Alan Walker
Different World


1.5
very poor

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
December 14th, 2018 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Except this wasn’t a different world at all. This was the mediocre reality of Earth in 2018.

EDM has long been earning itself the reputation (fairly or otherwise depending on your definition) as the more sanitised and marketable little brother of the electronic music family. Where in the late 90s and early 2000s it was seen as daring for mainstream artists to add a little heavy 4/4 thump into their repertoire, in 2018 the ‘featuring’ tag seems like a blunt admission from vocalists that maybe they might be out of ideas. But hey, if you’re riding the coat-tails of a trailblazing producer, the units will shift and it buys you a little more time to work on your solo material...

Or you could work with Alan Walker.

Let me preface by admitting I was a huge fan of ‘Faded’. It was suitably twee and bouncy to grab my attention and set itself out a little bit from the pack of chart-friendly dross at the time. Hell, even the instrumental version of ‘Alone’ still puts a smile on my face. It’s so obnoxiously happy sounding and tweaks my soft spot for the Vengaboys that arguably should have died a long time ago. But ‘Faded’ was released in December 2015. ‘Alone’ was December 2016. If your debut full-length follows in December 2018, then sure there’s no issue in containing the songs that contributed to your success up to this point, but fans may have a bit of a right to expect a little bit of variety over the runtime. You’ve had long enough, after all. Different World spectacularly fails to provide this, settling instead for some of the most frustratingly watered down compositions that arbitrarily limit themselves from becoming interesting for absolutely no reason at all - that’s if it’s not too cynical to suggest that Walker sees this project as a collection of singles rather than an album in its own right. Given that seven of the fifteen songs have been released at this point and three others are introductions and interludes, that doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for a structure as a full body of work, but I digress.

For all of the undeniable crystal clarity in the production on this record, the finished article sounds like Walker has spent the last 4 years learning the ins-and-outs of the demo version of his DAW. The vast majority of this album is dominated by the same three synth leads, the most irritating of which can only be described as a tinny, watery droplet. You may be familiar with it from the build-up to the ‘Faded’ chorus, but having subjected myself to this album, it’s genuinely one of the sole memories I can take away from the entire experience. Beyond this, we just have bouncy banger after bouncy banger, side-chained bass a-plenty, with the sole feature being that it carries just that little bit more swing than your average EDM release.

The vocal features on Different World range from the passable to the downright dull, where the only notable moments come from the missteps. The vocalists on the two aforementioned singles are bafflingly uncredited (Iselin Solheim on ‘Faded’ and Noonie Bao on ‘Alone’), whereas elsewhere, Noah Cyrus makes another impassioned but fruitless plea to be seen as more than just an affordable version of her sister on ‘All Falls Down’, and Emelie Hollow turns one of the closest-to-experimental tracks (‘Lily’) into an uncomfortably saccharine and childish Eurovision entry - going by the melody, tone and inflection, one can’t help but feel that someone like Robyn would have been a ton more suited to the song. Besides these, it’s difficult to single out tracks for praise or criticism, because there’s just too little variance from one 3-minute segment to the next.

Credit where it’s due, this album has been created immaculately. If you’re a fan of EDM and a stickler for production quality then there will assuredly be something in here to sink your teeth into. Every now and then - all too rarely - there’s a choice of synth and a melody that just might tickle the ear right. However, if you’ve heard any of the singles up to this point there is next-to-nothing on show to suggest that there are any more tricks up Walker’s hoodie sleeve. Maybe the choice for the final track might be a sign that Different World is a little self-aware - these 45 minutes will not go down in the memory for long, but Alan Walker was always ‘that dude who did that ‘Faded’ song’…



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
1.8
poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Wanted to like this. Couldn't do it. Have had a bit of an issue adding the artwork so mods if you can help out that would be awesome!

Sinternet
December 14th 2018


18841 Comments


i remember this guy being pretty exciting and fresh when he first started uploading on NoCopyrightSounds and then after that doing absolutely nothing to progress his style any further

if this is more of the same I doubt it's worth my time

sidenote: as I consume probably the most 'edm' out of anyone on this site i'm surprised this flew under my radar, but i doubt outside of random indians who are just discovering edm in the last two years this was hyped at all

oh and good review bro also

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

TBH I wasn't even aware there would be an album until a quick glance of Spotify new releases in the early hours of this morning.



Which was a surprise as I thought this dude had a fair bit of rep.



Thanks for the feedback man!

