2013 Grammy Nomination: Best Dance/Electronica Album
Kaskade's site just screams sun down, party up, in Miami. It sort of sets the exact right mood for what I imagine this music coming across like. As I'm looking down the music page of the site, I see a lot of familiar names from other artists' albums, though that's what you tend to start to run in to with house music. Time to see what's up with this artist on their own.
Here's a cool intro to the album - explaining the double CD idea that I should have known about earlier… eh, you'll get it when you read the review.
"Turn It Down" (feat. Rebecca and Fiona) isn't a title I would've expected on a dance album. I mean, more often than not you hear these songs exclusively in a club where the only option is to pump it louder. This is a little hard to grasp on to the concept of though - the voices are so incredibly spacey I'm having issue with getting into it at all.
Ooh, yay guest artists. "Lessons In Love" (feat. Neon Trees) has that great familiar voice. Something's really great about that band, because they can sound like they're out of the 50's but jam like an electronic infused machine. This is no exception to the rule. They do a heck of a job bringing it alongside Kaskade and I love it. Totally a headache-inducing song when pumped up, but that beat is something that can't be touched.
"Lick It" (feat. Skrillex) is probably pre-disposed in my mind to be awful. I very rarely escape a Skrillex song with any ounce of happiness or without a headache. Ahh, that's better - I turned the volume down. Now it's a dull little clanging in the background as I switch off the notepad to check emails and let it finish out.
Alrighty, moving on. "Llove" (feat. Haley) (what's with these one-named folks? Come on - you're not Cher.) comes at us a little lightly and nice to the ears. It's more like being on the sweet sound waves that are coming out, than just listening to some song blasted out at you. I could get used to something like this and enjoy it.
"Let Me Go" (feat. Marcus Bently) is pretty gentle in the back beat, at least for the first minute or so. I mean, the sound builds and takes over your ears a little more and more as it goes on. It's a steady sound without much embellishment, but catchy. The vocals lay on top just fine without any annoying tries and fancy trills, though I may be just a little too tired to last through the whole thing.
The dance mood gets picked back up with "Waste Love" (feat. Quadron). This is sort of an older feel as far as dance songs go. Anyone feeling the head bop from "Night At The Roxberry"? And right when I finish typing that sentence, the whole thing slows down to a trance-like pace. I mean, it picks back up, but that always makes for an awkward time on the dance floor.
"ICE" (feat. Dada Life and Dan Black) comes at you hard and fast. It's a classic insane electronic number that'll get in your brain as it revs up and back down again. It's a little catchy, even if it lacks for something to actually grasp on to subject-wise. But sometimes, and only sometimes, who cares? You'd be moving to this one just like I would, mostly waiting for the end, but enjoying the general ride in the meantime.
It's really hard to find new things to say about dance albums' individual tracks. You either like them or you don't, and even then it's hard to not hear an album as one complete sound. Kaskade at least has these different sounding guest artists throughout this album. For this track, "How Long" it's Inpetto and Late Night Alumni. It's a long, in-your-face track that isn't exactly the best thing on my ears.
"Room for Happiness - feat. Skylar Gray" came on without me even noticing. That's how flawless the movement was into the next song. Whether intentional or not, that's kind of great proof of a good DJ. I love Skylar's voice in almost everything I've ever heard her in. While this might not be the most amazing song I've heard her do, she brings out life in a song that I think music would lack if she weren't around. Good choice on Kaskade's part.
And now for the… uh… fun part? of the album. The remaining songs are all remixes of EVERYTHING WE JUST HEARD. Yes, you can indeed remix a dance song that sounds like a remix to begin with. In fact, some artists make entire album out of it (I'm scowling at you, Skrillex). "Eyes - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Mindy Gledhill) is up first. Without looking at my original list of songs I like, I believe this one was on it. I may be pre-disposed then to enjoy it, as it slowing brings you in and onto this section of the ride. It feels slower this time, for some reason, but I think I listened to the original mix a week or so ago.
"Turn it Down - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Rebecca and Fiona) is back up next. This is so subdued and thus a bit unexpected. It's almost trancelike, like the one before it. I'm starting to wonder if every one will be like this - oh wait, there's the hard hitting mix that seemed so lost. It's a weird combo, but it does kind of work for some reason here.
