‘Diamonds and Dancefloors’ is a gem of musical genius

Almost three years after releasing her debut album “Heaven and Hell,” Ava Max dropped her sophomore album “Diamonds and Dancefloors” Friday, securing her spot in the pop-diva scene. Outdoing her 2020 chart-toppers such as “Sweet but Psycho” and “Kings and Queens,” Max delivered a 40-minute album that throws listeners into a whirlwind of a club filled with ballads, disco bops and catchy beats to get people on their feet. 

Max mentioned in a recent “Rolling Stone” interview the album follows the heartbreak that Max endured over the last three years. Fury and sadness aside, the album focuses on growth and recovery following a breakup and finding the beauty in dancing the pain away. Max dropped several snippets of her forthcoming songs in the weeks leading up to the album’s release, letting fans sample some of the tracks. Working alongside famed producer Cirkut, the album’s production is crisp and compelling.

“Million Dollar Baby” has become a staple on people’s playlists and TikTok videos. Riffing off of early 2010s songs, this upbeat bop perfectly sets the mood of the album while encouraging listeners to let go of their problems. The lead single “Maybe You’re The Problem” shows just how Max felt about her breakups. Dropping back in April 2022, the single bleeds with anger and angst, giving Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” a run for its money. The revenge continues later on with the falsetto-dripping “Cold As Ice” that has biting lyrics such as “I keep a pistol under my pillow at night/I close the curtains and I sharpen my knife.”

Heartbreak sounds best when paired with lively lyrics and Max does just that through catchy melodies shown on songs such as “Ghost” and “One of Us.” The former song references being haunted by memories while the latter is a begging power ballad about one-sided love and the desire to stay together. “In the Dark” approaches the subject of hookup culture through the lyrics of “the lights turn on/when I wake up, you’re gone/why do you only love me in the dark?” The bright beats and captivating lyrics almost make listeners forget their pain.

Max ventures into discography by mixing pulsating synths to create an electric atmosphere that deserves to be blasted at the loudest speaker setting. “Sleepwalker” turns to gritty guitar while “Turn off the Lights” transforms pumping bass into the next club anthem. “Hold Up (Wait a Minute)” takes ’80s pop and transforms infidelity into indifference with lyrics as “out here pouring wine/so don’t whine/cuz it ain’t gonna wind me up.”

“Get Outta My Heart” continues the party with forcing an ex to repetitively get out of their head, car, bed and heart, the echoing chorus making for a sassy departure of a relationship. The titular track’s opening notes create a mesmerizing, almost galactic entrance and reinvents club music of the future. The invigorating beats echo lyrics Max wrote during the Covid-19 pandemic. When the beat drops, listeners will be begging to be “drowning in glitter and gold” and demanding to find a dancefloor to let loose on. Max sensually closes out with “Dancing’s Done,” shutting off the previous chapter of her life and looking forward to what’s next.

Max has created a spectacle unlike anything been produced the last few years. It’s sexy, it’s fierce, it’s the club everyone always dreamed of attending. Balancing cleverly crafted lyrics along with explosive beats, “Diamonds and Dancefloors” creates an exhilarating intoxication for the senses. 

Header Photo: Ava Max’s sophomore album ‘Diamonds and Dancefloors’ is an upcoming club staple. (Photo Courtesy of Spotify)

Write to Emma Johnson at emma.johnson.5@mnsu.edu

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