#Review: Alan Walker – Different World ūüĆć


   

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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‚Äôt 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, IS√ĀK & 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: Sigala – Brighter Days ūüĆī


   

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Sigala (aka¬†Bruce Fielder) is¬†an English DJ, producer and remixer from¬†Norwich in¬†Norfolk. His first single,¬†Easy Love (which featured a re-recorded interpolation of¬†The Jackson 5¬†song, ‘ABC’) reached Number 1 in the UK Charts. In total, he has released a rather impressive, 12 singles, 6 of which have reached the Top 10 in the UK Charts. Now, with 10 of these singles featuring on his debut album, it’s easy to see why there is a lot of excitement about this release and indicates just how strong of an album it is. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Sigala - Brighter Days

To say that this album is star-studded is an understatement – it is utterly packed to bursting-point with incredible collaborations and downright epic tunes! Very rarely do you find that an album is filled, from start to finish, with singles but truly, every song on this record could be a single in its own right…and most of them have been!

With ten of the sixteen tracks having been released as singles, you could not be forgiven for not having heard at least one of these tracks before now!¬†Easy Love,¬†Sweet Lovin’‘¬†featuring¬†Bryn Christopher, Say You Do¬†featuring¬†Imani Williams &¬†DJ Fresh,¬†Give Me Your Love featuring¬†John Newman¬†&¬†Nile Rodgers,¬†‘Came Here For Love’¬†featuring¬†Ella Eyre and¬†‘Lullaby’ featuring¬†Paloma Faith all reached inside the UK’s Top 10. They’re all uplifting, summery songs which are filled with feel-good vibes. (For more about these tracks, hit the links above – as a massive fan of them and having reviewed them before, there’s so much else to focus on with this record!)

It’s easy to see why¬†Sigala is such a big hitter – he’s created an instantly recognisable sound by combining dance music with tropical house and topping it off with some sensational pop collaborations, meaning his tracks just rocket up the charts…and the unreleased tracks on¬†Brighter Days continue this trend.¬†To make it clear just how many collaborations are on this record, here are a list of all the features:

Paul Janeway (of St. Paul & The Broken Bones), Ella Eyre, Fuse ODG, Sean Paul, Kent Jones, Meghan Trainor, French Montana, The Vamps, Flo Rida, Shaun Frank, Delaney Jane, HRVY, Nina Nesbitt, Paloma Faith, Craig David, Kylie Minogue, Bryn Christopher, Cheat Codes, MAX, John Newman, Nile Rodgers, Kodaline, Imani Williams and DJ Fresh.

With a lineup like that, it’s no surprise that this guy’s tunes are so damn good! Not only has he been dominating the UK dance music scene but with a whole host of international collaborations, he’s surely going to become a global hit!

The summer may well be drawing to a close but with this album, it feels like it’s just getting started; it’s the ultimate feel-good album that you just want to keep on repeat!

Aside from the obvious singles, this album features a few unheard tracks, starting with¬†‘Brighter Days’.¬†With vocals from¬†Paul Janeway (of¬†St. Paul & The Broken Bones), you are eased into the album with a spacious verse that continually builds before unleashing a massive drop into the chorus…and the album doesn’t let up from there!

‘You Don’t Know Me’ is a huge track with shimmering synths and a monster beat (in collaboration with Shaun Frank) and some wonderful vocal lines from Flo Rida¬†and¬†Delaney Jane¬†whilst¬†‘Somebody’ has some big, gang vocals in the lead-up to the chorus and great vocal harmonies shared between¬†HRVY¬†and¬†Nina Nesbitt.

One of the biggest tracks on the album (and probably the most surprising that it’s not been a single) is¬†‘What You Waiting For’ featuring none other than pop princess¬†Kylie Minogue! Think¬†‘Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)’ but mellowed into a tropical house anthem with an ever-evolving beat – it’s musical euphoria at its best.

‘Revival’ sees Fielder collaborate with American production trio,¬†Cheat Codes¬†with the addition of wonderful falsetto and full-on vocals provided by US artist,¬†MAX, supported by a crowd.¬†The beat is intense; something you can easily find yourself getting lost in.¬†Lastly, is¬†‘All For Love’¬†which features Irish rock band, Kodaline. The song is somewhat reminiscent of¬†The Chainsmokers‘ track,¬†Something Just Like This featuring¬†Coldplay and the vocals have a certain quality to that of¬†Danny O’Donoghue from Irish band,¬†The Script. This really is testament to just how diverse Fielder’s production is and illustrates his superb¬†songwriting skills too.

