Lets talk tunes. I have listened to this CD many times over the last two weeks. The official album has 15 tracks. First up is Symmetries. Its a really nice opening progressive tune. My son actually requested this track when we went for a Father and Son drive this weekend. He's four and typically requests the soundtrack to RIO. It was a great moment. The next tune Ocean has nice sweeping melodies with haunting vocal shorts over a pretty decent kick drum. Definitely a summer 2012 anthem. And even better, the album mix is over six minutes long and DJ friendly. Eternity a vocal progressive tune is a tough one to call. It has some nice elements, but the overpowering vocal from Adam young is a bit quirky. And this coming from a guy who loved his vocal with Chicane for MiddleDistanceRunner. Some might love it but I expect a lot of haters. Club dub please! Anyways, its only using 3:30 of the album. So its really too short to complain about. Verano the first official single from Evolution starts out with this amazing hard hitting build for the first thirty seconds. Unfortunately its a bit of a tease as it quickly transitions to a designed for peak time lead and the kick drops out. I do like the hard hitting bass line and kick, but for this style, I prefer a tune like Klous Goullart's recent Sweet Little Pepper to this one. Probably the best part of the song for me was the atmosphere created by the octave changes in the bass starting near the three minute mark and continuing until the fourth. I Dont Deserve You is one of my favorite tracks on the album - amazing vocals. Wow! Immediately catchy! I can see myself singing this song really loud in my car all summer long on the way to the beach. My poor wife and son Whether you love him or hate him you have to admit Arty is on fire right now and everybody wants to ride him, including PVD. The Sun After Heartbreak is an interesting collaboration between Arty and Paul. Though I favor trance, I actually enjoy all forms of electronic music and this song is included. Just a great tune. Clearly Arty is still hot. Sue McLaren vocals really shine in this one.
When Rock this (V1 edit) first dropped I was worried about the album. The album version does nothing to relay my fears. The song has an old school sound and at times sounds too close to SOS by the Police. Its also a bit too repetitive. Honestly this song does not feel like evolution, on the contrary it sounds derivative.
Dae For seemed to be quite popular during ASOT 550. Is it worthy of the caning? Well, for the most part it delivers. It does have the classic PVD feel. Its not going to be a classic, but you can actually dance to it and I am a sucker for uplifting trance so I not going to complain.
So for the first eight tracks I've liked six so far. If fact two of them were even memorable and I liked quite a bit. Wow, thats not bad. For most artist albums if I like even fifty percent of the tunes its impressive. Surely something has to give. And All the Way is where the album really starts to fall apart. I don't know why this total crap tune at over six minutes of painful duration is on the album. It is an instant skip. Speaking of instant skip. So is the next tune If you Want My Love featuring Caligola on vocals. Who? Forget about it. The cheesy saxophone intro and title speak volumes for the quality of this tune. The hook is a shameless ripoff of Money for Nothing by the Dire Straits. And don't get me started on the lyrics. I seriously cannot understand what Paul was thinking when he decided these two tunes should be on the album. It goes beyond disliking these two tracks. I loathe them. They offend my ears. And what makes it even worse is that the album is nearly over and I still not have heard the Johny McDaid tune I have been dying for. So I am getting nervous. Thankfully unlike All the Way, this tune is the shortest on the album and likely only included so that the eventual remix album can feature the club dub he has been playing around.
I will not include the next quality tune in the rant that is the last paragraph. So we start anew with Lost in Berlin... Is it me or is mastering better on this tune? It just sounds so great on my Yamaha monitors and Beyerdynamic headphones. It even makes my factory car stereo sound decent. The lows really hit. The highs sparkle. The drums kick like a donkey in heat. This song will set dance floors into a mad frenzy. Great vocals as well by Michelle Leonard. Everywhere continues the euphoria. It sounds too dirty to be this clean, and fat bass never over distorts into fart sounds. Amazing tune! Classic PVD! And exactly what I was hoping for from this album. Good news DJ's the album version on this one is also over six minutes long and fairly DJ friendly. These two back to back tunes are my favorite part of the album.
