Don Diablo’s 2020 career trajectory has been vexing to say the least. With nearly a dozen releases already under his belt this year, as well as a “COVID-proof” performance in Germany and a questionable cover of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, he now launches a new ’80s side project with singer Denzel Chain called Camp Kubrick, a nod to American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.
The project’s debut single, “Johnny’s Online,” is out now. Pulled straight out of the ’80s with synths and drums to match, the song is well produced and has all the flash of a wonderful decade in music. But it appears all style and no substance.
“I have always cherished a secret love for pop music from the ’80s,” Don says. “It not only makes me feel nostalgic, it also transports me back into a time when things felt less complicated.”
The song’s title, “Johnny’s Online,” is a bit odd, as well. The world wide web was not publicly available until ’91, objectively not a part of the ’80s. But we can look past that. As for Denzel Chain’s performance, it’s brilliant. Don says Denzel’s voice “blew his mind” and it’s a perfect complement to the ’80s style sound.
However, if we want to admire the ’80s, there are tens of thousands of songs we can look back on now to do so. If Camp Kubrick is to truly succeed, it needs to be more than just nostalgia and “oh those were the times” mentality. There’s a lot of potential here, make no mistake. And “Johnny’s Online” isn’t a bad song by any means, it just needs its own soul.