Release Date: May 19, 2014
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Electronic, Rap, Club/Dance, Progressive House, EDM
Ever since he dominated dancefloors in 2010 with "Take Over Control," producer Nick van de Wall aka Afrojack has been the go-to EDM DJ for that roller-coaster-with-a-double-loop experience. His crisp and punchy tracks come on with bumpy and infectious hooks, then at some point, everything goes wonky as the tune spins about the room brilliantly, bouncing off the walls and shooting off fireworks as it goes. The same applies for a great portion of the Dutch DJ's debut album, the wonderfully titled Forget the World, but "Take Over Control" is deemed a moldy oldy and doesn't appear here, meaning the polished track list is missing a hit where the artist still sounded fresh and hungry.
Four years into the game, Dutch house star Afrojack doesn't exactly need an album – he's already a chart-topping producer and one of the world's 10 highest-paid DJs. Maybe that's why his debut feels so unabashedly victorious, with Snoop Dogg, Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn and others chanting lyrics like "I'm 10 feet tall" and "We were born to run." The Springsteen reference is likely no accident: This is an album steeped in the anthemic feel of pop from decades past. But anything that's not glowing with Afrojack's trademark explosions and monster melodies – like Wiz Khalifa's stoned retread of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" – is a blown opportunity.
For years, dance music was seen as largely incompatible with the album format—perfect for singles, sure, and lucrative club and festival sets, natch, but not always for the measured pace of a full-length record. As with any great bubble, though, the EDM explosion has gradually loosened this thinking, and as record labels try to wring every last dollar they can out of the genre, the star-powered studio album has become a ritual no DJ/producer can afford to forgo. Even Skrillex finally released a proper LP this year, as did Norwegian disco heavyweight Todd Terje, who gave his long-awaited debut a title that doubles as a nod to the new status quo: It’s Album Time.
If you've ever suspected that Las Vegas is a portal to the depths of hell, then this album should serve as confirmation. A collection of EDM bangers with big-name guests, it could be the soundtrack to the best night ever at the Hakkasan hotel, where Afrojack, AKA Nick van de Wall, is a resident DJ. It's lurid, grandiose, ersatz and, most disturbingly of all, has Sting singing about homeless people.