By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The Dutch aren't known for much besides cheese, but Tiësto and his fellow countrymen Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten are making a case for the Netherlands as the home of the DJ-as-rock god. Tiësto's latest release, Just Be, is an ambitious ten-track exploration of trance blended with traditional pop.
Accordingly, the results are mixed. Songs such as the lead single, "Love Comes Again," prove that Tiësto can effortlessly fuse the high energy of club music with pop elements (à la Crystal Method) without losing too much credibility. But other tracks, such as the title cut, with its trite sentiments ("I was lost and I'm still lost/But I feel so much better") by former Opus III singer Kirsty Hawkshaw over a clichéd house-chord progression, fall far short of what the DJ is capable of. The most interesting fusion comes via "Sweet Misery," which starts out sounding like something off of Depeche Mode's Black Celebration and eventually morphs into a darkly beautiful love song with heavy synthesizers, piano and breathless vocals courtesy of Jo Lloyd that are reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan.
Hard-core fans of Tiësto's heavenly trance sets may be disappointed by the inclusion here of heavily produced vocal-pop numbers. But there are more than enough blissed-out, transcendent instrumental tracks on Just Be -- particularly the massive, rolling current club favorite, "Traffic" -- to satisfy dance-floor purists.