Review Summary: House music aiming for the charts with the help of an all-star cast.
Those wanting proof of how much one or two hit singles can do for an artist need only compare the vocalists used on French DJ David Guetta's two most recent releases. Where 2007's 'Pop Life' carried the likes of Chris Willis, Cozi Costi, JD Davis, Juliet & Tara McDonald, new album 'One Love' upgrades to the all-star cast of Akon, will.i.am, Estelle, Ne-Yo & Kelly Rowland. All this on the back of a couple of U.K top 10 hits, the more successful of which was arguably an unintended accident when a mash-up of Guetta's 2002 song 'Love Don't Let Me Go' and The Egg's 'Walking Away' took the world by storm.
Of course, having the best players on your team does not necessarily result in victory and 'One Love' highlights this by being a rather hit and miss affair. In fact, such a finding can best be proven by simply looking at Rowland's three contributions to the LP. Opener 'When Love Takes Over' has already been a deserved worldwide smash hit, with its memorable and euphoric melody perfectly combining the piano hook from Coldplay's 'Clocks', swirling synths, an insistent beat and the former Destiny's Child songstress' splendid vocals. Elsewhere however, 'It's The Way You Love Me' is merely by-the-numbers, while her duet with Ne-Yo ('Choose') is a disappointing attempt at a darker up-tempo cut that gets mighty close to embarrassing for all those concerned.
Those after something truly embarrassing need not fear though as will.i.am also contributes three performances to Guetta's 4th album. And boy, does he justify the haters with his vocals here! His exaggerated pronunciations on 'On The Dancefloor' plummet it to low depths, yet even that is surpassed by the migraine-inducing posturing evident on 'I Wanna Go Crazy', a song so bad that it could only be served up to the drunk and horny. Also earning a redundant place on 'One Love' is a remixed electro version of The Black Eyed Pea's 'I Gotta Feeling'. Why" Because Guetta produced the worldwide #1, that's why. The other stinker of the LP is penultimate track 'Toyfriend', where Wynter Gordon fails to convey a sexy middle-eastern vibe amongst annoying siren-like synths that sound akin to a never-ending car alarm.
It is not all doom and gloom thankfully, and Guetta showcases his talents on a number of tracks by masterfully fusing differing vocal techniques to house music. Long-time collaborator and gospel singer Chris Willis ('Gettin' Over') and hip-hopper Novel ('Missing You') come out sounding fantastic, as does the smooth Julie McKnight ('How Soon Is Now') and the always reliable Estelle, who delivers a multi-faceted performance on the title track. It is a testament to Guetta's skill that he can successfully combine this many variety of singers to a background of squiggly synth stabs and heart-pounding bass drum beats, many of which will have your speakers vibrating if the volume is turned above half-way. Although, there are also occasions when Guetta realizes that less is more, as can be heard on closer 'If We Ever'. With the pace slowed down, Makeba Riddick's (predominantly auto-tuned) harmonies atop sparse electronics and strings are a mini-revelation.
In continuing his obsession to bring house music to the mainstream masses, Guetta is always going to hit a few hurdles that will have the naysayers laughing hysterically in his direction. Such atrocities do exist on 'One Love', however it will still undoubtedly find an audience on the strength of its highlight tracks. While sounding more like a compilation of singles than a fully cohesive album, 'One Love' could in fact be the release that finally wins over both the dedicated weekend club-goers, as well as the stay-at-home older generation looking to revisit their youth.
Recommended Tracks: When Love Takes Over, One Love & Gettin' Over.