Twenty Twenty by Djo- Album Review


Twenty Tweytny by Djo album cover

Andy Mourelatos, A&E Editor

Joe Keery is known to most as Steve Harrington on the hit Netflix show, ‘Stranger Things,’ but has been making music since 2015. Keery was one of the guitarists for the physiological-rock band, Post Animal. In the short span of just over a year, he announced his departure from the band and started a new solo musical project.

As of 2019, Keery announced his departure as a touring member of the band, saying, “It’s important to disassociate Steve from Stranger Things to the band because I think it will eventually hurt the band.” The band is still touring without Keery, but it is unknown if he will return for the band’s next project.


Since leaving Post Animal, Keery has been working on his own solo project, under the name Djo. On July 19th, 2019, he self-released Djo’s first single, ‘Roddy.’ The single was sporting a 80’s aesthetic, with lyrics of self-reflection and insecurities. It was followed up with two more, ‘Chateau (Feel Alright)‘ on August 9th and the final single ‘Mortal Projections ‘ on August 30th. With the release of the final single, Djo announced that his debut album, Twenty Twenty, would be released 2 weeks later on September 13, 2019.

Djo’s debut album is surprisingly ambitious for his first project and can be defined as experimental, and physiological while fitting the aesthetic in the singles. This is apparent in the intro track, ‘Showtime,’ which is short introduction for the rest of the album. There is a distant guitar riff and a deep-voiced Djo repeating the title of the track, ending with a tape beginning to spin in what I assume to be a recording studio. This leads into the abrupt ‘Personal Lies’ which has Keery singing about his ambition with Djo, but also his insecurities. The instrumental bridge, like the whole song, is a driving beat that perfectly spotlights the wavy guitars and drum beats.

‘Just for the Ride’ is one of the best deep cuts on the album, let’s Keery’s vocals take a front sear for the first time in the album. The song is just about laying back and enjoying life as it flies by you. This song is one of the best examples of Keery’s amazing vocal performances, with supplementing guitars and synthesizers joining him.

The album seems to slow down after two singles, and the songs ‘Ring,’ ‘BNBG’ and ‘Mortal Projections’ seem to be recycling the same ideas. ‘Total Control’ features vocals from the same deep-voiced Djo as the intro track, and serves as a nice interlude before the volatile ‘Flash Mountain.’ This song is the best example of the fantastic instrumentation this album can serve up. It is a fast and catchy song which has many instrumental bridges. Prominent guitar, synthesizer, and drum beats work together to reach the climax of the album.

The last song ‘Mutual Future (Repeat),’ is one of the best examples of an album conclusion that I’ve ever heard. The track, just under 5 minutes long, has Keery singing about his lover and eventually needing to accept mutual breakup. The instrumentals drive this song to the end of the album, reusing the distant guitar riff from ‘Showtime,’ as a send off to the album. It combines every good element of the album and does not disappoint those who stuck around to listen until the end.

Twenty Twenty is a very groovy and calm throwback to the musical style of old for a new generation. Its psychedelic instruments and smooth transitions make it an amazingly calming listen from start to finish. I hope that Djo can add a few new ideas to the mix for his next project and make something that people can keep coming back to. Until then, Twenty Twenty is a great album that can be a stepping stone for Joe Keery’s future musical career.