This Monday, David Guetta digitally re-released his fifth studio album, Nothing but the Beat 2.0. And though the album debuts six new songs with some notable guest artists, it isn’t a significant improvement over the original release.
“She Wolf (Falling to Pieces),” featuring Sia, has already been released as the first single from the new album, although it has yet to crack the U.S. charts. It follows the typical progression of the Guetta-Sia songs like “Titanium,” with an easy piano instrumental before crescendoing to a thumping chorus.
It takes over a third of the song to reach that chorus, though, and the electronic interlude seems all too short. In fact, Sia’s vocals dominate most of the track, crooning about the hunter and the hunted without moving much past the repeated lines in the chorus.
“She Wolf” fails to reach the same level of catchiness compared to “Titanium,” the current hit on seemingly every radio station. If the tempo were to pick up during the verses and more emphasis was put on Guetta’s mixing, the track might be a bigger hit in North America.
Ne-Yo and Akon provide perhaps the best chance for a big hit off the album, however, with “Play Hard.” Borrowing from “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay, the backing track is immediately recognizable — a good thing considering some of the catchiest Top-40 hits in recent history have sampled older hits, from Kanye West’s “Stronger” (Daft Punk) to Flo Rida’s “Right Round” (Dead or Alive).
Unlike some of the other tracks on the album, it is nearly impossible to resist dancing for the entire 3 1/2 minutes of “Play Hard.” Plus, the endless repeating of the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mantra is all too difficult to get out of one’s head.
“Wild Ones 2” serves as a sequel to the original “Wild Ones,” although Flo Rida is notably absent on this update. Sia does not bring anything new to the table, boldly repeating “Hey, I heard you were a wild one!” between lengthy dance sequences that are an improvement over the original. They are somewhat reminiscent of Guetta’s earlier work, recalling the hook in “Sexy B-tch” featuring Akon.
Another addition to the re-release, “Just One Last Time,” featuring newcomer Taped Rai, is strangely chilling and perhaps the most subdued song on the album. Granted, Guetta’s trademark work is present in the chorus, where the track departs from verses that almost lull listeners to sleep.
Taped Rai, a relatively unknown vocalist from Sweden, likely hopes that collaborating with a high-profile DJ will be a stepping-stone into launching his own individual career. “Just One Last Time” is his first released song.
At first, “In My Head” featuring NERVO sounds eerily similar to the songs featuring Sia. The track takes its time building up, gradually adding more instruments as the verses proceed. The gratifying drop that all fans patiently wait for finally comes after the first minute, and the song keeps its driving pace for the rest of the song. Though it might not end up being released as a single, “In My Head” has the best mix of vocals and synthetic sounds without being too annoyingly catchy.
Tegan and Sara prove to be fascinating guest artists on the final new track, “Every Chance We Get We Run.” One could argue it isn’t even a dance track: The mood and pace are relaxed — comforting, even. All of the hard-hitting beats are stripped away, showcasing Guetta’s versatility as a producer. The style is even uncharacteristic of Alesso, who helped produce the track. “Every Chance” proves a much-needed breather in a dance-heavy album.
Comparatively, it is difficult for the new songs on Nothing but the Beat 2.0 to match up to the titans on its predecessor. Tracks like “Turn Me On,” which features Nicki Minaj, are in a league of their own, combining star power and explosive sounds that similarly thrill from beginning to end. “I Can Only Imagine,” ever since its performance by Guetta, Chris Brown, and Lil’ Wayne at the 54th Grammy Awards, has been a staple at electronic music festivals and clubs alike.
And, finally, the euphoric “Without You” (featuring Usher) and “Titanium” seem to be untouchable, climbing Billboard charts with alarming speed since their debuts.
That isn’t to say that the six new tracks on the re-release will not be successful, but with fewer famous featured artists and less aggressive instrumentals, it’s hard to see how they could ever compare to that success.
Still though, Nothing but the Beat 2.0 isn’t anything to claw after. Fans who want to see a different side of Guetta should consider dropping a few bucks. You might be glad you did.