Having recently secured a fourth consecutive Top 10 entry in DJ Mag’s prestigious Top 100 poll and seventh place on Forbes’ DJ Rich List, Dutchman Nick van de Wall, aka Afrojack, finally gets round to releasing his first studio effort with the star-studded Forget The World.
Unfortunately, these hopelessly generic twelve tracks, which stick resolutely to a well-worn formula of string-soaked intros, epic drops and stratospheric EDM synths, don’t exactly justify the lengthy wait.
Bookended by two contrived attempts to recreate the heart-on-the-sleeve clichés and emotive rock-lite melodies of Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child,” opener “Ten Feet Tall” and closer “Keep Our Love Alive are virtually interchangeable.” “Born To Run” and “Freedom” both waste the talents of Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn and BRIT School graduate Jack McManus respectively with their Vegas superclub-by-numbers production. Elsewhere, fronted by Sting (yes, that Sting!), “Catch Tomorrow” might just usurp Leann Rimes and The Crystal Method’s “Grace” as the most baffling and misguided collaboration of 2014.
In the end, it’s left to Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa to drag Forget The World out of Afrojack’s default setting, with the former in full-on party mode on the intriguing trap-hop of “Dynamite” and the latter playing up to his stoner persona on the multi-layered trance of “Too Wild.” Penultimate track “Mexico,” a surprisingly delicate piano led ballad which could have been lifted from Coldplay’s debut album, also provides a welcome change of pace.
Of course, considering Afrojack’s previous hook-ups with wannabe DJ Paris Hilton, Forget The World could have been far worse. But at least an appearance from the air-headed socialite would have provided a bit more entertainment, however car-crash, on a record which commits dance music’s cardinal sin in that ultimately, it’s overwhelmingly dull.