definitely lived up to the quality of his sophomore album, “Pixel Bath,” and continues to shock me with his talent.