‘A Town Called Paradise’: Tiësto’s celebration at the intersection of EDM and pop culture
How has the world of music, entertainment, and culture changed since 2009? Better yet, how has it all grown? The changes between then and now, in dance music particularly, are immeasurable. When Tiësto released his fourth studio album in Kaleidoscope that year, singles such as “Escape Me” and collaborations with the likes of Nelly Furtado were then ahead of their time.
As an artist, he had already taken large strides to evolve. Prior to that landmark year, Tijs Verwest, the kid from Breda, took steps from DJing local spots to headlining larger events before the term “headliner” (as it’s known today) was truly coined. He then moved from DJ compilations, to production, first embracing trance as a popular genre, then continuing to embrace and become accustomed to the tastes of larger audiences. Beginning with the release of his first album in 2001, Tiësto’s career can be revisited by benchmark mini-eras. None, however, have been as great as the period between his last chapter and his current.
Between studio albums, Tijs has released three Club Life compilations, all of which appropriated with new, more stage-tailored sounds. These were the sounds that would allow himself and his peers to fill arenas and, over the course of the past five years, assisted DJs and producers alike to be accepted by popular culture — something that would only have been a dream to sub-genre producers bound to Europe fifteen years ago.
While these changes are still in motion, every moment of every day, Tiësto continues to be at the front, and ahead of the curve of pop culture adoration. As an icon in dance music culture he has helped to attract countless fans to dance music, drawing in tens of thousands based on his name alone. While his live persona is unmatched throughout the globe, Tijs’ music continues to push itself deeper into the pop culture conversation. For his latest chapter, that effort comes in the form of A Town Called Paradise.
During a time period that’s been a matrimony between DJs and studio albums, many artists look to depart from sounds or hone in on niches. With his Universal-signed swing, however, Tiësto reigns as dance music’s mainstream ambassador. The flag carrying begins with the album’s first track and lead single, “Red Lights,” one of two hits in heavy rotation, and continues with two potential successors — future hits “Footprints” and “Light Years Away” — all of which are being lead by the run of “Wasted” as this summer’s long-slide anthem.
The album’s title track, and Hardwell and Matthew Koma mega-collaboration “Written In Reverse” follow in upholding the project’s heavy vocal, pop-savvy nature. Impressing more instrumentally while remaining intact with the aforementioned theme, offerings such as “Echoes,” “Rocky,” and “Can’t Forget” unfold as standout crowd pleasers. Executing on all ends of songwriting is the contagious Icona Pop-assisted “Let’s Go,” Firebeatz and Ladyhawke’s helping hands on “Last Train,” and the record that best embodies ATCP, “The Feeling.”
In releasing his newest studio album last week, Tiësto has set the stage for celebration. Comprised of 14 tracks (and an extra four with the deluxe edition), A Town Called Paradise is one big party from start to finish, with Tijs pushing the intersection of dance and pop further into the public eye, garnering even more social acceptance, and widening the space for electronic artists to see radio success.
What Tiësto is doing for dance music, what is to be celebrated by any supports, is captured for A Town Called Paradise. This party extends an open invitation to all, even loudly heard critics or wide-eyed naysayers. For every one “fan” stuck in the past, hundreds more have tuned in when the album’s singles hit airwaves. For every one person losing sleep nostalgic for the “old Tiësto,” hundreds more are partying late into the night thanks to the man leading the charge. Simply put, Tiësto is opening more doors than he’s closing, and A Town Called Paradise is one celebration you’d be wise to join in on.