Armin van Buuren explores into territories both known and unknown in the new chapter of his life and seventh artist album, Balance.
Less than a week after the dance music scene flocked to Amsterdam for ADE and the initial lineup was announced for ASOT 950 in Utrecht, Armin van Buuren finally unleashed his latest artist album, Balance. Similarly to his 2015 album Embrace, he continues his journey as an artist by exploring new sounds and genres that captivate his creativity.
Released as a double album, Armin shows throughout the 28-track album that he is a true artist at heart. Mixing his trance roots into the equation, he sets no barriers or limitations on himself as a producer and shows that he is never done learning something new.
“‘Every day, you wake up a little more.’ That’s what my mother always says, and it means that you learn more about yourself and the world around you every day,” Armin said. “And she couldn’t be more right.‘Balance’ is a new chapter in my book of life, the result of venturing into known and unknown territories while finding the balance in between. I don’t want to think about what music should be. I want to think about what music could be.”
Take a listen to Balance on Spotify below, stream or purchase the album on your favorite platform, and read on for my take on this release!
Stream Armin van Buuren – Balance on Spotify:
Armin shows off his ability to dominate the mainstage with “Revolution” and “Million Voices”.
“Revolution,” a collab with Luke Bond that features KARRA, is a prime example of mainstage Armin. The killer melody, massive synths, and futuristic vocals make for a thunderous, crowd-pleasing track. “Million Voices” has a very festive feel with the child-like vocals singing along to an anthem meant to unite. JordanShaw‘s vocals in “Something Real” guide you towards the euphoric drop that will make you smile and be in the moment.
The album comes with multiple collaborations with artists from different spectrums of the scene.
“Unlove You” featuring Ne-Yo is a prime example of what the dutch producer can accomplish. He introduces a groovy, deep house feel for Ne-Yo to work around, making for a track that will no doubt be played on the radio. Some slower tracks such as “Phone Down” and “High On Your Love” provide for that pop sound that van Buuren isn’t afraid to explore. All three tracks captivate you with strong vocals that are meant to sing along to while driving on the road.
Armin explores new boundaries in “Sucker For Love,” “Wild Wild Son” and “Don’t Let Me Go.”
“Sucker For Love” and previously released single “Wild Wild Son,” are both tunes that are well-executed with an emphasis on the vocalists and piano notes in the beginning. The buildups continue to make you anticipate the next move and as soon as they both drop with future bass-like elements.
No one, especially me, anticipated a hardstyle track from Armin like “Don’t Let Me Go.”
If you think about it, it makes sense that Armin wanted to explore this boundary. He tends to close his sets now with one or two hardstyle remixes of his tracks. This track is the perfect ending to a set due to the calm tone it brings at the beginning, followed by the bouncy 150 bpm kick drum that brings the spirit of the crowd back up.
Armin shows that his trance roots are alive and well throughout the entire album.
The majority of the trance tracks such as “La Résistance De L’Amour,” Armin’s first-ever collaboration with Above & Beyond “Show Me Love,” and “All Comes Down” can all be found on the second side of the album. They continue to fulfill that need his original followers have for progressive and uplifting trance.
“All Comes Down,” a collab with Cimo Fränkel, is a true balance between piano and classic trance synths. Armin leads you in one direction by starting the track off with plain piano chords but then takes a sharp turn into the territory that he knows oh so well by heart.
Armin has also surprised all of us by releasing “Stickup” that exudes old-school trance vibes.
“Stickup” really takes listeners back to that arena-filling sound. He brings tech-trance elements back into the mix times by adding a very powerful and dark kick, followed by a couple of melodic phrases that bring you into a state of trance. “Mr. Navigator,” a collab with trance producer Tempo Giusto, follows a similar path and continues to navigate its way to the mainstage at every festival with its gripping vocals and bass.
“Miles Away” is the track that really won me over the most on the album.
To me, it provides everything that I want from a trance track. The track takes off with a contagious 138 bpm melodic rhythm and doesn’t let up from there. Martin’s vocals graciously complete the track and have you covered in goosebumps throughout the whole journey. Sam Martin’s voice is distinct from any other vocalist out there and is one to really value.
The fast-paced rhythm along with the melodic synths really combines every single element of the song together. It’s truly a track where Armin went back to the basics that got him to where he is now.
Overall, I feel that Balance is a true representation of Armin van Buuren.
For someone who has been in the dance music scene for as long as Armin has, it only makes sense to showcase everything you have learned along the road in one album. He truly finds a way to Balance all that he has explored and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.
Armin van Buuren – Balance – Tracklist:
- Sucker For Love feat. Avalan
- Something Real w/ Avain Grays feat. Jordan Shaw
- Wild Wild Son feat. Sam Martin
- Phone Down w/ Garibay
- Blah Blah Blah
- Sunny Days feat. Josh Cumbee
- Runaway feat. Candace Sosa
- It Could Be (vs Inner City)
- Unlove You feat. Ne-Yo
- Therapy feat. James Newman
- Waking Up With You feat. David Hodges
- Sex, Love & Water feat. Conrad Sewell
- Don’t Give Up On Me w/ Lucas & Steve feat. Josh Cumbee
- Don’t Let Me Go feat. Matluck
- La Résistance De L’Amour (vs Shapov)
- Million Voices
- Show Me Love (vs Above & Beyond)
- Song I Sing feat. HALIENE
- High On Your Love feat. James Newman
- I Need You w/ Garibay feat. Olaf Blackwood
- Lonely For You feat. Bonnie McKee
- Always w/ BT feat. Nation Of One
- Turn It Up
- Mr. Navigator (vs Tempo Giusto)
- Revolution w/ Luke Bond feat. KARRA
- All Comes Down feat. Cimo Fränkel
- Miles Away feat. Sam Martin