Review: Armin Van Buuren - Shivers / Simple Things

(Originally posted: November 6, 2018)

Track 1:

Track 2:

I don't know where I got this stuff. Limewire? I'd probably found it on Ishkur's guide. I had a pile of MP3s on my iPod. Let's do a two for one. I showed my grandmother this stuff. Don't recall her reaction. "That's nice, dear"

Gotta listen loudly. The kick does half the work. The rest is a wall of sound. Dense, but only because of reverb, delay, that sort of thing. Who puts delay on a bassline?! Mirrors make a room look big. But the colors are faint. Simple Things. We haven't progressed far beyond that white room. The only new feature is UP-lifting.

There's that crispy supersaw. Trance has to hit those high frequencies. You have to want to jump up and touch it with your fingertips, especially when the bottom drops out, as it tends to for minutes at a time. This one substitutes a pad and a breathy singer. Same deal. If you're paying attention, it's pure endorphin rush, tingling peaks and valleys that track the synth line. Tension and release. Musical erotica.

The piano means sentimentality. They ripped that one from Children. You're young, there's nothing there, "cruel desires blind me to the simple things / lost in fires of passion I imagine wings." Banal, there's little for a teenager to write about. Sex and sublimated sexuality. Uncertainty. Reaching for oneness. That sentimental feeling is for the womb, for the undifferentiated oneness of infancy. The music swallows you up.

"I'm torn between... what I know and what I dream." The breakbeat and acid line breakdown hint at something more. Fleeting vision, but maybe if you dream a little harder... you'll get there. And somehow it feels better to wake up.

This stuff was pop music in Europe, or so I hear. Little adolescent expressions. Nothing more, nothing less. Listening as an adult gives me reflux. Something about those kickdrums. You turn off the stereo and wonder why it took 7 minutes.

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