It’s been three years since Steve Aoki’s last Neon Future album, and the musical landscape has changed a lot, even since just 2015. Think about the fact, for instance, that Marshmello was barely a blip in the world; “Closer” by The Chainsmokers hadn’t come out yet; Zedd was still making EDM with True Colors. You get the idea.
On Neon Future II, the collaborators that Aoki worked with were a sign of the times: Snoop Lion, Matthew Koma, Linkin Park, Walk Off The Earth, Harrison, Rivers Cuomo, and J.J. Abrams. Now three years later, Neon Future has expanded into five more songs than the previous iteration, and the collaborator list is similarly updated: Louis Tomlinson, Lil Yachty, Lauren Jauregui, Bella Thorne, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, Daddy Yankee and Elvis Crespo, and Bill Nye, among others.
Neon Future III isn’t a lesson in production the same way that G Jones’ The Ineffable Truth was, nor is it a evolution of sound like RL Grime’s NOVA was. What Neon Future III is, and doesn’t pretend to be otherwise, is a fantastic collection of easy listening songs that are fun to dance to and are pretty safe.
And that’s not a bad thing. The world needs safe songs, tracks to play at house parties and on long drives in the car. None of the songs on Neon Future III are “bad.” There isn’t a song I’d skip on the whole album, and even though it’s no production masterclass, that’s still saying something.
“Neon Future III is a continuation of the narrative of the saga of the Neon Future concept. It’s been 3 years since Neon Future II came out,” said Aoki. “Neon Future has always been about crossing genres and also crossing outside of music. This time around, I made a song with Bill Nye. We did a song with JJ Abrams on Neon Future II and Ray Kurzweil on the first one. I always like to include all elements of musical inspiration in a song. It doesn’t have to just be about artists.”
The album ends on an unexpected collaboration, “Noble Gas” with Bill Nye – yes, the Science Guy. The track is part spoken word, part apocalyptic prophecy, part dark electro banger. And it’s a perfect end note to a wildly enjoyable album.
Check out Steve Aoki’s Neon Future III below.
Photo via Rukes.com