Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #33 Justice - Cross
Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one album and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 album of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#33 Justice - Cross
It's tough to "reflect" on an album that's still sitting square in the center of the public consciousness. "A Cross the Universe" came out five days ago, and Justice is still touring the world and making the remix rounds, all on the strength of their debut album, Cross. You'll hear a Justice track at every party for at least the next few years, and electro fans are still lining this one up on a weekly basis. So how can we look back on something that's still happening?
Then again, Cross came out 16+ months ago, so maybe the fact that it's "still happening" is the most impressive point. Long after the singles faded away (the static of the spinning radio dial at the beginning of "D.A.N.C.E." made me shiver with the regret of oversaturation for a good year), we're left with a superbly dirty production that swings so wildly in mood that our dancing feet never get tired. Picked apart, every track but one ("Tthhee Ppaarrttyy," an ironic title considering its status as the relative breather of the album) is a clubworthy single. Put together, Cross is a clubworthy album – something that's infinitely harder to achieve than a series of one-off hits. "Genesis" is an appropriately trumpeting opener, a dark and echoing basement for "Let There Be Light" to shine its glinting synthesizer whines through. "D.A.N.C.E." calls on Michael Jackson's funkier specter and the retro world of afros and synchronized dance spill out to "Newjack" before pivoting on the two-part "Phantom," together a near 8-minute epic that elevates the album from danceworthy to divine. Cut through a slight, almost romantic breather (as romantic as pounding dance grinders can be) before the last three tracks shred apart any sense of stability you may have developed. It's reckless and crunchy to the end, draining into a well of nervous energy. Upbeat beginnings, a serious turn, a relief from breakneck developments, and then a crazy climax - Cross carries the plotline of some epic piece of literature. It's good to see Justice live up to the grandeur of their Biblical allusions.
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.