Since the early 2000s, dropping the name Tiesto was a superstar representation of an artist at the heart of mainstream dance music. The Dutch trance legend has been crowned the winner of DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll three times, has a club residency in Las Vegas and topped Forbes’ 2013 DJ Rich List and yet, up until this year, he still hadn’t scored a major crossover single.
However, the 45-year-old now appears to have decided that he wants a piece of the chart action too, and on his fifth studio effort, A Town Called Paradise, he’s gone ultra-commercial pop.
Say goodbye to the days of ‘Lethal Industry’ and ‘Adagio For Strings’ and hello to his brand new single that features the pop-tastic lyrics ‘I like us better when we’re wasted..’
You can’t really blame Tiesto for growing tired of watching all his peers become massive mainstream stars, but it’s a little disappointing that his attempt to follow in their footsteps has resulted in the kind of repetitive and generic hands-in-the-air record that you feel like you’ve heard many times before.
The big opener and single ‘Red Lights,’ with Michel Zitron provides an Avicii-esque melody with little that’s identifiably Tiësto and these plays for radio don’t stop until ‘Wasted’ lands at track eight with a festival dominating beat that’s pleasingly different.
With no surprise, the seventh track ‘Last Train’ is quite the silent achiever on this album. The uplifting melody blends perfectly with the help of New Zealand chanteuse Ladyhawke on vocals. Unfortunately Canadian-Peruvian newcomer Quilla’s breathy ethereal tones are somewhat wasted on the formulaic prog-house of ‘Close To Me,’ while Icona Pop do little to dispel their one-hit wonder reputation with ‘Let’s Go,’ resulting in yet another generic EDM song to reminiscent their chart-topping number one.
Capturing impressive vocals from Christian Burns is the much more encouraging track ‘Shimmer.’ While the track is a continuation of his new direction, it showcases some of Tiesto’s older style elements blended with a slower tempo.
Tiesto really does nail the catchy melodies on ‘Set Yourself Free,’ featuring Krewella and ‘Can’t Forget’ but somehow, many of the tracks on this album starts to sound like every other electro artist in the current beatport top 10.
Closing track ‘Take Me’ featuring Kyler England on vocals captures the Tiesto we loved from the Kaleidoscope days. With driving bass and a rising melody that finds its perfect counterpart in Kyler’s emotive vocals, ‘Take Me’ has an explosive energy and comfortably end’s out the 18 track release.
EDM has changed pop and now pop has changed veteran DJ Tiesto. He’s moved from the abrasively chilly sound he is most known for to embrace pianos and guitars, producing a hit-and-miss album that’s mimics a late night version of Taylor Swift or Coldplay.