Album Review: Nothing But the Beat by David Guetta
Average, Based on 9 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
Since his name-making production on the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," French house-music titan David Guetta has become a go-to guy for pop stars looking to navigate the increasingly techno-fied Top 40. Artists from 50 Cent to Rihanna have rung his studio bell. But Guetta always seemed hungry to be more than just a name on other people’s records: In the video for his current hit "Where Them Girls At," he DJs on an L.A.
As one of the world’s most popular DJs, David Guetta is well known for his room-moving turntable skills. But the French electro-house maestro is equally impressive at rocking a Rolodex. On Nothing but the Beat, the follow-up to his 2009 breakthrough, One Love, Guetta collects A-list cameos the way LMFAO order shots: Nicki Minaj, Usher, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, and Ludacris are all here, as are One Love alum Akon and will.i.am, who introduced Guetta to American audiences when he hired him to co-produce the Black Eyed Peas’ 2009 anthem ”I Gotta Feeling.” Even the gettin’-slizzard chick from Far East Movement’s tipsy ’10 smash ”Like a G6” shows up.
French DJ David Guetta’s R&B-meets-house formula had topped the charts around the globe by the time his 2011 effort, Nothing But the Beat, saw release, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this star-studded collection of big-room tunes plays like a hits collection. His previous album, One Love, felt the same way, with every track a potential single, but the differences are in each album’s appropriate title. This one plays like Now That’s What I Call Guetta 2, with Snoop Dogg acting as an avenging disco Doggfather on the Auto-Tuned “Sweat,” while Nicki Minaj does a pole dance on the operating table for “Turn Me On,” which turns a doctor visit into double entendre overflow.
French DJ and producer David Guetta‘s 2009 album One Love consisted mostly of club bangers like “Sexy Bitch” featuring Akon, and “Memories” with Kid Cudi. Guetta’s latest record, Nothing But the Beat, similarly packs in Top 40 contenders, but features an instrumental disc to appease older listeners who knew Guetta first and foremost as a club DJ. It’s surprising, then, that Guetta cites the soaring music of Coldplay as his inspiration for this album.
It would be a safe bet to say the David Guetta is one of the commercial pop world’s most sought after producers, perhaps even overtaking the success of the Lady Gaga and Nicole Scherzinger favoured RedOne. It’s quite possible this is because Guetta has incorporated a great deal of that hugely successful producer’s sounds into his own, whilst never straying too far from his initial Eurodance roots. However, there’s no denying that Guetta’s worldwide success is largely down to his move from a European sound to one distinctly more tailored for the U.S.
David Guetta's success is based on a simple idea: combine the dominant European and American ideas of pop, and clean up worldwide. In practice, that means putting hip-hop and R&B vocals over hands-aloft club beats. As happens with most obvious ideas, an awful lot of other people are doing it, too – colossal Eurodance beats are the foundation of Stargate's production desk success, and Dr Luke's too.
Remember when Sideshow Bob stepped on a rake and got thwacked in the face with the handle…and then did it again, and again, and again? And then the camera widened out and showed him surrounded by about 20 more rakes? And then he stepped on another rake? And another? And another? And then the show cut to the inside of the Simpson's Witness Protection-provided houseboat and you heard the sound of Sideshow Bob stepping on another rake? And then later on in the episode, when he finally managed to climb aboard the houseboat, and with the very first step on deck he managed to step squarely onto another rake? With the “Cape Feare” episode, the writers of The Simpsons proved the hypothesis that if you extend one gag long enough, it modifies the overall tone of the gag to the point that it moves from being funny to being not funny to being funny again. I could be charitable and suggest David Guetta's new album, Nothing But the Beat, is an attempt to transpose this theory into the world of floor-filling, endocrinological dance-pop, that Guetta's total artistic bankruptcy is, in actuality, just a red herring and that deep within his sense-deadening assembly line of club killers are unique nuggets of, if not brilliance, at least mild interest. But no, the simple and disheartening truth of the matter is that Guetta simply supplies the soundtrack for a demographic that likes the sonic equivalent of being struck in the face with a rake handle over and over and over again.
Superstar French DJ and producer David Guetta's extraordinary global success is based on giving his fans precisely what they want, when they want it. So there are few surprises on this behemoth of a double album, suitably grandiose in sound and scale – hulking synths, thudding four-to-the-floor beats and precipitous drops – but predictably stunted in creativity and musical ambition. Guetta's trademark union of stadium trance and American R&B is represented in a glittering array of bling-encrusted collaborations (Snoop Dogg, Akon, Chris Brown) but they struggle to impose any distinctive personality on the overall mood of relentless rictus-grin-inducing euphoria.
Love him or loathe him, Guetta’s influence on today’s pop is incredible. Al Fox 2011 Five years ago, if someone had told you that American hip hop and RnB would be riddled with thumping mid-90s Eurocheese in the not-too-distant future, it’s fairly likely you’d have assumed them a tad misguided. Yet here we are, with dance and urban charts largely interchangeable, and the man responsible – in some considerable part, at least – is David Guetta, who continues his evolution from DJ to headline artist via his fifth album, Nothing but the Beat.