David Guetta’s ‘Nothing But The Beat 2.0′ (album review)
The poster child of the American ‘mainstream’ dance music movement is back with a new album — or rather, an update to his last album. Nothing But The Beat 2.0 is David Guetta’s latest take on the current music landscape. Rather than call it an ‘update,’ it’s actually more of a revamp, selecting the most popular songs from last year’s release and adding in a selection of newer dance tracks. To balance out the pop influences from the likes of Akon, Sia, and Usher, Guetta brings in more dance-heavy talents, including Alesso, Daddy’s Groove, and the Nervo twins.
NBTB includes all the obligatory hits like like “Titanium,” “Without You,” “I Can Only Imagine,” and “Wild One Two,” but there’s also a surprisingly wide variety of music that fills in the rest of the album. Guetta’s collaboration with Alesso, “Every Chance We Get We Run,” oozes with the signature sounds of the Swede’s productions, complemented by the vocals of Tegan Quin & Sara. The song is so similar to Alesso’s productions, that I’m not even sure how much influence Guetta had on it. As soon as you hear the first chords, you can’t help but smile, reminding me of the first time I heard “City Of Dreams.” Even if the track is on the tame side, expect to hear this vocal at upcoming Alesso events — probably bootlegged with other unknown, unfinished projects.
David Guetta & Alesso feat Tegan Quin and Sara – Every Chance We Get We Run
The same can be said for “In My Head,” which features the vocals of Liv and Mim Nervo, with co-production credits to Daddy’s Groove. It has a dance-friendly beat with a super catchy vocal, but a full remix package definitely feels in the cards.
David Guetta & Daddy’s Groove feat NERVO – In My Head
Alongside more already-released dance tracks like “Metropolis” and “Lunar,” there are a number of pop productions sure to hit the airwaves soon enough. The standout is “Nothing Really Matters,” which employs the groovy hipster vibes — and existential vocals — of Will.I.Am, who gently reminds us that “Nothing really matters in a club — but the beat.” It’s a cookie cutter song with all the elements of a hit, and shows the chemistry between Will and David in the studio.
David Guetta feat. Will.I.Am – Nothing Really Matters
Guetta does something similar on “Just One Last Time,” a song he played at Electric Zoo that didn’t get the reaction it deserved. Featuring the vocals of Taped Rai, it has a super upbeat melody that anyone can listen to, and is the other radio-ready gem. It’s worlds better than “Play Hard,” a song with Ne-Yo and Akon that samples the late 90s hit “Better Off Alone.” In the case of this irritating track, Guetta would have indeed been better off had he not included this on the album at all.
David Guetta feat. Taped Rai – Just One Last Time
David Guetta feat. Ne-Yo and Akon – Play Hard
Guetta shows his own ‘darker’ production chops with “What The F***.” In addition to getting dangerously close in name to a recent Nicky Romero production (“WTF!?“), it uses similar elements to Romero’s — especially in the drops. The track seems rather forgettable, and lacks the more powerful, intricate elements of other electro productions on the album like “The Alphabeat.” Similarly, while “She Wolf” might not technically be a ‘dance’ track, it’s a moving track with another great Sia vocal, and we’ve already seen that it’s a proven festival banger. The dance-friendly offerings on the album are clearly not the focal point, but they show David’s commitment to developing new kinds of sounds. He’s got an eye for talent, and his Jack Back label is an ideal platform for launching new, undiscovered acts.
David Guetta – What The F***
Nothing But The Beat 2.0 is an exhaustive release with a lot of different kinds of music. While every track on the album didn’t resonate with me in the same way, I don’t think that’s really the point. The songs I like on the album aren’t the ones my fifteen-year-old sister would like, and they’re not the songs my mom wants to listen to in the car either. But, taken as a whole, there’s something for everyone on NBTB 2.0 — and that’s an impressive feat for any musician.
However, by pursuing this strategy, Guetta risks alienating segments of his fanbase for different reasons (and if you read our comments section, you know that it’s already happening). Luckily for David, it’s probably a moot point given his superstar status, but it’s something to think about next time you go to — or think about going to — a David Guetta show. Will he play for the teenie boppers in the audience or will he play for the folks who love “Metropolis”? Or will he try to please everyone, and end up pleasing none? It will be interesting to see how this plays out as his career continues to develop, but something tells me that he’ll land on his feet just fine.
Still, when you look at the album in its entirety, David Guetta proves that, in the end, it really is all about nothing but the beat.
*Rating would be 3.5 if this album didn’t have so many previously-released tracks.