Swedish House Mafia announce debut album ‘Paradise Again,’ cap near-decade release hiatus with ‘It Gets Better’ [Stream]
It happened. Swedish House Mafia released new music.
Seeing those words actually written out is legitimately surreal, considering no one was sure this day would ever come after they went their separate ways in 2013. After nine painstakingly long years—including what feels like an eternity since their Ultra 2018 reformation—Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello have arisen (for good this time), and they didn’t come empty handed, ceding their first piece of new music since 2012’s Grammy-nominated classic, “Don’t You Worry Child” with John Martin.
But it’s not just new music, it’s the first single from their debut album, which will appear as part of a new label deal through Republic Records. In a timetable described as “late 2021,” Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello will turn in Paradise Again, the trio’s first full-length, original-only project (excluding Until One and Until Now) that will include their first productions in almost a decade.
“It Gets Better”—the ID that Swedish House Mafia re-welcomed themselves back into the public eye with during their first reunion show inside Stockholm’s Tele2 arena—has been set free, albeit completely unexpectedly and in an entirely different form than the 2019 version that we’d initially come to know and love.
Before we talk speak any further on the track itself, though, let’s map out how we even got to this point in the last week.
If it feels like this all came together in the blink of an eye, it’s because it did. Speculative chaos ensued on July 9 when a first suspicious poster—which waved nothing beyond Swedish House Mafia’s unmistakable three dots and a date of July 16—was spotted in Melbourne, Australia. But as Axwell began to doll out some indirect confirmation via his Instagram, and more posters began to pop up just a few days later in their hometown of Stockholm, followed by New York City, the realization that Swedish House Mafia were genuinely about to fill their near-decade release void started to gain serious momentum. It wasn’t until later that same day when all skepticism seemed to come to an immediate standstill, when the trio’s logo appeared on a billboard in the heart of Times Square, attached with a Spotify logo at the top and a July 15 due date (for timezone reasons) at the bottom, all but formally icing the fact that a new release was happening, regardless if anyone was ready for it or not.
Other than “Underneath It All” with Mike Posner, no argument can justify that Swedish House Mafia had a more sought-after reunion ID than “It Gets Better.” But after more than two years of it sitting untouched in the ID vault, the Swedes concluded that “It Gets Better” deserved a top-to-bottom makeover to keep things interesting—as they’ve always done and will continue to do. Still preserving the sample of Divas of Color’s 1994 single “One More Time,” “It Gets Better” went through a “severely long” creative process, says Axwell, and is evidently a far cry from anything they had constructed across the early 2010s. And even with their new sound, new label, and new chapter now officially instated, Swedish House Mafia did not falter in being able to wind up their polished production into the 2020s.
We might’ve jokingly tossed Swedish House Mafia’s hat into Dancing Astronaut‘s most-anticipated projects of 2021 ring and “It Gets Better” into most-anticipated IDs of 2021 checklist, but there was always going to be that 1% sliver of hope sitting in the back of our minds. In reality, that shot in the dark could’ve paid off at any instant that they deemed fit—and it magically did on July 15—despite a small asterisks having to be placed aside “It Gets Better.” There’s no definitive confirmation on where the trio is off to from this exact moment, but the one thing we do know is: the boys are back.
Featured image: Alive Coverage