Swedish House Mafia - Paradise Again Music Album Reviews

Swedish House Mafia - Paradise Again Music Album Reviews
The powerhouse DJ trio returns with a sprawling 17-track album and a solid Weeknd collaboration, though the forays into menacing, murkier sounds prove less satisfying.

Swedish House Mafia songs are relentless, pounding like the first slice of light through the curtains on your most hungover morning. Maximalism is the minimum—their tracks start with a gargantuan beat drop and explode outward, confetti so thick you can’t see through it. The producer-DJ trio of Steve Angello, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso fused together in the late 2000s and quickly became staples for the glowstick and glitter set. They raged at Ultra and Electric Daisy Carnival; they surged on the dance charts; they sold out Madison Square Garden in nine minutes, the first DJ act to headline the venue. And then the lasers and light shows started to sputter out. “We came, we raved, we loved,” Swedish House Mafia wrote in a 2012 missive announcing their breakup. But three months later, the group released what would become their biggest single, a track so successful they had no choice but to embark on another round of shows, which they titled One Last Tour.

“Don’t You Worry Child” twisted inane, earnest vocals into a song that sounded boundless. The lyrics are cloying, the sentiment overbearing, the stomping lead-up to the beat drop just short of suffocating. But the synths tower; every beat shivers. Swedish House Mafia steamroll their way into emotion, the blithest shortcut to bliss. After that triumphant last tour, the group receded, popping up only every few years for one-off sets. Last summer, they made another dramatic announcement: The band was back together, signed to Republic and ready to release a new record, Paradise Again. The sprawling 17-track album is richer in texture and grander in scope than previous releases, but the group’s forays into menacing, murkier sounds prove less satisfying than the crystalized euphoria that made them crowd pleasers.

When Swedish House Mafia hit their peak, EDM was at the center of pop. The dance music scene is more fragmented now, and perhaps as a response, the group has adjusted its approach. Paradise Again opts for a darker sound, crammed with buzzes and whirs. “Mafia” is a wordless trudge that sounds more apt to soundtrack a video game than an arena rager; midway through, the drums slump and then pause, like the song itself needed to gasp for air. A faint drone hums under the entire track, an effect that’s ominous at first but eventually becomes draining. Swedish House Mafia used to make songs that crashed over you like a wave; far too often on Paradise Again, they sound like they’re treading water. “19:30” falls into a smudge of bleats and beeps; sirens reverberate around a limp beat drop on “Don’t Go Mad,” grating under frazzled layers of distortion. Swedish House Mafia are great at shaking you awake, but they aren’t very scary: They recruit A$AP Rocky for “Frankenstein,” an attempt at a foreboding mosh pit anthem, but the song crosses into caricature, with Rocky on autopilot as he chants about fucking up the club.

It takes The Weeknd for Swedish House Mafia to succeed at sounding sinister. Together, Abel Tesfaye’s sullen, sparkling disco and the trio’s incessant throb form both sides of the case for hedonism—the Weeknd exudes nihilism, and Swedish House Mafia turn it into a party. The group produced some of the most propulsive songs on Tesfaye’s recent album and are slated to headline Coachella alongside him; their collaboration here, “Moth to a Flame,” is Paradise Again’s best track. They build into it with a palate-cleansing instrumental interlude from Swedish composer Jacob Mühlrad, a pocket of stillness on a constantly churning album, before the beat rises once again. “It’s just one call away/And you’ll leave him, you’re loyal to me,” The Weeknd croons, equal parts terrorizing and tender. The tingling production is more elegant than Swedish House Mafia seemed capable of a decade ago.

In their time off, the group has mastered more polished, contained songs that could still shake a stadium. Now, they’re able to braid a delicate beat or piano interlude into the walloping soundscape. “Home,” a toned-down track with a sleek percussive exoskeleton and occasional sprigs of guitar, shocks because it sounds so muted. On “Lifetime,” Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake’s voices glint and echo as they sing about the glaring lights of a city skyline, the promise of clasped hands. The lyrics in Swedish House Mafia songs have never attempted poetry—Ty fumbles through a line about “the best sex,” and the album opener features the inscrutable pronouncement, “It takes a man to be real/It takes a woman to know that.” But the group is at its best when it balances excess and exuberance, when its sparse snippets of quiet feel like clarity, not compromise.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Swedish House Mafia - Paradise Again Music Album Reviews Swedish House Mafia - Paradise Again Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 22, 2022 Rating: 5


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