Anything But Original?: David Guetta, Part II

Sarp Yavuz, Staff Writer

The album starts off with “The Alphabet,” mildly euphoric and definitely full of potential. My enthusiasm is short lived as all beat drops are almost identical, and the vocal content’s monotony becomes unbearable after hearing “innocent tonight” more than 10 times. A generic Guetta song, “The Alphabet” shows no growth since the “One Love” era.

“Lunar,” song number two, is the most conceptually resolved song on the album. It is a collaboration between David Guetta and Afrojack. The sonic feel as well as the progression of the song is definitely one that evokes the sonic ethos of outer space. I noticed halfway through the song that the structure is identical to “Turn Me On” and it occurred to me that had this been wed to Nicki Minaj’s vocals, “Turn Me On” could have been the hit of the year. Perhaps time will prove me wrong and it’ll still become a hit, but this successful bit of electronica could benefit from intelligently placed vocals.

“Sunshine” could have been anyone’s uptempo club banger. The standard, feel-good build-up does little to dispel my growing suspicion that Guetta just threw all of his B-sides from One Love into a blender and tried to pass it off as new. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful song, just low on originality.

The instrumental version of “Little Bad Girl” is surprisingly satisfying, and the only song it competes with is the vocal version. A strong contender for Disc Two, it demonstrates Guetta’s prowess in producing songs that can not only stand alone, but still make you want to dance your pants off.

“Metro Music” comes next. It’s a little more house than club, and its repetition of the same eight-beat line for the majority of the song makes it difficult to listen to. The vocals are a good addition, but Guetta hasn’t quite succeeded in house music territory in my opinion.

Calvin Harris’s “Flashback” starts to play next, here titled “Toy Story,” and it took me a second to realize that Guetta has yet again used a sample he did not make. An alternate take on “music sounds better with you,” which he replaced with “music can be better with you” is thrown into the mix, and I find my nostrils flaring in frustration as I realize that this song consists of two samples, neither one of which is Guetta’s. Overall, it deserves a B-.

“The Future” tries to be a heavy electronica piece, but ends up being no more than a cheap shot. The whole “live” feel that Guetta tried to capture with the song takes away from the experience, and I don’t see myself dancing to this one or keeping it on my iTunes for much longer.

Although it feels like a segue piece, “Dreams” is very successful at what it accomplishes; it creates a basic sound that you can dance to or just shut your eyes and enjoy. Here, Guetta’s habit of repeating beats over and over and over again isn’t bothersome. On the contrary, it makes the song perfect. Think of “Dreams” as an electronic version of vanilla ice cream. It works because of its simplicity and modesty.

“Paris” is a bad combination of snare drums, a “woop” loop and a bass line so antiquated I didn’t even remember it existed until I listened to it. Think Benny Benassi’s “San Francisco,” but cheap. Cheap is a word I seem to be using a lot in this album review, and I mostly use it because the songs feel haphazardly done, with the assumption that they would sell because they are made by Guetta.

The last song on the album is “Glasgow,” and the first half of the song is a very fine piece of electronic music, complete with a deep bass line and vibrant rhythm. Then you hit the 2:50 minute mark, and all of a sudden there are electric guitars everywhere, and it’s not so much an ode to Daft Punk as it is Guetta emulating them. If this song reminds you of Aerodynamic, that’s because it sounds like “Aerodynamic.” And the thing is, if Guetta had presented it as a cover, it would have worked just fine. But post-“Aerodynamic,” the song just becomes a techno piece of trash reminiscent of the music whose natural habitat is a gay club that makes me sigh in disappointment.

Overall, Guetta’s hit the bull’s-eye maybe five times out of the 22 songs he has put out. Considering most 10 song albums also accomplish that, I would have expected more, especially in terms of authentic sound-making. Nothing But the Beat has earned a B with the words “avoid clichés” written in red pen on the side.