Joe Keery, known for playing Steve Harrington in “Stranger Things,” does more than just fight demogorgons and flaunt his perfect hair while doing it.
Under the stage name Djo, Keery released his second album titled “Decide” on Sept. 16. After listening to it on repeat, it is easily one of my favorite albums from 2022.
“Decide” is an indie alternative album composed of 13 songs. Keery was inspired by iconic musicians such as Tame Impala and Talking Heads throughout the planning stages of this album. His unique style has a futuristic and psychedelic feel that kept me enticed and intrigued for its entirety.
The album begins with “Runner,” which deals with the topic of change, similar to the other songs.
“Love and hate decide / Money grows and dies / People never change / But I have to try,” Djo sings.
Each song shares a related message about how everyone goes through some type of transitional period in their lives, usually around their mid-20s, and how this period made Keery the person he is today.
“Fool” is the fourth track on this album, opening a new idea to the album as well as a new sound. This upbeat and catchy tune expresses the nostalgic foolishness of young adulthood, going the extra mile for a person who only sees you as a fool.
This is followed up by “End of Beginning” shortly after. My favorite of the album, this song has been on repeat in my headphones for the last two weeks.
Not only does this song introduce the listener to Keery’s killer pipes, but it gives off a bittersweet feeling that is exhibited through the purity and honesty within his lyrics and voice.
“And when I’m back in Chicago, I feel it / Another version of me, I was in it / I wave goodbye to the end of beginning,” Djo sings.
Keery talks about his difficulties moving away from his hometown of Chicago and growing into adulthood. This raw piece of Keery doesn’t always come out so easily within his music, making this song more sentimental than some others on this album.
Like most albums, not every song is a 10 out of 10; some can drag. “Climax” and “Half Life” come to mind when considering that. Both of these songs seemed mediocre when compared to the other songs within “Decide.”
“I Want Your Video” is a fun, upbeat and danceable song that can be catchy for any listener. This seventh beat off of the album completely contradicts songs such as “Go For It” and “Climax,” making it stand out as an easy favorite.
The next song, “Change,” was released by Djo as a single on June 22. This song got a lot of attention and released Djo’s new look and sound that was to come with “Decide.”
The album concludes with “Figure You Out” and “Slither.” These two songs talk about moving forward, attempting to leave whoever you were in the past and dealing with what you have made of yourself up until this point in life.
“We all wanna be someone / At the end of the day,” Djo sings in “Slither.”
These are the last lyrics of the album and they completely sum up the idea of “Decide.”
As an actor, Keery has so many different personas, and yet at the end of the day, “Decide” shows he is just a man from Chicago who had to choose who he truly wanted to be, navigating life as a young star.