#Review: Alan Walker – Different World đŸŒ


   

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Alan Walker is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his 2015 single, ‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) – now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album, Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, ISÁK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#Review: Bars & Melody – Generation Z


   

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Bars & Melody (check out our interview with the guys, here) first rose to fame as contestants on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014. The pair were automatically sent into the semi-finals of the competition, when Simon Cowell pressed the “golden buzzer” after watching their performance of ‘Hopeful’ (later released as their debut single). The duo ultimately finished in third place in the series but since then have gone on to build a very loyal following and built up a big name for themselves.

Bars & Melody - Generation Z

The album opens with heavy-hitting ‘Allergic to the Sun’ which sets the tone perfectly for the album, showing the duo’s departure from conventional pop music into a far more edgy sound. It’s quite apocalyptic in it’s feel and reflects the album artwork brilliantly.

Not only has Leondre‘s voice got deeper…so have the lyrics and the styles of the songs – there are quite a few songs based on relationships and dealing with issues related to growing up but the pair are truly writing from the heart. Some of the biggest standout tracks are: ‘Apologise’ (with its beautiful simplicity and captivating chorus); ‘Faded’ (for its anthemic chorus and club-like sound); ‘Serious’ (probably one of the most pop tracks on the album – it reminds me somewhat of Olly Murs) and ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ (Charlie’s vocals are so full-on and passionate on this track – I would really like to hear him use this tone more often).

There is a certain mixtape quality to the record – it is somewhat experimental in its approach, but that’s not a bad thing!

The production of the album is tinted with urban flavours throughout; each song is unique in its own way and whilst it does come together as a brilliant body of work, overall, there is a certain mixtape quality to the record. There are some fantastic songs with catchy hooks and deep lyrics and although there are stand-out tracks, it is somewhat experimental in its approach. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – it should be celebrated that the pair have spent time finding their own sound and crafting something which not only works for them but makes them stand out.

Considering just a couple of years ago, the pair put out an album (143) which was very pop in style, this follow-up (originals) album is quite a welcome departure from that, demonstrating that they’re maturing, not only in terms of their songwriting but their musical style too. It seems that they’re now truly finding their own feet.

What must be said for this album is that Charlie‘s vocal abilities are truly incredible but to hear him use his full voice more (like in ‘I Won’t Let You Go’), would be amazing. Meanwhile, Leondre‘s rapping has really progressed – his tone is great and his lyrics show maturity. This album is well worth listening to, I certainly found that the more you listen, the more little gems you hear weaving their way throughout – it’s a real grower!

Rating
4


‘Generation Z’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/generation-z/id1262081707


‘Generation Z’ on Spotify

Thousand Years (Official Video)

‘Generation Z’ Track-By-Track

Find out more about the meanings behind the songs with this track-by-track video.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the duo’s latest album! What are your thoughts on Generation Z? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: Alan Walker – ‘Faded’ featuring Iselin Solheim


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Alan Walker first gained attention by releasing an instrumental version of this song, called ‘Fade’, via NoCopyrightSounds (NCS) back in 2015.

He has since signed to MER Musikk under Sony Music Sweden, to re-release the song, re-titled as ‘Faded’ and features the uncredited vocalist Iselin Solheim.

Since then, the 18-year-old’s track has reached Number 7 in the UK charts and gained him a lot of recognition: not bad going at such a young age!

What do you think of this awesome House track? Have you heard much of his other music? Looking forward to hearing new releases from him? Please share your #WildCardWednesday choice in a comment below or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Faded’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/faded/id1058093269?i=1058093278