Before I get into why Swedish House Mafia’s return set was so important I need to address a couple things. The first being how cliche/cheesy/bandwagon-y this comes off as. The thing is, this set was a huge moment for me personally. The first festival I ever attended was Ultra 2013, for Swedish House Mafia’s last performance. I spent over half an hour working my way to the absolute front of the crowd but it was completely worth it. It was magical and it was how I fell in love with dance music and the community. And now five years later I got to attend the festival as a photographer and see their reunion.
The second thing needed to be addressed is the quality of the set. I get that not everyone was completely in love with this set. But at the end of the day, this was the perfect set, or close to it. At the risk of sounding pretentious, the dichotomy isn’t between people who liked the set and people who didn’t. There is really only people who understood what it meant versus those who didn’t. This wasn’t about an old project returning to make more money by releasing a bunch of new bangers. This was about best friends who fell apart getting back together again. It was about a feeling. And it was about giving the people what they wanted and they did it beautifully.
And this was just so important on so many levels. The first of which is that it was purely inspirational. There’s no denying that the massive supergroup was universally loved since and even before the success of their 2011 track ‘Save The World‘. They’ve inspired so many generations/waves of producers since then and their reunion is only going to do that again. And beyond that, if the boys could get back together again, regardless of whatever happened, then there’s a kind of feeling that anything is possible.
It was also an incredibly unifying moment for the dance music community. Nearly everyone, no matter their background, came together to appreciate that moment. Whether it was Hardwell putting his hands in the air, belting out the lyrics or Carnage getting emotional because he couldn’t be closer to them, everyone felt the magic. In fact, you could find most of the artists there that weekend in the crowd that for that set, whether they were in VIP or all the way in the back of the crowd, laying in the wood chips like Ghastly was. And it wasn’t just the artists that came together, but the crowd as well. There were significant drops in both arrests and hospitalizations this year. And while it’s hard to find causation from that, it does almost feel like that had a hand in it.
And finally, this also means that there’s likely to be a big shift in the dance music scene. For one thing, while I enjoy bass music and the current sound that is popular, I know myself and many other people would not be opposed to a resurgence of progressive house. And with Swedish House Mafia’s return it’s going to be likely that we see some artists that left dance music trying making their return on the trio’s coattails. Yeah, we’re looking at Alesso and Calvin Harris.
Regardless, you already know that 2018 is about to be an amazing year for dance music. And more than that, it’s pretty clear that this reunion isn’t going to be a one off thing. They have the time, the resources, and the knowledge of how to do it right this time so you already know its going to be good. Because,
“It’s Swedish House Mafia for life this time.”