Over the past 2 years, we have heard countless big name DJs announce an album that would be experimental and sound much more substantial than what we’ve come to expect from them. Fast forward to release day and you come to find out that the album is a few festival bangers mixed with some middling tracks they couldn’t release any other way. Very rarely does a DJ really dig in and bare their soul to us through an album, but that it just what Steve Angello has done with Wild Youth.
The story of the album stretches back to the postscript of Swedish House Mafia, when many suspect that Steve grew tired of the “hands in the air” progressive formula that got them to the top. Then the album suffered through endless delays due to creative differences between Steve and Columbia Records about the promotional efforts for the singles. Those differences led Steve to buy back the rights from Columbia Records and run the release himself. After the album was finished, Steve felt that the quality was not what it needed to be, so he scrapped half the tracks and started again. After waiting for 3 years the album had an impossibly high hurdle to hit, but it truly feels worth the wait. At its heart, Wild Youth is the story of Swedish House Mafia’s rebellious wild child. After listening to the album and seeing the accompanying videos, you will feel an emotional understanding of Steve and you might even experience some clarity about his decision to strike it out on his own and close the SHM chapter.
Wild Youth does a great job at mixing uplifting indie-style vocal tracks with some more contemplative ones along with various styles of house, and they all feel like a cohesive whole when put together. You can imagine that all of the tracks exist in the same auditory universe which was also similar in Porter Robinson’s lauded Worlds. There is almost no filler here, unless you count the outro “….” which is not a song but actually an epilogue from Steve himself that really puts the artist and the album in even greater perspective. If you were a fan of indie rock like Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition” before you got into dance music you will absolutely love this album, but it has plenty of daneceable tracks like “Revolution” as well. Steve made a smart move splitting the album in half over 2015 and 2016, because we already named it in our top 5 for 2015 and it might just make it for 2016 as well. You can check out the mini-mix below, the stream on Spotify, and pick up your copy here.