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18 June, 2014@12:59 am

It took major record labels a good twenty years to completely destroy hip-hop music. Robbed of every last ounce of credibility, creativity, and soul, over the course of two decades, they diluted it completely, turning into the abhorrently boring bi-product of its former self that it is today. Dance music? They achieved this same feat in just five years.

Tiesto is a brand name long affiliated with dance music, however his origins began in trance, with massive underground hits like “Lethal Industry” and “Adagio For Strings”. These weren’t the kind of tracks that you could sing along to – in fact, they had no lyrics – just addictive, infectious melodys that would destroy any overseas rave or festival. But with the birth of “EDM”, the bastard child of progressive and electro house music, Tiesto’s tune suddenly changed, as he adopted the sound as his own, with massive tracks like “Maximal Crazy”, “Zero 76″ with Hardwell and “C’mon” with Diplo. These tracks helped define the new big room sound just three years ago, still untouched by industry evils.

But the EDM bubble has expanded incredibly fast, with fierce early 2000′s dot com boom era levels of competition, and everyone chasing the dream. Natural songwriters like Calvin Harris and Zedd have been able to churn out hits with both ease and integrity, while many others have struggled to keep up. Despite Tiesto being one of the biggest “brands” in dance music, his new album pulls the curtain back on a genre in decline.

Determined to capitalize on the stateside dance music explosion, A Town Called Paradise, wrings out the washcloth of every last ounce of integrity, much like the city it refers to in its title. Songs like the Matthew Koma helmed “Wasted” and the Icona Pop featured “Let’s Go”, are catchy pop tunes, despite essentially being rehashes of last year’s hits by other people. The scarily bad “Red Lights” – a track rumored to have been turned down by One Direction – sets the stage for an album dripping in soft, safe, saccharine.

The “Red Lights” formula is repeated over and over again, employing a sensitive male vocalist to use some simple metaphor for people to grab onto, such as “Footprints” or “Echoes”, while overdone, played out sounds are used ad nauseum. By the end of the album’s 14 tracks, “Set Yourself Free”, featuring the talents of Krewella, you’ll be wanting to literally do what the song says. This is almost a new genre unto itself, “Adult Contemporary EDM”.

Respectfully, there are two tracks that hit the mark. The instrumental “Rocky”, which gives glimpses of his former self, and “The Feeling”, which somewhat transcends the rest of the album’s trite formulaic nature.

But perhaps dance music has to die again for it to be reinvented as something new and great, again. If that’s the case, A Town Called Paradise rings the death knell.

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1 Responses to "Tiesto – “A Town Called Paradise” (Review)"
  • boogie bored says:

    SPOT ON! I can’t believe how bad this album is. Makes Afrojack’s album look like Citizen Kane.

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