Photo Credit: SNDR
In the much-anticipated follow-up to his muti-disc Balance album Armin Van Buuren drops a 3-disc LP Feel Again. This is a beast of an album with 34 tracks and a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes featuring a full house of collaborations with other notable artists, as well as up-and-coming artists, songwriters, and vocalists. Feel Again is a well-rounded body of work that dives into a wide array of genres while remaining a trance album at its core. This album came as a response to the isolation Van Buuren felt during the pandemic, and the feelings of connection, acceptance, and love are the reoccurring themes woven into each track.
“Stoked and proud to finally share the full album,” said Armin van Buuren on the day of its release. “To me, Feel Again signifies a new beginning, as being lost without actively realizing it can whittle away at who you are. I’m happy to have found a new balance and a reinvigorated love for music, and I hope the album will remind and encourage listeners to stay connected and true to themselves.”
Van Buuren is known in the EDM scene as a god of trance, a subgenre of electronic music categorized by hypnotic rhythms and sounds. With over 3 decades of notoriety under his belt, one would expect this album to be his piece de resistance, honing in all of his production skills to create the perfect trance album, but it subverts the expectation and is mostly (save for a few tracks) a big room type mix of house and electronic music. If this album were made by anyone other than Van Buuren it would’ve been largely forgotten about, there isn’t much that stands out; the tracks feel generic and at times the vocals are too overpowering as if to overcompensate for the lackluster beats.
While Feel Again demonstrates the versatility of Van Buuren as a producer, it also highlights his weaknesses. Buuren is well known for his remixes and mashups of popular songs, but when it comes to producing an original track, he isn’t very strong in that department. This mammoth of a project just overstays its welcome and you get a mix of everything considered “house.” His strengths come to play in the long, drawn-out, emotionally progressive tracks, like “Off Shore” and “No Fun” and he falters on the more on-trend slap house songs, which are honestly forgettable. The album is full of filler and lacks the cohesiveness that creates a body of work. Feel Again is more like a Spotify playlist.
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