Sinternet
December 14th 2018


18841 Comments


i think he's one of those cases of it being more popularity over good reputation

there was a point where it seemed like major labels were trying to make him the next garrix, bigging him up and recycling content (rereleasing your biggest song with just some added vocals on top for example, buying ads before tons of yt videos as well) and it was really obnoxious and i guess it made a lot of people tired

that and the lack of artistic progression that is

spectre is still a good song though

SweeneyTodd
December 14th 2018


2108 Comments


faded is a bop, the rest is not

Digging: GL?SS ?33?H - EP

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 14th 2018


4469 Comments


God I hate his sound so much. One of my friends absolutely adores him and I feel bad for not being able to understand why Walker means so much to him but ughhhh it's such blah production. Great review as well

Evenoss
December 14th 2018


273 Comments


EDM DJs struggling to make a hit song.

Alan Walker : Hey let's use that Am-F-C-G chord progression again = 2 billion views.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I just wanted to like this a fuckton more than I did.



There's something really endearing about how he seemingly has no issue with sounding cheesily cheerful at times, and some of the percussive steps are quite interesting, but it's all too few and far between to come away from it feeling any semblance of satisfaction.



Huge thank you for the feedback and the feature!

Sinternet
December 14th 2018


18841 Comments


The problem is this was the sound of the edm underground in 2014/2015 when he blew up - this was when Monstercat and Nocopyrightsounds were hitting peak relevancy, the sound of the endearing, sometimes cheesy, slightly childlike edm that really pulled in a certain crowd (oh yeah this was also when everybody started becoming bedroom producers, not that thats a bad thing ofc but it was before the rise of trap tutorials and such and after the whole big room phase had hit peak relevancy). Many artists, including him, did this sound well at the time and got big doing that, but I feel the reason for doing that was very community-based, sort of like a club where everyone can join. As trends go though (and especially in the context of EDM), this style faded in popularity (ha get it?) and the producers who were once in that camp had three choices really - either switch to a different style, become really fucking good at this style and progress as an artist, or just stop producing. It's clear Alan attempted option two but has failed to do so, and will likely never be able to without taking option one (I'm open to changing my mind though). It's funny because when Faded was released it essentially killed that community, it was their brief 15 minutes of fame that all the underground hype had led up to, and like when any underground scene gets their time in the spotlight as soon as it's over it's no longer the same being part of it - you either grow away or stagnate (and maybe hold out slim hope for a revival in the future). What I'm trying to say is that there's no interest in this guy's music anymore, it's the kind of music that elicits a null response, it's not positive, it's not negative, it's just a subtle reminder to oneself that it exists. You might stick it on when you have nothing else better to do, because you know exactly what you're getting.

Sinternet
December 14th 2018


18841 Comments


Fuck that was a long para sorry

I'm actually excited atm for the edm scene in general though - the new modern psytrance style, the return of hardstyle, future bass can be hit or miss but when it's hit it's real hit, more obscure edm subcultures like jungle terror aswell. It's a pretty good time and in general for mainstream edm the production value has increased massively since the start of the decade. Good shit.

Krvst
December 14th 2018


456 Comments


I live in Vietnam right now and man this guy is so popular here it drives me crazy, swear I've heard faded a million times, good review tho

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 14th 2018


12048 Comments


absolutely blowing my mind that he is as big is he is

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Fuck that was a long para sorry



Made perfect fucking sense though dude, and as a huge electronic fan myself I'm really interested in the subgenres myself. Just checked out a jungle terror mix on YT as I'd literally never heard of it before and that shit was TIGHT.



I have some research to be getting on with.

Sinternet
December 14th 2018


18841 Comments


haha cheers

jungle terror is pretty fun and energetic, kind of a fusion between old dutch house and tribal and in the last couple of years adding quite a few trap elements too

this is one of the biggest bangers out there https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbpiOWqqIZg but pretty much any track from wiwek or the label barong family (yellow claw's label, not always jungle terror but within the similar spectrum. skrillex's label OWSLA also dabbles in this as well

BenThatsMyJamin
December 14th 2018


2389 Comments


Finally a thread where I can express my love for Faded, one of the best chart songs of the last few years for sure

Sinternet
December 15th 2018


18841 Comments


disagrre hard there tbh

BenThatsMyJamin
December 15th 2018


2389 Comments


When I say one of the best chart songs, I of course mean one of the best songs I heard in my friend's car

ItsTheSquirrel
December 15th 2018


202 Comments


Faded was and still is an amazing song, but it seems like mr Walker here realised that too and thaught he’d just keep doing the same song over and over and no-one would notice

Digging: Children of Bodom - Hexed

Krvst
December 15th 2018


456 Comments


Faded is the audible equivalent of a headache

BeardedBird
December 20th 2018


23 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm three tracks in and I don't know how much more I can stand. I too enjoyed Faded when it came out but wow this is an endurance test.



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