Tiesto - Just Be
Were proof required that dance music can transcend the merely functional, the doubter need only check out, say, Leftism, selected Chemical Brothers’ albums, or even Freeland’s Now & Them from last year. That’s to say, it’s possible to make dance music which works as well at home as it does in a club, which is more than just a basic stimulus to manipulate a crowd of chemically-charged ravers. Unfortunately, Tiesto on Just Be, his second album proper, fails to succeed in this task.
Opener Forever Today begins with a three minute orchestral introduction, before the obligatory beats kick in, and the listener is treated to the sort of cheap sounding trance that will surely be familiar to anyone who has switched on a radio in the past few years. Traffic and Nyana are in the same vein, while Love Comes Again adds only BT’s liquid vocals to the formula. Unfortunately, the title track is plagued by the sort of cringe-inducing lyrics seemingly unique to dance music imported from the continent (“You can travel the world, but you can’t run away from the person you are in your heart”). The climax, a trance take on the classical piece Adagio For Strings, might have made more of an impression if William Orbit hadn’t had the same idea, and taken it high into the charts, back in 1999.
Tiesto's attempt at a couple of downbeat songs doesn't fare much better. In truth, Sweet Misery (at a stretch of the imagination, this album’s equivalent to Original from Leftism) isn’t bad, but suffers, as does much of the material here, from being overlong. UR, featuring the voice of Aqualung’s Matt Hales, however, is truly dull.
The album’s most successful moments are Walking On Clouds and A Tear In The Open. Josh Gabriel (of Motorcycle) helps out on the former; Kirsty Hawkshaw’s piercing vocals are used to good effect. The latter features a Gaelic sample, around which Tiesto whips up a full-blown sonic storm (just incase anyone might mistake it for Clannad).
According to his publicity, Tiesto is the No.1 DJ in the world, and, in a darkened club, suitably trashed, most of these tracks would succeed in their job. So unless you're an avid Dance Anthems listener (or indeed Dave Pearce himself), the main problem with this album is it rarely aims higher than that. Book-ended by classical influences, Just Be has occasional pretensions yet no real ambition, and, over a course of 80 minutes, it only twice comes close to inspiring.