zaterdag 12 juni 2010

Review: Markus Schulz – Do you dream?

One of the most anticipated albums of the year for me turned out to be an unexpected surprise. Here’s my rundown:

01. Alpha state
Beautiful dreamy intro, that sets the expectations about this album even higher than they already were. Maybe too short to be called a separate track but it works perfectly and the transition into Away is top. (9/10)

02. Away (ft Sir Adrian)
Initially I wasn’t that impressed with the vocals on this track but I have to say they have really grown on me in the past few weeks and remarkably enough this song has turned into one of my favorites on the album. The pulsating bassline is Markus at his best. Without the vocals it could easily have been a Dakota tune. (8/10)

03. Rain
Not a brilliant composition but a pretty decent track nevertheless. With special thanks to Dillweed Lewis Productions (Markus booking agency who never announce any gigs in decent time for people who need to make travel arrangements) I missed Markus gig in Club Rain in Vegas by a week, so unfortunately now I will never know what it is that is so great about this place :( (7/10)

04. Dark heart waiting (ft Khaz)
From here the album really turns into a rollercoaster. I still totally fail to see what Markus was thinking when making this track. Totally simple and cheesy production without any soul. Usually I support male vocals but this one doesn’t do anything for me. The video is ridiculous too. This track is the ultimate proof that Armada is prepping Markus to succeed Armin as the #1 overhyped DJ, which in my opinion really is the last thing we need. (4/10)

05. Not the same (ft Jennifer Rene)
Omg this is going totally wrong now, another uber cheesy melody without any of the special Markus touch, this could have been produced by any no name bedroom producer. The vocals are beyond horrible, even worse than on Fine without you. I totally don’t get why so many people like this. (4/10)

06. Do you dream? (uplifting mix)
Markus goes deggadeggadegga generic uplifting. How awesome. I kinda like Do you dream as a track but this Aly and Fail style mix really sucks. I guess it figures that this version was chosen to be put on the album. (5/10)

07. Last man standing (ft Khaz)
Definitely the better of the two Khaz tracks on the album. I actually like this one, although I would have sequenced it as the last track. It has that same vibe as Cause you know that so brilliantly closed down Progression. Now it sortof breaks the flow. Cool track nevertheless. (8/10)

08. Surreal (ft Ana Criado)
After the little pickup with Last man standing here we go down the drain again with this boring track and nagging vocals. A perfect example of everything I hate about vocal trance. (4/10)

09. Unsaid (ft Susana)
Please repeat after me: pop charts, pop charts, pop charts. What a horrible horrible horrible production. By far the worst on the album. What on Earth is happening here? Why does Markus have to make his own Going wrong? Why, why, why? :( (1/10)

10. Lifted (ft Angelique Bergere)
And another disappointing track here, both musically and vocally. Simple 4 to the floor straight as she goes production. Doesn’t do anything for me. (4/10)

11. Perception (ft Justine Suissa)
It’s kind of sad that one of the two best tracks on the album isn’t even an original Markus composition. But that doesn’t make this track any less awesome. I usually really have no connection to remakes at all but this one is so flawlessly done and Justine’s vocals fit so well it is almost beyond awesome. Every time I hear this track it moves me to tears. Because of its timeless beauty, its flawless production and because I’m so sad about so many of the other tracks on this album. (11/10)

12. The new world
Obviously done and dusted but still one of Markus best productions ever so I’m glad he included it in this album. (9/10)

13. Lightwave (ft Angelique Bergere)
Holy camoly Batman what the hell is this? I’m not against experimenting a bit out of genre, but this is just plain awful. I have no other words for it. (3/10)

14. 65.4 Hz
Like I said before this album is such a rollercoaster. After the umptieth disappointing track Markus once again shoots back like a rocket with this BOMB of a track that we have been enjoying in his sets for so long. Together with Perception the highlight of the album and proof that we are still talking about one of the most talented producers on the planet here. (9/10)

15. What could have been
Amidst so many disappointment this actually comes back as one of the better tracks of the album. Quite simple in terms of composition and structure but it has all the sounds that make you wanna dance and the absence of nagging vocalists for two tracks in a row is such a relief. (7/10)

16. Goodbye (ft Max Graham & Jessica Riddle)
Not sure what to think of this song. It sounds to me like a Solarstone track and not a Markus track at all. I like it, even though it sounds really out of place here. Like I said before, Last man standing should have been in this spot as the last track. (7/10)

So I guess there you have it: one rollercoaster of an album and I hate to say it but in my book by far the most disappointing effort by Markus to date. I still can’t believe I’m writing this. Markus is one of my all time heroes, of every 100 tracks he selects I usually like at least 99 of them. This album however turns out to be his version of Imagine. A few totally brilliant tracks, that unfortunately drown in an ocean of mediocre cheesy goop topped off with wayyyy too many vocals, which are mostly of seriously poor quality as well. What I also really don’t like is that all the tracks are edits and in more than one case flat sounding “album versions” instead of the full blown dance floor mixes that undoubtedly already exist or are even already in our possession. This is an old practice that was designed in the 80’s by record companies in an effort to sell as many additional singles as possible. From a commercial standpoint I can see why but the tradeoff is that you get an album full of disappointing versions, even of the tracks you really like and which therefore quickly ends up on your cd shelf, never to be played again.

So what could have been? Well had he left out Dark heart waiting, Not the same, Surreal, Unsaid, Lifted and Lightwave this could have been an album with 10 extended tracks ranging from at least pretty decent to completely brilliant and it would have been a lot easier to qualify it as another highlight in Markus’ production career.

So do I dream? Yes. I dream of extended single releases so I can compile an extract of this album that I will truly enjoy listening to. But most of all I guess I dream of another Dakota album.

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