Woman Worldwide album cover
Woman Worldwide

Justice

2018
Because Music

After 2008’s A Cross the Universe and 2013’s Access All Arenas, Justice flirted with redundancy by putting together a third “concert album” in ten years with Woman Worldwide — the catch being that it wasn’t a real concert album, but an in-studio recreation that now feels like it stands as the ideal snapshot of their first ten years. If Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 is the closest comparison point — a session that refracts the group’s discography in on itself and finds new angles to previously familiar ideas — Woman Worldwide actually pulls off an even more audacious trick in harmonizing their dual-personality split between scuzzy toughness and cheerful giddiness. Woman lead single “Safe and Sound” bookends the set as a prime example, let loose as a freestanding electro-disco-acid vamp for an opener and closing it out as a reprise rubbing elbows with the similarly bright-eyed let-the-children-boogie anthems “D.A.N.C.E.” and “Fire”. The journey that Woman Worldwide goes on between those points is almost overwhelmingly attention-deficit-friendly, the kind of unpredictable journey through fluctuating moods and vibes that usually takes a willfully eclectic multi-artist DJ set to pull off this well: flipping from sunny filter house to their more infamous hesher-prog tendencies of Cross-era cuts like “Genesis” and “Phantom” (fused into a Godzilla-goes-giallo beast), toying with an amalgam of “Heavy Metal”’s digital-baroque riffage and a chromed-out space-disco revamp of “DVNO,” and retrofitting the Trevor Horn-meets-NEU! drive of “Audio, Video, Disco” into a thesis on why Judas Priest’s Turbo is underrated. In some cases, these revamps wind up feeling like the best and most bombastic (pardon the redundancy) versions of themselves — Woman deep cut “Alakazam!” in particular is elevated from the original’s already-anthemic graveyard b-boy cipher into a stratospheric cathedral of triumphant disco euphoria that makes “The Final Countdown” sound like hold music in comparison.

Nate Patrin

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