Producer and DJ David Guetta mixes ‘One Love’ into a dancing success
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
Dance music can be annoying as hell. Whether on the radio or at the club, the oonce-oonce-thump-thump can grate on the nerves because it easily blends together into something most people call noise. Beats and bass lines can lose their originality fast.
But when a seasoned pro like David Guetta is driving, dance music can sound surprisingly refreshed.
On his fourth release, One Love, Guetta embeds his mark on dance music with clever producing that uses speedy dance rhythms against updated old-school remixing. Songs here have enough complexity and structure to function on their own, which isn’t usually the case. Listeners mostly get stuck with nonsensical repetition that DJs seems to think is the sign of a great dance song. (Note to those DJs: It’s not.)
There are many star tracks here, but the biggest hit is and probably will be "When Love Takes Over," with Destiny’s Child singer (and Fashion Show host) Kelly Rowland on vocals. It starts out with some Coldplay keyboards but then builds into an outstanding apex that travels confidently through the song and is flat out irresistible.
It calls to mind old dance classics like Rozalla’s "Free." The anthemic quality is a shower of strength that sort of empowers the listener to take on the world, or at least the dance floor, in bold fashion. (The song itself isn’t brand new — it was released last spring to create summer buzz for the album’s release last week.)
Guetta’s next 11 tracks keep up with that strong opener. Rowland’s three tracks may not put her at Beyonce level, but she reminds us that her chops are just as strong. "It’s The Way You Love Me" is destined for play in the club scene more than on radio; its heavy synthesizers drive a darker throbbing tone that would be much more enjoyable under an array of strobe lights.
She duets with Ne-yo on "Choose," the weakest of her three entries. The beat feels more after-hours in an altered state. It’s still listenable, but its erratic form makes it easy to jump ahead and the whole time, Ne-yo sounds like he’s saying "shoes."
The same clubbier tone continues with "On the Dancefloor" and "I Wanna Go Crazy," both with Will.i.am. It bounces back to form even though it kind of cheats with Guetta’s remix of the Black Eyed Peas’ "I Gotta Feeling," but it’s a nifty version that flirts with bouncy beats. Although Guetta goes into formulaic DJ repetitive mode here, it works because he still orchestrates a complete tune. And the melody isn’t so bad.
Guetta has a distinct, crisp sound to his songs. Half of the album plays lighter with Akon’s "Sexy Bitch" and Estelle’s title track. But then he moves into those heavier productions with speedier darkness.
Yet as a package, One Love shines as a testament to Guetta’s talents that takes an overall monotonous genre and injects some surprising originality into it.
This end of summer edition waves goodbye to the heat and gets into the smooth groove of fall
"Sound of Letting Go" — David Guetta with Chris Willis: Yep, it’s time to move on and let go of summer but we don’t mind dancing it up while it’s on the way out.
"Dog Days are Over" — Florence and the Machine: This British talent drives the point home with this bouncy rocker that lets us not mind too much we’re heading away from fun pool parties and fruity cocktails.
"School Spirit" — Kanye West: You’re going back to school, the kids are going back to school and everyone else drives through school zones. West shows smart restraint in this hip-hop nod to fraternities but really, he just seems to hate school and cusses a lot. That’s all right. We cuss a lot because we hate school zones.
"Need-A-Man Blues" — Donna Summer: Since fall is perfect nesting weather, some of you single guys might be wanting a snuggle buddy. Don’t let the blues get you down, though. This song is too sexy for that.
"I Want a Woman" — Ratt: Some ladies want love, too, and are searching for their own cuddle bug. This doesn’t waste time being subtle and it kinda amps up the groove here.
"Sweet Loving" — Jason Ricci and New Blood (pictured): Speaking of blues, this out musician serves it up in all shades, but here he gets the right hue. Summer tones are so out after Labor Day.
"Tired" — Adele: That time change always screws us up with our body clock.
"Lights Out for Darker Skies" — British Sea Power: Night comes quicker, which for some people means more sleep time. I can dig that.
"Blind" — Hercules and Love Affair: Just like we started, we’re dancing our way into autumn but to the beat of this laid-back dance track.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 4, 2009.