‘Forever’: Alesso finally releases his debut album and we’re picking favorites
It was 2011, the hottest instrumental track in the world and the tune that defined EDM belonged to a little-known, 20-year-old producer from Sweden. The unprecedented movement behind “Calling,” a handful of early tracks to satisfy new fans, and a spot beneath the wing of then-Swedish House Mafioso Sebastian Ingrosso; it was the perfect storm for Alesso.
Heading to the United States before even legal to drink in the country and instantly becoming an in-demand live act before he’d been an experienced DJ, Alesso found himself in the perfect place at the perfect time. Just when EDM was becoming the hottest thing among the millennial generation looking for a new wave of music to claim, there he was. Being touted as the most talented producer of the generation, aligned with the likes of Avicii, expectations for the budding producer were set sky-high.
What was wanted from Alesso? Much more of what he’d already supplied. Fans were already calling (no pun intended) for a full-length album from the producer. They wouldn’t get that. Time would pass and Alesso would deliver new music only on rare occasions, embracing the quality-over-quantity mentality of his SHM mentor. Fast forward a few years, and Alesso is finally ready to turn out that long-coveted album. Alesso’s trail to Forever began after signing with Def Jam Recordings in the summer of 2014. First it was with “Tear The Roof Up,” an acclaimed progressive hitter debuted at Ultra months prior. Then it was “Heroes,” a collaboration with Tove Lo that went on to sell over a million copies. Now, just on the brink of his 24th birthday, Forever has finally arrived.
Hotly anticipated for maybe a little too long, Alesso’s debut album cuts no corners. From the first moment to the last, the Swede brings you through ups and downs, using all the tools at his disposal; euphoric vocally-driven productions, signature instrumentals and the flex of his edgier persona. Cohesive and balanced, the album takes the story-telling route with just the right pitstops. Now that we’ve followed along and taken the path that Alesso has blazed as Forever, we’re picking favorites.
Our Favorite Moment: ‘Profondo’
The greatest moment off Forever comes within the first seconds. The introduction to Alesso’s debut album does a mean job of introducing a full-length project from the electronic artist most overdue for one. “Profondo” growls with grit and calls for all admirers to tune in and remained tuned in.
Our Favorite Vocal Track: ‘Sweet Escape’
On an album filled with vocals and featuring the likes of Ryan Tedder and Hurts, our favorite comes with help from Siren. On “Sweet Escape,” Alesso and the singer find bliss in collaborating. Where many dance tracks topped with vocals leave you begging for an instrumental version, “Sweet Escape” comes forth cohesively and with purpose.
Our Favorite Pop Crossover: ‘Scars’
It doesn’t take too hard of a look at Forever to notice there’s a platinum-selling single. “Heroes” might have taken over radio, pop culture and everywhere in between; “Cool” may have followed suit with Roy English aiming for commercial appeal. It’s “Scars,” however, that surfaces as the hidden gem on an album full of electro-pop and potential crossovers. With Alesso on his A-game and Ryan Tedder taking it away with songmanship, “Scars” is due to be the next “Heroes.”
Our Favorite Edgy Effort: ‘Payday’
Alesso shows two personalities on Forever. The world knows Alesso as a pop star thanks to “Heroes” and “Calling.” The dance world knows Alesso for raw, progressive energy from early efforts like “Dynamite” or “Raise Your Head.” The latter has been the fan favorite for day-ones and die-hards. That Alesso comes through on “Pay Day,” after “Profondo” gracefully introduces a locked-and-loaded producer embarking on his assault.
Our Favorite Signature Tune: ‘In My Blood’
Between both ends of the aforementioned spectrum, there is middle-ground between Alesso in your car and Alesso in your nightclub. A balance of styles that have resulted in some of his biggest records to date. Think “Clash,” “Years,” or “City of Dreams” — tracks that will work on festival crowds but appeal to audiences even larger. The style that Alesso has made his signature is delivered on a handful of Forever selections, but none represent that space owned by the Swede better than “In My Blood.”
Our Favorite Track Overall: ‘Destinations’
Forever is many things, but if there’s only one thing to recognize, it’s the diversity. Through the album you get all sides of Alesso; all personalities, all production styles; satisfaction to your craving for quality instrumental and vocal efforts. From being drawn in by the animal-like introduction followed by the beastly first full track to the healthy dose of mainstream EDM, the wide range of offerings off Forever make it difficult to make such a call, but that’s where we find “Destinations.”
Our Favorite Bonus Cut: ‘Gillionaire’
Are you f*cking kidding? These should be your first thoughts when completing your listen through Forever and arriving at the bonus selections. There’s a slow version of “Cool” which (no pun intended) allows a moment to cool down. Just a moment, though. Then there’s “Gillionaire,” previously known as “Nillionaire,” the early Alesso record that helped define his career and will never, ever get old.
Purchase Alesso’s Forever on iTunes