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Posted on May 27th, 2015 (2:00 pm) by Aaron Tremper

While Swedish producer Alesso had already impressed the likes of Avicii and David Guetta with his 2010 EP, Alesso EP, his mainstream breakthrough occurred after apprenticing under Swedish House Mafia member Sebastian Ingrosso in early 2011. Introducing the young producer to the art of DJing, it was only a matter of time before the likes of DJ Mag and Madonna would hail Alesso’s live performances as the “future of dance music.” Despite the Queen of Reinvention's predictions, Alesso’s latest work isn’t pioneering new paths within dance music. With his debut album, Forever, Alesso has assembled 14 cuts of radio-friendly electro-house that fits snugly in with his EDM contemporaries.

Nevertheless, Forever features crisp production and A-list contributions, including Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and “the saddest girl in Sweden,” Tove Lo. Fulfilling the expectations of any chart-topping EDM album, Forever will undeniably satisfy Electric Daisy Carnival attendees and then some; Alesso’s release, however, lacks a definable sound that separates his work from that of his major influences. While the innovative timbres of deadmau5 or the musicality of Zedd are immediately recognizable from their debut releases, Alesso struggles to transition from mixing apprentice to EDM master.

While not iconic, Alesso’s rave anthems offer a glimpse into what a seasoned Alesso might sound like. “PAYDAY” is a menacing sneer of a track, complete with snare rolls, choir interludes and slinky synth leads. “Tear The Roof Up” plays like a Jack Ü rehearsal track, blending club sleaze with classically-inspired, minor key arpeggios. Meanwhile, the bookend tracks of "Profondo" and "Immortale" feature cinematic strings, bells, and sweeps that flirt with a narrative framework that, unfortunately, was never fleshed out.

On the flip side, most of the album consists of radio crossover tracks. On “Cool,” Roy English sings about playing it, well, cool over a sample of the addictive Kylie Minogue single, “Get Outta My Way.” Although “Get Outta My Way” proves an ingenious sample, the adaptation flounders in the face of cliché lyrics and unfitting synth additions. On the album’s highest-charting single to date, “Heroes (We Could Be),” Tove Lo invokes EDM empress, Robyn, in her most optimistic performance yet. Along with the promotional single, “If It Wasn’t For You,” and the Ryan Tedder contribution, “Scars,” “Heroes” stands as one of the album’s focal points.

Unabashedly commercial, Forever hardly underperforms as a standalone record. Fault, however, lies in Alesso’s failure to exceed the DJs who laid the groundwork for much of the album’s sound (For instance, cuts like “Destinations” and “Under Control” sound unapologetically Swedish House Mafia). Still, Alesso’s incorporation of flavorful rave music and cinematic underpinnings to his debut hint at a young producer just starting to explore the range of his aural palette. Between all the samples, formulaic structures, and generic lyrics, however, Forever is far from visionary—despite Madge’s claims.

Tracklist:

  1. Profondo
  2. PAYDAY
  3. Heroes (We Could Be) (feat. Tove Lo)
  4. Tear The Roof Up
  5. Cool (feat. Roy English)
  6. Scars (feat. Ryan Tedder)
  7. Sweet Escape (feat. Sirena)
  8. Destinations
  9. If It Wasn’t For You
  10. In My Blood
  11. Under Control (feat. Hurts)
  12. All This Love (feat. Noonie Bao)
  13. If I Lose Myself (feat. OneRepublic)
  14. Immortale
Alesso - Forever
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

63 / 100
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