Who doesn’t like a new release? I rarely write album reviews. I listen to so much music; I would never be able to write a review for every album that I listen to. But when the new Sander van Doorn album came across my desk, I had no choice. It’s that good. I recently sat down with Sander for an exclusive artist interview, and while I knew he was working on a new album, I didn’t ask him too many questions about it. The album doesn’t come out until the end of September anyway.
1. Interlude // Love Is Darkness (feat. Carol Lee)
Right out of the gate, I was excited for this album. I am a big fan of his, and I love the title. 11 songs… that’s not very many for a DJ, but that’s okay. I didn’t need any more than this. He was able to pull me in, grab hold, and not let go… one song after another.
The progression that leads into Love Is Darkness sets you up for an hour plus of engaging dance heavy beats. Love Is Darkness might be the best single on the album. Carol Lee is great; I love her voice. She complements Sander well. I wonder if she ever tours with him…
Not sure why this song is called Koko… and I don’t really care. When I first started listening to electronic dance music, I was worried I would get bored with it. I was afraid that I would wake up one day, and want to move back into something I was more comfortable with. There was a time in my life that country music was all that I could listen to. Then I moved into rock and alternative. Now… dance. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Koko is repetitive, as is most dance music, but that’s okay. It builds on itself and continues to throw more into the mix. They don’t call this stuff dance music because you stand still. Get up and move. Koko is the first song on the album that will do just that.
3. Believe (feat. Tom Helsen)
Believe starts out with some heavy piano, and then Tom Helsen jumps in. “I’m giving in, letting go, and I’m not afraid boy…” Lyrics in dance music, vocal trance for the most part, makes this stuff even more enjoyable for me. Without words it would just be beats. So when artists add the vocals, I get excited.
Guys like Above & Beyond will sometimes add their own vocals. Often times you will see a DJ use a guest performer. In this song, as on many others in his catalog, he uses a featured performer.
One thing I love about Sander, as well as many of the other great DJs out there, is how their music sounds from one song to the next. This might be hard to explain, but it’s consistently good and sounds like it’s on a totally different level than everything else out there. I use Armin van Buuren as the epitome of this, but Sander is getting there with his latest release.
Nano, like nearly every other song on this album, has a certain sense of progression here, and builds from one moment to the next. I dare you to listen to a track like this and not bob your head.
5. Rolling the Dice with Sidney Samson (feat. Nadia Ali)
I love Las Vegas… so a song that is titled Rolling The Dice makes me think of Sin City. Add Nadia Ali to the mix and you got my attention. She is only 31 years old, and has worked with a TON of artists including Sander van Doorn, Armin van Buuren, Roger Sanchez… an endless list of superstars.
I just keep going back to the lyrics. They make this album, as not every song has lyrics nor do they need them. It has the ability to bring you up and keep you moving.
6. Beyond Sound (Godskitchen Urban Wave mix)
Not sure what makes this the Godskitchen Urban Wave Mix, but I like it. I am sure there is something behind that… But this album is sort stuck on repeat. You get a track with lyrics, then a song that is simply beats. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I feel like it will be over before I know it. I am not sure 11 songs are enough.
I wonder what made him decide to do 11 songs. Well, 12 if you count the one he gave away on his Facebook page.
7. Timezone (feat. Frederick)
Who is Frederick? Who cares, this song is incredible. Can you tell I like this album? Every song has me saying something positive. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t write a ton of album reviews. I would get used to saying the same thing, and like an album just because of who produced it. I have been into Sander for a long time, but when good friend Johnny Monsoon vouched for him as well… I was hooked.
Frederick doesn’t add as much power to this single as the ladies do. I could almost do without his vocals. But the beats in the background manage to bring the song to fruition.
8. Drink to Get Drunk
Do you drink water to quench your thirst? Man… another incredible track. Love Is Darkness is already hitting the top of the charts, but I will be shocked if this, among others on this album, doesn’t join it at the top. The lyrics stop about halfway through yet the beats keep up with the same feel you had from the start. I have said it before, and I will say it again, but this album makes me dance in my chair!
9. Who’s Wearing the Cap with Laidback Luke
I had the chance to see Laidback Luke last year at Electric Zoo. The dude put on a KILLER set. He was jumping around the stage, and having a blast. I even got the chance to chat with him a bit in the press tent. When I heard that Sander was working with him on a single, I figured it would turn out great. It did.
One thing that impresses me about these guys is how young they are. Or how young they appear to be on stage. Just look at the fun they have jumping around on stage night after night, then hitting the studio to produce these beats. What a life.
10. Slap My Pitch Up
Not sure I have ever heard it put that way… but as the album starts to wind down you can feel it in the music. The last couple of tracks, this one included, has a subtle settling feel about it. Sure, you will still get up and move… but it’s not the same progression that you have felt throughout the rest of the album.
Slap My Pitch Up is dark, more depressing than the rest of the album. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You get a little deep bass toward the first part of the track, and then it just continues as the song proceeds.
11. Eagles with Adrian Lux
There is a HUGE pause before you get into track 11. I almost thought it was over, and when I started counting the tracks in my head I knew we couldn’t be done. Just when I was about to call it quits, Eagles starts up to send us home.
This is a great way to end the album, and features another incredible artist with Adrian Lux. I just keep going back to how epic this album is, and how incredible it sounds from one song to the next and as a complete collection of tunes. I am very impressed with this, and can’t wait to see what’s next for Sander van Doorn.
That’s it… only 11 songs. Hence the name of the album, I suppose. Funny thing though, there was another track. The song was called TRACK 12. Instead of putting it on the album, Sander decided to give it away for free. This single was released on August 26 on his Facebook page. This album is one of the best releases I have heard in a long time, from Sander or from anyone. I don’t want to dog on Armin’s new release… but this is better. Well-done Sander.