It has been just a shade under three years since his last LP, but Armin Van Buuren is getting ready for his third artist album, Intense. This week Pete Tong premiered the single "This Is What It Feels Like" on his Essential Selection. For those of you looking for any version of trance music or "old Armin," I'll advise you to look somewhere else. The Dutch producer was once known and respected as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, trance producers of all-time. An inspiring artist for Dutch nationals, Armin made his name with his own brand of epic, uplifting trance. Now with this single, which apparently was written three years ago, Armin has firmly stepped away from his trance roots and moved into big room pop EDM.
Armin has already made his mission to branch out clear with electro-infused tunes like "We Are Here To Make Some Noise," and now he's taking a page out of the Swedish handbook for dance music with this single. Singular piano leads lay a canvass for Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie to provide the most cookie-cutter vocals of in recent memory. The track has not moved onto full-on pop as it has no vocal chorus, but the structure does not fit a traditional trance or house song either. It does have the inaudible chants that will make it easy for crowds to pick up easily.
And perhaps that's the point? Armin has always been known more as a DJ than a producer. Armin has made his name through his marathon sets, his revered A State of Trance radio show and his A&Ring through his Armada labels. With this type of vocal track, Armin is setting himself up for a crossover success in the US where the crowd desires are by and large different from the perhaps spoiled European crowd. Our scene is very young in taste and maturity and so the masses want something they can cling to as a way to get into the music. Armin understands that his 138 BPM trance isn't the most accessible, and right now there are millions of young adults and teenagers looking for their way into EDM. Armin's name is still cool and for many he could become their first.
Armin has seen his contemporaries achieve true crossover superstar status and now he wishes the same. After dominating the DJ Mag Top 100 poll for four out of five years, Armin knows that he'll fall behind in the global music landscape if he didn't alter his sound. Armin described the upcoming album as having a "combination of more house-y, electro stuff and of course trance; some rock influence and even a little but of dubstep and classical music in there," but that shouldn't be a surprise to any one paying attention.
The track will be a hit this upcoming festivals season and you'll be more likely to hear it on the mainstage then you will at any trance focused stage/event. Perhaps Armin should update his Facebook page. It still says "trance," but we know that's not accurate anymore.
Check out the behind the scenes video below: