High School Musical (Armin van Buuren, Embrace, review)

It’s really difficult for me to think of EDM and to not think of artists like House of Pain. It’s probably cause I was born in the 80’s and grew up in the 90’s and early 2000s. But whatever, ain’t no thing, but a chicken wing.

Feel it, funk it, amps it are junkin’
And I got more rhymes than there’s cops that are dunkin’
Donuts shop, sure ’nuff I got props from the kids on the Hill
Plus my mom and my pops
I came to get down, I came to get down
So get out your seats and jump around

I’ll just leave this link here, for your viewing pleasure.

For this week’s Melodic Monday, I AM going to fully expect you to jump around though.




Armin van Buuren – Embrace
released October 29, 2015
******** 8/10


Listening to the sixth studio release of Armin van Buuren has taught me a few things. (Which always makes me happy!) The first thing is that house/techno/trance and all of their iterations are still quite alive and well. For some reason or another I had convinced myself that that particular kind of music had started to die down in the early 2000s. Nope, it is still alive and quite well – Thank you very much.

Second thing. This dude really knows what he is doing within his field and has progressed from an artist into a full-on entity.

Seriously though, you cannot become this successful at DJing and producing your own music and not have an entire team helping you to maintain your image and global reach.

Now, some people would argue that requiring a “team” and influencers is effectively selling out, but when you listen to Embrace, I can almost guarantee you will not experience that sense of loss. I attribute it partially to van Buuren’s vision and secondarily to his genre.

You see, synthetic music is naturally quite polished in it’s representation. We could fight about the truth of this statement for hours, and I say this to both the advocates and the haters.

But it definitely is true that the sound which van Buuren is crafting here is a-typical of strings, brass, and drums, and so there is a perception that it is less organic to the ears.

Great! Now that we can agree on that idea, I’m going to tell you what I thought of the album. That’s the third thing. To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a lot of fun and covered a wide range of emotions for me. Which is often something I want in a record. You see, I want my music to either cover the entire human experience or I want it to fit a particular emotional or ideological theme. Yes, dear readers, theme is important to me in an album as well as it is in fine art, film, and writing.

And Embrace fits that theme fairly well as I’ve mentioned already. Songs like Strong Ones assure it.

Tracks like the eponymous opener provide a powerful entrance into the world that van Buuren sets out to create. The follow-up song Another You and other inclusions Face of Summer, Hands to Heaven, and Gotta Be Love play their cards a little bit more close to the pop deck. But those songs aren’t all strung up one after the next. There is a sincere choice being made and then offered. The songs flow in and out of cadence in a sort of roller coaster of sound. Indestructible in particular fits nicely where it has been placed.

The emotion can definitely be felt as you listen to the whole CD (or digital if you prefer).

And this feeling permeates through to the instrumental songs as well. Embargo is probably my favourite. It brings me back to my high school years, when music compilations like Happy 2B Hardcore ran the marketplace.

Some of the reviews I read have stated that Armin van Buuren is still relevant, but he is no longer king of trance. I would argue that music doesn’t always have to fit so closely to a prescribed definition in order to be worth listening to.

But don’t take my word for it, give it a spin yourself!




Sometimes I wonder about all of this raving and trancing though. You would have to have a wicked bad headache after a night of dancing so consistently and so furiously. Maybe that’s why some people do hard drugs.

Hold up.

I am NOT advocating you do drugs dear readers. I sure don’t myself. But that’s your decision. Let’s awkwardly move away from that thought… Would love to read your thoughts and theories on the EDM scene. Haha, ha, err ha.

But that’s all I’ve got for a Monday night! See you tomorrow my friends.


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