The only negative of the album is that because so many of the songs have already been released as singles, there’s only six tracks which haven’t been heard before (hence focusing this review mainly on them) but honestly this is an awesome record – the way the track list flows is perfect and ending it with¬†‘Easy Love’ is pure brilliance!

The summer may well be drawing to a close but with this album, it feels like it’s just getting started. It’s the ultimate feel-good album that you just want to keep on repeat – whether you’re out driving in the car, home alone and looking for a pick-me-up, having a few friends round for a BBQ or going all-out with a party; this is an hour-long, back-to-back, 16-track, banger of an album, that you simply can’t get enough of! Turn it up loud, play it proud and dance like fucking crazy! A sensational debut by a superb producer…and it’s surely only going to get more exciting from here…

Rating
5


‘Brighter Days’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/brighter-days/1397962305


Brighter Days on Spotify

Brighter Days (Official Video Playlist)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this epic producer’s debut album, Brighter Days? 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 via our social media.


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#Review: MUNA – About U

‘About U’ is MUNA’s must-have debut album – a thoroughly powerful and stunning release!


   

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In case you didn’t already know, MUNA¬†are an¬†American band consisting of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin¬†and Naomi McPherson, who have been hard at work, crafting their own unique sound and brand of “dark pop”; this is their debut album,¬†About U.

muna-about-u

About U¬†is an incredible debut album; it’s production is slick and the lyrics are playfully honest. The band have ensured to steer clear of gender pronouns to ensure their songs are able to resonate with a person of any gender or sexuality, yet they still cover a wide variety of topics; relationships, heartbreak, regret, freedom and individuality. Yes, it’s an album predominantly about the ups and downs of love, but¬†MUNA have definitely taken a refreshing stance on it.

What I love about this album is how the style of it flows superbly yet each song has its subtle gems in the production, that make each and every one of them stand out.

It features all the fan-favourites (So Special,¬†Loudspeaker(an unapologetic anthem for being your imperfect self – a real highlight of the album) and¬†Winterbreak) as well as their newest single¬†‘Crying On The Bathroom Floor’, which is packed with melodrama. Then there’s the huge, hit single,¬†I Know A Place¬†which is pure pop perfection – it’s catchy as hell and¬†the lyrics provide unity; it’s an anthem for the LGBTQ community and has provided a beacon of hope for those who’ve suffered horrendous attacks in recent times.

The band’s sound is stunningly well-crafted; from the huge, euphoric synths and drum pads to the subtle, endearing guitar licks, Katie Gavin‘s vocals weave beautifully across¬†the tracks. At times she has a vocal style similar to that of¬†Katy Perry and the use of vocoders is subtle yet haunting – very reminiscent of¬†Imogen Heap.

Some of the stand-out tracks (besides the singles) include¬†‘Around U’ (an anthem of detachment; freedom from a former lover),¬†‘After’ (an exploration of the feelings you get from the morning after the night before) and¬†‘Promise’ (an admission of lies that have been told, after it’s too late).¬†‘End Of Desire’ and¬†‘Everything’¬†are fantastic songs too.

All-in-all, this album is the perfect debut and thoroughly deserving of the rating I’ve given it. There isn’t much I can fault with it. It almost allows you to forgive yourself for past mistakes you made and empowers you to take control of your life by embracing the highs and lows of love and relationships. A thoroughly powerful and stunning release. I honestly reached the end of the record and wished that they could release another album of new music next week!

Rating
5.jpg


‘About U’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/about-u/id1171832662


About U on Spotify

‘I Know A Place’¬†(Official Video)

‘Loudspeaker’ (Official Video)


I¬†hope you enjoyed ‘About U’ as much as I did! What are your thoughts? What would you rate it? Please leave a comment below or let us know via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: The Beach – ‘Geronimo’


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The Beach¬†is a solo singer from London, but little more can be found out about him online. He has previously released a couple of EPs but this, ‘Geronimo’,¬†marks his debut single with a major label (Sony Music Entertainment).

He is said to be working on his debut, full-length album (hopefully due out later this year), but this is a strong single to have released, with its delectable combination of alternative pop with cool, credible indie tones. He’s definitely an exciting one to watch!

What are you first impressions of The Beach? Is he already on your radar? Please let us know your thoughts or own choices for #WildCardWednesday in a comment below or via our social media accounts. Much love…

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Geronimo’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/geronimo/id1117867199?i=1117867314