Diplo’s latest release, under his Thomas Wesley pseudonym, is the intriguingly titled, ‘Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil’, released today on his Mad Decent label, under exclusive license Columbia Records.
Essentially a country album – with a twist – it’s a series of collabs with big name artists from across many different genres, ensuring it’ll have a wide ranging audience. It starts out sounding a little like the soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino film, in a half sung, half spoken word introduction by Orville Peck. And then ‘So Long’, featuring Cam, is a pop-Americana track that will get you up out of your chair for a bit of a dance…line if you like. But then it changes somewhat. Although there are country artists on the record, Diplo has taken them out of their comfort zone and dropped them into a slightly different musical style, and it works. Included in this Diplo project is country singer Thomas Rhett, who joins Young Thug on ‘Dance With Me’, a song with a Latin vibe, which while a departure from Rhett’s usual style, nonetheless suits him very well. Zac Brown also makes an appearance, alongside Danielle Bradbery, on the upbeat ‘Hometown’, another song which goes against type, the upbeat pop track still has a country flavour, albeit with the Diplo treatment.
‘Lonely’, with the Jonas Brothers, is a laid back pop rock track, with the Jo Bros vocals working perfectly with Diplo’s electronica.
Diplo, real name Wesley Pentz, has been working on the idea of the album for a while now, introducing it to the public eye at Stagecoach’s first ever Late Night dance part last year, where he welcomed Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus for the live debut of ‘Old Town Road’. Diplo’s remix of the track also appears on the album, and is a fitting final song on the album.
Billy Ray’s daughter Noah Cyrus also sings on the album, with the song ‘On Mine’, showing she has missed out on none of the talent of her older sister and father, with strong vocals and a 90s tinged track.
Apart from Diplo, who of course features on every track, only two other artists feature more than once. Julia Michaels joins Morgan Wallen on a remix of ‘Heartless’, while the original version also appears. Michaels also sings on ‘Real Life Stuff’, with Clever, channelling Tracy Chapman vocally.
‘Do Si Do’, featuring Blanco Brown, is possibly the most country sounding track on the record – the whistling and harmonica, as well as the line-dancing rhythm add to this effect – but there’s something really sinister about the vocals. It’d probably fit into Dark Country rather than blue jeans country.
Similarly, ‘Heartbreak’, featuring Ben Burgess, veers into the region of full-blown country, but it loses its way somewhere and comes closer to sounding like Niall Horan. Not saying that’s a bad thing of course!
‘Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil’ is out today. You can stream and download it here.