It’s sure been a long seven weeks. Back in September at Electric Zoo, Armin van Buuren teased us with news of his new album that would be released on October 25. The time has come – Armin’s seventh studio album Balance is officially out!
In celebration, Armin also just announced a launch of something very unique. In New York City, Mexico City and Amsterdam, the DJ has worked with local artists to paint a Balance mural. Details for specific locations are below. And don’t forget – those of you in Amsterdam still have one week to explore his themed escape room!
3/3 -> The exact locations of the murals:— Armin van Buuren (@arminvanbuuren) October 25, 2019
📍 Mexico City, Mexico – Tehuantepec 273, Colonia Condesa
📍 New York City, United States – Brooklyn, East Williamsburg, 345 Troutman St.
📍 Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 353 pic.twitter.com/aNf5pcYTHp
Venturing Beyond Trance
Armin’s first double-sided album, Balance aims to explore the concept of, well, balance. As the trance legend himself shared on his latest A State of Trance #ASOT937 [Balance Album Special], the album marks his first time venturing beyond the world of trance. Armin wanted to strike a perfect balance by producing 14 tracks that aligned with his style from over the past 20 years and another 14 that explore different styles, such as hardstyle and pop EDM.
If you hadn’t noticed already, Armin has dropped a new single from the album every Friday since the album’s announcement. While this was a great move to keep fans excited about the drop, turns out it had a more strategic significance. It takes into account existing music-listening habits to increase each track’s reach, as opposed to having fans focus only on their favorites and letting the others die down if all the new tracks came at the same time. In a world where many consumers listen to music on streaming platforms, the album was created to resemble a playlist, intertwining songs old and new. This in itself is another manifestation of the concept of balance!
The Inspiration Behind Balance
Something worth mentioning is Armin’s inspiration behind creating Balance the way he had. On his radio show, he shares a heartfelt acknowledgment that he had veered out of the trance scene a little. He explains:
“I tried finding that balance between pleasing my older fans, because you know, I do this radio show every week. It’s my heart, it’s my soul, and I will always come back home to trance. But, as an artists, I feel the need to experiment, to, you know, step outside the safe zone. Because with all due respect for trance, I love it, but some of it is pretty formulaic. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you have to make a track that’s structured the same way every time, and if you’ve been doing this for twenty years, [where’s the fun?].”
“This is who I am. Armin van Buuren is a trance guy, who likes to experiment with different styles, so hence the title Balance.”Armin van Buuren, ASOT937 [BALANCE Album Special]
He concludes the segment with sharing this gem of a sentence – “Everyday you wake up a little more.” This quote from his mother had become the cornerstone of Balance, and serves as a reminder to all of us that everyday you see and learn more for everyone around you.
The First Half
The album begins with ‘Sucker for Love,’ a track that may shock many as it steers far from Armin’s usual style, focusing more on the gentle, easy sounds of pop. It’s then followed by ‘Something Real,‘ a track that is already considered one of the album favorites since its release.
Turns out Armin himself also has his favorites “if you put a gun to [his] head”! He shares that it’s a draw between ‘Runaway’ featuring Candace Sosa, who had supposedly done the track in one night! The other favorite of his is ‘Wild Wild Son,’ a track we’re no stranger to by now. The track is not the only collaboration with Sam Martin, as ‘Miles Away‘ also features the same talent. A 140bpm uplifting track, ‘Miles Away’ balances out the more mellow tracks on the album.
Armin closes out the first half of the album with ‘Don’t Let Me Go,’ an attempt at producing a hardstyle track although he claims “[he’s] terrible at it.” What do you guys think so far?
The Second Half
Now onto the second disc. Almost no trance album now goes without a track featuring trance songstress HALIENE. With her powerful, angelic vocals, HALIENE expresses in ‘Song I Sing‘ “the kind of love that permeates every cell in your body, and becomes the underlying rhythm of every thought in your head. It becomes bigger than you, and you can’t help but express it everywhere you go.”
‘All Comes Down‘ featuring Cimo Fränkel, like several others on this album, is a follow up track to others in the past. Just as ‘Million Voices‘ is a follow up to ‘Blah Blah Blah,‘ ‘All Comes Down’ follows “Strong Ones” from Armin’s Embrace album. In #ASOT937, Cimo Fränkel also shares that there’s going to be a video coming up for an acoustic version of the track, so keep an eye out for that!
Then, we have ‘Always,’ a collaboration with BT featuring Nation of One. It was created as a follow up from ‘These Silent Hearts,’ a track also made with BT from his Mirage album. ‘Always’ also happens to be one of #ASOT937 guest of the week Ruben de Ronde‘s favourite tracks from the album!
One more noteworthy track is ‘Unlove You,’ a track created with R&B start Ne-Yo. Armin had admitted the two had gone through a long process to find harmony between the two worlds, but the result is sure amazing. Just last week, Armin also dropped the club mix of this beautiful track on #ASOT936 and later that night played it at AMF. As someone who was there to experience it live, it emanated the all the perfect vibes. #ASOT937 also features a range of club mixes of the album’s tracks, so tune in below!
During AMF, Armin shared that he has a huge announcement to make on November 22. With the album out and Balance tour dates already announced, we’re super curious what this announcement could be! While we wait (again!), listen to Balance below.
Armin van Buuren – Balance