At this point, Tiësto is so huge that he could do pretty much whatever he wants, musically, and he’d still have an audience for it. And yet, on his latest album as the primary artist, called Elements of Life, he goes straight for what he knows, with another set of techno-trance anthems designed to get the dancefloors bumping. Of course, this is also the same music that can inspire electronic experimentalists to punch themselves in the head. As trance albums go, Elements of Life isn’t that bad, but the Tiësto sound is such a trademark at this point that he’d have to do something awfully extraordinary to convince anyone to buy this album over any of the other albums (or even the DJ mixes) that he’s put out over the years. “Sweet Things”, on which singer-songwriter Charlotte Martin does what Tori Amos did for BT’s “Blue Skies” all those years ago, is a soaring, ear-catching highlight, as is BT’s own vocal attempt on “Break My Fall”, a song highlighted by Tiësto’s dirtying up of a bassline. Still, there’s plenty of generic filler like the painfully trite “Carpe Noctum” (get it?) and the closing, “bonus” track, Tiësto’s remix of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. I mean, it’s a good, fun, current idea, but the result comes off as laughable and throwaway. That said, the sound of Elements of Life is polished, and it will get you to dance if played at loud volumes—and really, that’s most of what Tiësto’s audience is looking for anyway.
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// Notes from the Road
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