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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Paul van Dyk
Mute Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
To many in the US, club music hit its stride sometime around 1989 when C+C Music Factory dropped "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)". Something about that call to the floor anthem just captivated people and they were hooked. Soon after, copies of discs by Crystal Waters flew off the shelves like fucking hot cakes, only paving the way for dance floor stomps by luminaries like the Quad City DJs. And then something happened, man. The music like, died. The final resting place of latter day dance floor anthems are the strip clubs that stretch across the land, with dance songs being played in between blocks of ACDC's "Back in Black" and Def Lepard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" on those continuous jam radio station's where, like a child taking too large a dose of Ritalin, the energy never stops-even the commercials have a beat behind them.

But seriously, did you know that there's this whole other continent across a big ocean called "Europe" and they've been digging this thing called dance music for years. And get this- most people over there don't even speak English! Crazy, huh? Yeah, I know. No, we can't invade them like the Middle East. They don't have any oil, and besides most of our corporations are over there already anyway.

So this guy Paul Van Dyk, he's German and he's been doing his thing not only in "Europe" but the rest of the world too. And though, he's no Freedom Williams, he knows a thing or two about kickin' it and cold kickin' it.

Paul Van Dyk's Reflections, his fourth full length effort, has enough muscle and innovation behind it to be a club hit, but also has some potential to be a crossover success, that is if you define success as having a song used in a car commercial.

Van Dyk is much touted as a pioneer and torch bearer of progressive trance, and yet searching throughout the disc there isn't much sign of progressive flourishes, and much of it seems like a marriage between the more middle of the road dance-floor formulas and pop tendencies.

"Crush" starts off the disc with, naturally, a thumping, ass-shaking beat and a thick, dense production. "Time of Our Lives" is Van Dyk's collaboration with Rock Group Vega 4. Although vaguely joyous and life affirming, so much so that it could have been the backdrop to a climactic moment in Felicity, it is a track that should be celebrated. It is a great song that is instantly catchy.

On "Like a Friend" the pop structure deteriorates into more of a laid back trip hop piece that would fit somewhere nicely in Morcheeba's back catalogue. Like any club DJ set, the playlist goes from more structured grooves like "Nothing but You" but eventually relents to more chaotic and unstructured thumping beats. With the hypnotic and otherworldly vibe of "Connected" it is simple to imagine sweat soaked throngs mashing to the warehouse-shaking big beats with or without glow sticks.

On the whole Van Dyk seems like he's trying to bridge that gap between underground dance floor culture, with its constant innovation and fluid evolution, and conventional and mainstream culture resistant to change without corporate branding. Van Dyk fluctuates between succeeding, succeeding mildly, and barely missing the mark. However if you aren't into all that analysis, you may rest assured that several cuts on Van Dyk's party mega mix will have you sufficiently moving your ass.

Though he's able to get it right a number of times throughout Reflections, this disc shows us it's not so easy to be transcendent, inspiring, ground-breaking and popular at the same time. A fact which makes Dance floor market cornerers C+C Music Factory all the more legendary for doing just that.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams



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