We move on into the next one at a steady, familiar pace. Something about this transitional sound seems so typical to me when it comes to the genre. Or maybe I'm remembering the first version. Nonetheless, this is "Lessons In Love - Kaskade's ICE Mix." It's a little layering here and there and still generally a good mix of sounds both long and short. I think at this point I'm fading into the 'over it' attitude, no matter how hard I try. Respect for sure, but addiction? Probably not. Volume's going down - "Big Bang Theory" is on.
"Lick It - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Skrillex) starts off slow too… maybe I missed something in the original tracks. I like the little down-played beats in throughout that are, more or less, maintaining the melody. It's kind of just nicely playing along, with a backing that's pleasantly taking a space journey. Yup, that's about all I can do to describe it. Look, the sound's pleasant enough and not invoking a headache, so yay!
I confuse myself. The original version I really liked, but "Llove - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Haley) just isn't hitting me nearly the same way. You wouldn't think a remix would be all that different, but I think it speaks to how music, well, speaks to us. The smallest changes to something can turn you off or on completely. I bet if you think hard enough about that fact you'll probably realize you've felt the same way at one point or another. Although, I have to admit, the idea of mostly clapping and hard beats carrying the entire song is quite different for this collection.
This is a new one entirely. "Let Me Go - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Marcus Bently) sounds like a straight-up Lite Rock song you'd hear on Delilah at night. This is totally weird and completely unexpected of a remix, let alone a dance album. What is going on? Mind blown - just a little. I mean, take a listen to the two and help me understand this, please, anybody. I just want to know how the transition was made.
"Waste Love - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Quadron) seems to fit the mold a little more appropriately. I don't like it nearly as much, mostly because it becomes confusing as it goes on. The vocals layer with no clear lead in a few spots. But it's mostly just the sound itself that isn't as appealing as I'd like. Just one that rubs off a little odd for me. I get bored easily I suppose, and this one doesn't keep me going.
Don't ask me to put logic to work on the next title because I don't have the energy to. "ICE - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Dada Life and Dan Black) comes back at us with a very steady pulsating beat (damn, that was the adjective I've been trying to think of for two days!). If it weren't for a very high-pitched sound every once in a while ripping through my head, I'd probably enjoy this for the most part.
"How Long - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Inpetto and Late Night Alumni) has a really nice groove to it that makes getting ready around your room a pleasure. Now lyrically, it's a bit sad. She seems to be realizing he's been on his way out the door for some time now and you can hear her heart breaking throughout. I could see this being a torturously beautiful song without the dance beat behind it, though with hit's just enjoyable. Screwing with my head, personally.
Skylar Grey is back for "Room for Happiness - Kaskade's ICE Mix." After what has turned out to be a very long, rough day to deal with, this is actually pretty damn relaxing. Wow, didn't expect to type that in this realm of music, but this is almost encouraging. "Don't be fooled by your emptiness - there's so much more room for happiness."
And now for what I suppose is the bonus track, only because it's actually not labeled with ICE, "Eyes - Lazaro Casanova Remix" (feat. Mind Gledhill). Talk about an 80's throw back with those mega drums throughout. Kind of a cool take on the number though, I have to say. It's a long, slightly drawn-out track, but not a bad way to end things on the whole. Bookending an album, especially with a title track, sort of makes logistical sense when you think about it. You probably wouldn't even notice unless you're looking at the track list to be honest. Side by side, other than the words themselves, the songs generally sound different and unique to each other, making for a nifty little experience throughout them all. And this paragraph officially only takes me halfway through the song. Off to listen to the rest!
Added to My Playlist:
- "Eyes" (feat. Mindy Gledhill)
- "Lessons in Love" (feat. Neon Trees)
- "Llove" (feat. Haley)
- "Turn It Down - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Rebecca and Fiona)
- "Lick It - Kaskade's ICE Mix" (feat. Skrillex)
- "Room For Happiness - Kaskade's ICE Mix - feat. Skylar Grey"
- "Eyes - Lazaro Casanova Remix" (feat. Mindy Gledhill)
Completely understandable that this album received the high honor nod, and almost a little disappointing that it didn't win. But hey, that's showbiz. Nonetheless, this really was a well-crafted album. Took forever to get through, but the mix of beats was worth it and always provided a little something different to hear throughout. Almost refreshing in a way.