Swedish House Mafia today drop their highly anticipated album Paradise Again following their recent return to the scene.
If listeners go into the project with the mindset of it being 17 ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ styled songs, then they are sure to be disappointed. Swedish House Mafia have evolved, so has music and the world over the last decade. Following the handful of singles that pre-dated the album, fans had come to learn and adapt to Swedish House Mafia’s new sound and that is further explored throughout the hour long LP.
Steve Angello and Axwell told LA Times that they modeled Paradise Again on the kind of immersive albums they grew up with — LPs by Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and Gang Starr. (Daft Punk’s 2001 “Discovery” was a specific dance-music touchstone.)
The album highlights a range of genres, from hip-hop to disco house. With many albums, there is room to experiment, to include a record that may not have worked as a single. Swedish House Mafia do flex that ability with a number of more avant-garde productions. One thing is consistent however, the production quality is immaculate, something the Swedes have always pioneered.
While there are many vocal and commercial leaning records throughout the album, the producers did include a number of hard hitting dance records that are sure to see inclusions throughout the festival circuit and are sure to be incorporated in the upcoming Swedish House Mafia tour.
The aim of the album was not to make 17 hits, but to create an impact within music and culture. Steve Angello explained the Swedes’ thinking to the LA Times; “We don’t have a hit record on the radio right now, but we’re headlining Coachella,” he said. “There’s so many artists that are doing more in the world than just having a Top 40 record. Look at Kanye and the ‘Donda’ album. Look at Tyler, the Creator. Look at Kendrick Lamar. A chart hit compared to cultural impact — they’re completely different things.”
Many may be disappointed to see the lack of the Mike Posner team up ‘Underneath It All’, a record that was a fresh, emotive and melodic piece that was first played during the Swedish trio of shows that occurred in 2019. The track did seem like a ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ 2.0, to the pleasure of many, but unfortunately it was excluded from the album due to legal issues. Another unfortunate omission is their ‘Comeback’ ID, in which they played during their initial return at Ultra 2018 – Ingrosso did let fans know this was just planned for their sets, not an official release.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the album will be translated to a live show and whether or not the more commercial sounding records are even played. The trio are set to play Sunday night together with recent collaborator The Weeknd at Coachella. Whilst this show will not be the same show they will take on the road – it will be interesting to see how and what they perform.
Overall, the first proper body of work from Swedish House Mafia is terrific. There are sure to be polarizing views but it is clear that this is what Swedish House Mafia wanted. They did not make this for the fans or critics, they made this for themselves. There is no denying that the album is filled with GOOD music, it’s a fact.