In many ways, Alesso‘s debut album Forever was a long time coming down the pipeline. Bursting on the scene with the 2012 mega hit “Calling” (feat. Sebastian Ingrosso), one could say that there was a potential for something of that magnitude if an album were to come to fruition. No longer looked at as Ingrosso’s protege, the DJ/producer has crafted sounds in order to come into his own. Here we are; after many festival and headlining sets with an album that is one part familiar and another with newer material. In some ways, it sounds like a compilation album of previous singles that has been released and road tested over the years that have gotten a proper release.
Let’s start with the familiar. Songs like “Heroes” (feat. Tove Lo) and Cool (feat. Roy English) were the most recent of releases that shows Alesso’s collaborative song-making ability given electronic music’s assault on top 40 play in recent years. There are songs like “Under Control” (feat. Calvin Harris and Hurts) and “If I Lose Myself” that has been played to the maximum capacity. These are still very well crafted songs at the crux, but with seeing the potential with an album, perhaps it would have been better to swap them out for newer tracks. Played within the narrative of the album, they still sound somewhat fresh as both have been festival staples for quite some time.
Alesso has spoken previously about his admiration for composer Hans Zimmer and the brilliantly-crafted, five-minute plus “Destinations” hints at the journey that the producer spoke of when speaking about the album. Slowly building up with string sections, bass lines, and piano keys, Alesso shines when he is able to create the road of the track without the help of a vocal line. This is going to be one of those beautiful sunset, road trip tracks. The closing track, “Immortale” stands out more as an ode to Zimmer, which sounds like an ending score for a movie. If you play “If I Lose Myself” and this track in the sequence that it follows, it actually sounds like the album is winding down. I’m not sure if that was the intention, but if it was, it was well thought out.
There are tracks that harken back to the electro-house stylings such as “Tear The Roof Off” and “PAYDAY”, that embody the big room festival feel. “Scars” (feat. Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic) and “In My Blood” again furthers the complete match of Alesso’s arrangements and singing collaborators. I can also foresee “Sweet Escape” being the next festival close-out track in the many months to come. Forever makes a statement that Alesso is versatile in that he can be formulaic to invade the airwaves, but also craft songs that don’t fit in that category. My only wish is that I didn’t feverishly play the previously released songs a year beforehand. Perhaps blame that on how DJs unveil material. In that respect, Forever may have fallen short of its potential. It’s still hard to ignore the talent here and with a subsequent album, it’s only a matter of time before it’s finally realized in a fresh way.