The first of the last three songs is A Wonderful Day. It slowly builds up with an electric acid like sound and a somewhat muffled bass. At first I didn't find this tune memorable but after a few listens, it gets better. I look forward to remixes of this one. So we have all heard the Arty remix of We Come Together many times. Perhaps I am tainted but I prefer that version to the album version. I think the lead over powers the vocal in the beginning...I also find it less epic. Ok last song of the album. It has to be the collaboration with Johnny Mc Daid. Nope. Instead its another forgettable vocal tune that is overly repetitive entitled Heart Stops Beating. Ironic?
So where do we end up? A little over the 50% crap threshold. For most artists, that is pretty impressive but this is freaking PVD. And not having the McDaid tune that I now know to be entitled Music Rescues Me which he has been playing heavily on his album promotion tour (where I heard it) is truly unforgivable. It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. False advertising as far as I'm concerned. Just as bad as when Dash Berlin's youtube album promo used a song that wasn't even on the album. Maybe even worse because in this case the track list wasn't announced until just before release. And PVD never listed the Bonus EP tracks before release. So you either had to cancel the preorder or just trust him. In PVD I trusted. Big mistake. I am so heart broken I almost don't even want the shirt anymore. Quite frankly, it is my own stupid fault, but it was a selfish ass move by PVD as far as I am concerned.
Album Score: 7/10 (6/10 if you had PVD Classic level expectations)
All of you intelligent penny pinchers out there might be wondering what did I get with my Bonus EP? Well besides the shirt, and vinyl/dvd (would have preferred blu-ray or even better something like the Global DVD) which I will rarely/never play, I got the title track, Evolution. How weird is it that this tune wasn't included on the album. I mean its the freakin title track. It's not a bad old school tune and better than Rock this for sure. So I am happy to have it. Also included is a decent chill tune titled Fire and Rain. Then Revival, which is not worth the disk space quite frankly. An alternative remix of Eternity...Really!? And lastly another version of We Come Together that I do not like as much as the Arty remix. What adds insult to injury is that the cheap itunes version has better extras than I get with my ninety dollar purchase. I mean how much do I have to pay to get all the extras? I am ready to get my Better Off Dead on here people! The itunes extras include the track Senses and Open My Eyes, a lovely pair up with my other favorite German producers Kyau and Albert. I just cant fathom why some of these tracks didnt make it on the album. If you throw out the crap in Evolution and replace it with Music Rescues Me, Evolution, Open My Eyes, and some amazing theoretical classic higher BPM PVD Club Mix, what you would have would be an album for the ages. Another proud notch in PVD's legacy. Instead I am left wanting more despite my light wallet. By the time all of the singles are released along with the eventual Extended and Evolution Remixed albums will we even care? And will Paul have all my money?
Preorder Deluxe Edition Score: 3/10
- 'SYMMETRIES' FEAT. AUSTIN LEEDS
- 'THE OCEAN' FEAT. ARTY
- 'ETERNITY' FEAT. ADAM YOUNG
- 'VERANO' FEAT. AUSTIN LEEDS
- 'I DON'T DESERVE YOU' FEAT. PLUMB
- 'THE SUN AFTER HEARTBREAK' FEAT. SUE MCLAREN & ARTY
- 'ROCK THIS'
- 'DAE YOR' FEAT. UMMET OZCAN
- 'ALL THE WAY' FEAT. TYLER MICHAUD & FISHER
- 'IF YOU WANT MY LOVE' FEAT. CALIGOLA
- 'LOST IN BERLIN' FEAT. MICHELLE LEONARD
- 'EVERYWHERE' FEAT. FIELDWORK
- 'A WONDERFUL DAY' FEAT. GIUSEPPE OTTAVIANI
- 'WE COME TOGETHER' FEAT. SUE MCLAREN
- 'HEART STOPS BEATING' FEAT. SARAH HOWELLS
Hear the whole album here:
ITunes Deluxe Tracks:
16. Love Ammunition (feat. Michelle Leonard)
18. Open My Eyes (feat. Kyau & Albert)
PVD Shop Pre-order Deluxe Bonus EP Tracks:
19. Eternity (Alternate Radio Mix)
20. Evolution (Extended Mix)
21. Fire and Rain
23. We Come Together (Chris Ortega Mix)