Track Listing (key track in bold)
3. Eye of the Storm
5. Beautiful Rage
6. Million Years
9. Lights and Thunder
11. Long Way Home
Now, I’ll start right off the bat by saying that I’m no dance music fan. I don’t dismiss it as a genre, and some of it I rather like, I just don’t know a lot about it, and don’t listen to it too much. Which is why my review for this album by Gareth Emery may surprise you.
In my ignorant mind, EDM (it was just called dance music in my youth) is mainly the demographic of teens in pimped up cars booming out beats as they drive by you with a scowl on their face. What I found out after listening to Gareth Emery’s new album is that it can also be a thing of beauty and understatement, it can tell a story and take you to a different place. Sometimes it can do that even with no lyrics.
I make no bones about the fact that Gareth and I go way back. We’ve known each other for a long time. Which made reviewing this album kind of scary. I’ve followed Gareth’s career on a personal level, but musically, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll guy through and through. What if I didn’t like the album? Would I be brave enough to award it a low rating? In the end it didn’t matter, because I can categorically state, hand on heart, that I really liked Drive.
Admittedly, if you had played it to me even five years ago I may not have had the same opinion. But as I’ve gotten older, my appreciation for different types of music has widened. I can see the value in synths and digitised beats. And I love a piano ballad. This album has a strong mix of both.
My personal highlights were the upbeat “Firebird”, “Soldier” featuring Gareth’s sister Roxanne (herself a talented songwriter) and the final track, the melancholy, party’s over vibe of “Long Way Home”. These tracks in particular really set the tone for me and made me understand a little more about the genre.
For those who already know and love Gareth Emery, you will be pleased to hear that a number of regular or well known collaborators (Christina Novelli, Krewella and Bo Bruce among them) are on the album, as well as unknown artists such as Gavin Beach, found on YouTube of all places. It’s a great mix of Saturday night party, Sunday morning come down music. Something for everyone.
Gareth Emery already has a global army of fans who will listen to any music he makes. I’m happy to say that after listening to Drive, he has one more.
You can also check out my Q&A with Gareth here.