Anything But Original?: David Guetta, Pt. 1

Sarp Yavuz, Staff Writer

David Guetta’s much-anticipated album, Nothing But the Beat , has been out for about a month now. Comprising two CDs, one with vocals and one without, the could-be dance album of the year sadly fails to live up to expectations.

After thoroughly listening to both discs, the first thing you will notice is that Guetta played it safe this time around, which is extremely disappointing considering One Love’s groundbreaking success and original sound.

Guetta’s first CD starts off on “Where Them Girls At,” with a fun, bouncy beat all too reminiscent of “Sexy Bitch,” only we’ve got Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj instead of Akon. A so-so opener, but you will dance to it without too much complaint. “Little Bad Girl” successfully takes the bounciness to an I-want-to-dance-to-this-at-the-’Sco level, making “Where Them Girls At” seem weak in comparison; however, the lyrical content is painfully limited and the whole section with Ludacris should be done away with.

One of the gems in the album is “Turn Me On,” another collaboration with Nicki Minaj. Although the degree to which Guetta has auto-tuned her is voice unacceptable, but during the chorus you can just picture the crowd chanting, which almost makes up for it. The production deserves a B: The vaguely gamelan-sounding synth intro is a poor choice and the bass line is just ugly. I’m thankful that the chorus’s aviation equivalent is a roaring Boeing 777, because anything short of that dynamism wouldn’t be able to get this song off the ground (and thank God it really flies).

High points of the album include Guetta’s remix of Snoop Dogg’s “Sweat,” a delightfully nostalgic sample that has been rocking the airwaves for quite some time now, and Jennifer Hudson replacing Kelly Rowland (ouch!) to shine on “Night of Your Life.” I am still at a loss as to why clubs aren’t blasting this song at full volume, because along with “Turn Me On,” this song makes up for the disappointment that is the first disc of Nothing But The Beat.

Cue “Titanium,” in which Sia’s haunting vocals combine with Guetta’s (finally!) original sound and you have yourself a song that you can dance to while getting goosebumps all over. Conceptually reminiscent of La Roux’s “Bulletproof” — which is a good thing this time around — “Titanium” has made me dance in my room more than once, and it is simply a mind-blowing dance-floor masterpiece. As the last song of the first segment of the album, it makes you sigh in relief before shouting, “I AM TITANIUUUM!” Put this song on permanent repeat, since I can assure you that you will be dancing to it more than once.

Despite these gems, the first disc is not all gold. “Nothing Really Matters” feels like a Black Eyed Peas B-side, and considering that is the featured artist, the overall disappointing quality of the song isn’t very surprising — this is quite possibly the weakest song on the album. What’s more, listening to “I Just Wanna Fuck,” featuring Timbaland and Dev, is like watching Scream 8. Timbaland shows once again that he cannot and should not be a part of the dance/pop music industry unless he changes his style. The song becomes annoying around the two-minute mark, and rest assured knowing you are not the only one who will learn to skip it altogether after the first listen.

As far as CD one goes, Guetta suffers the same tragic fate as Timbaland did with Shock Value II, displaying his unhealthy assumption that repeating the same thing he did before will work now because it worked then. And it does, for maybe three songs, but the bulk of the album fails to take off due to cliché-ridden production and sonic decisions that just don’t cut it. We’ve been listening to ADELE, Nero, The xx, Florence + The Machine and Lady Gaga since Guetta’s One Love, and his challenge is to outdo them — and himself — if he wants our attention for more than two minutes.

Coming up next week: a review of Nothing But the Beat, CD two — the electronic half.