DJO - “DECIDE” Album Review

Story posted September 25, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Ethan Hetrick

Seeing an actor becoming a musician does not normally happen but stranger things have happened.

DJO is the actor Joe Keery who is known for portrayals of Steve Harrington in Netflix hit “Stranger Things” and Twitch based serial killer Kurt in “Spree.” Now the actor is back in his shoes as artist DJO and is releasing his second album two years after his debut album “Twenty Twenty” in 2020.

After teaser EPs, “Half Life” and “Figure You Out”, the audience finally got the  electric, jazz rock album “DECIDE.”

The album had lyrics that drew from DJO’s personal life such as anxiety, love, and nostalgia. Besides the topic of love, it was interesting to see the artist talk about personal issues like anxiety or even the odd feelings that come with nostalgia whether it is good or bad.

The album tone is livelier and poppy compared to softer album “Twenty Twenty.” The album’s background instrumentals have mixtures from all types of instruments whether it is a keyboard player, to a bass or a triangle, DJO merged them all together.

Yet, even with all the instruments there is an electric jazz sound to go along with the instrumentals. The electronic jazz music makes the album sound straight out of the 80’s.

Also, the DJO persona is straight out of the 70’s decade with the bowl cut, long mustache, and beige suit that he wears while he performs his album. On the cover of the album, he is dressed the same way, but they can only see his outline as he has become a shadow figure holding up a magic 8-ball that has the words DECIDE on it. The whole aesthetic of the cover really brings out the 80’s theme even more.

But since the album feels so much like the 80’s, it should have gone there too so the 2020’s doesn’t have to listen to it.

The album is not good. It feels outdated even though it is new. The overall electric jazz sound doesn’t hold up to other current jazz or the rock is nowhere near rock artists today.

The sound doesn’t separate itself from any other music today. Between each song, the electronic sound does not change. It’s hard to distinguish when one song ends, and another begins. Sometimes, that works good in an album like Coldplay’s “Music of Spheres” but in this case it cannot be due to the electronic sound not being good. It’s honestly boring and feels like a noise filler that tries to be spiritual.

The vocals aren’t awful, but it is hard to tell if the singing is autotune or not and without listening closely, it would not be easy to tell what DJO is singing about. The singing feels off the whole time.

Besides, the meaning of songs the album does not have much to offer. It just has nothing that stands out and it is trying too hard to be from the past that it does not resonate with the present.

It is hard to criticize such a talented actor’s attempt into the music world, but without his “Stranger Things” fame, this album would not be on anyone’s radar. DJO should stick to acting.

Rating: 3/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Change”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “I Want Your Video”


Ethan Hetrick is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact him, email