Relentless Beats

Armin van Buuren’s New Album Showcases His Versatility

It’s safe to say that Armin Van Buuren‘s sound has evolved over the decades as he has been at the forefront of Electronic music. If you look at Ultra’s lineup any given year, for example, you are likely to see him perform multiple times on different stages; a thing that is pretty uniquely Armin. His sound and genre representation have moved in dramatic fashion lately from trance to pop-esque EDM. Despite this evolution, he has never abandoned his trance roots and appears to try and give both sides of his passion exposure.

This isn’t unheard of, Deadmau5 sometimes plays as Testpilot, Skrillex has 3 or more creative pseudonyms at any given point, and so forth. Armin however, has always performed as Armin, and the only way you can gauge which version of him you are about to see is sometimes which stage he’s performing on. Mainstage Armin is stylistically light years away from ‘A State of Trance’ Armin. If this is something you didn’t notice before, it will be hard to ignore once you have taken the adventure through his new 24 track, 2-disc album Balance.

Let’s start with the first disc. If you discovered the Trance Godfather via the mainstage of EDC or Ultra over the last few years then the first 12 songs on the album are going to feel on-brand.  It actually features a lot of high powered vocalists, with Ne-Yo being the surprising and prominent addition to the lineup of supporting artists. Knowing that Armin has a fascination with crossing his sound into style that is more “mainstream consumable,” these first songs don’t come so much as a surprise. Even though there are plenty of vocal heavy songs in Armin’s back catalog, the radio-friendly length of these songs means that Armin’s instrumentation has to take a complete back seat to the hooks and vocals that need to be heard.

If you’re looking to the Balance album for a more quintessential Armin listening experience, then disc two is for you. It features some tracks that are much more reminiscent of classic trance. BT and Above and Beyond lend their talents to the more memorable tracks in the second disc and based on that pedigree alone, it should give you a good idea of what you’re in for. The first 14 songs on the album fit together more cohesively, as EDMs biggest obstacle is making an album where song placement means something to the overall project. There are downtempo songs that break up the beat and pace that most electronic dance hall songs are going to adhere to.

Overall, with 28 songs, there is something on this album that ANYONE can gravitate to.  But with 2 polar styles, you may find yourself gravitating to one over the other. What do you think?  Do you think “Blah Blah Blah” and “Turn it Up” are nigh-identical songs? See Armin on his Balance tour in Arizona on February 6th, 2020, tickets here.

Connect with Armin van Buuren: Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud

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