David Guetta returns to tech house via his new Jack Back moniker, teaming up with Mark Knight‘s Toolroom for a formulaic groover, “Grenade.” A classic house beat ride over a shy, filtered melody that echoes around the ears like wobbling metal. Vocals from Adam Freeland‘s “We Want Your Soul” come into play, setting up the arrangement for that swaying melody to come back with a vengeance, alongside an army of pounding kicks and percussion.
After disappearing for years, Guetta’s housier sounds made an appearance earlier in 2018 with the 12-track Jack Back Mixtape. A week later, he added onto his illustrious discography with the release of his highly-anticipated, double-sided 7 album, adding to the the French producer’s illustrious 2018. While 7 was a statement of pop-dominance overall, Guetta continues to remind listeners how he got there through house and techno releases.
Despite gifting fans earlier this year with a wide selection of music on 7, David Guetta has decided to adorn his fans with a follow up to one of the more prominent tracks from the project. This time, it’s a wild new video for his Bebe Rexha and J Balvin collaboration “Say My Name.” The newest landing is the fourth music video release for the French DJ’s seventh studio album, following “Don’t Leave Me Alone” with Anne-Marie, “Flames” with Sia, and “2U” with Justin Bieber.
Directed by Hannah Lux Davis, the video has all the makings of an underground jungle rave, with its outpour vibrant colors, exotic uniforms, and some palm tree-bound Iguanas and Toucans. The party appears to take place in several locations, including an empty, abandoned pool, and what can be perceived as a giant furnace burning behind Guetta and Balvin’s Throne Room.
Guetta’s two-sided 7 saw his darker, club-oriented sound from his more nascent production stages reborn alongside his modernized dance pop signature. 7 is his first album since Listen in 2014, with the former including features from Jason Derulo, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, and more.
At the 2018 MTV EMAs, Jason Derulo sang an operatic opening of Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye” that transitioned into his hit single with David Guetta, “Goodbye” featuring Nicki Minaj. The display remained eye-catching from the start, with its subtle opening exploding into Guetta’s electronic pop rhythm amid a flurry of masked dancers and Derulo himseld clad in classic attire, dancing down a staircase built for a mansion. JD then makes his way down to center stage, where the masked dancers surround him in a routine that mimics synchronized swimming amidst Minaj’s catchy chorus. It seems the producers had a classic vision in mind, and summoned some nostalgia for the show. Not to mention, the performance proved David Guetta’s versatility in today’s music world — whether playing more minimal as his new Jack Back alias or blowing away the pop sphere, the French artist is a true chameleon of a musician and performer.
A simple press run for David Guetta has turned into an all-out internet burn session against the French producer by October 22, 2018 — and even more so against ABC’s Nightline program.
According to Nightline and the original web copy by the ABC web team, Guetta purpotedly is the “grandfather of electronic dance music” who *apparently* “helped bring house to the US.” There was only one caveat in this tale: the crossover star didn’t bring house music to the United States at all. In fact, some might be shocked to hear that this popular genre of dance music and the vaguely-related pop version that Guetta purveys were actually born right here in the country, in the warehouses of Chicago. Dance music and all its contemporary offshoots wouldn’t even exist, had it not been for minorities and the LGBTQ community gathering together under the banner of house to escape persecution from the outside world. It’s disappointing — albeit, unsurprising — to see a large news organization like ABC choose the watered-down, whitewashed version of history around the sound when really it should be expressing pride in a home-grown movement. Nor did it help that Guetta’s response completely missed the mark as to why he’s the indirect subject of such widespread outrage.
A more accurate angle of the Nightline report would have been, “How Frankie Knuckles, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, and others brought house music to France/Europe.” Since this more accurate angle wasn’t taken, we here at Dancing Astronaut have decided to put our teaching helmets on and educate the masses on a few critical house essentials that actually helped shape the global rave revolution — no David Guetta required.
“My House” is one of the most, if not the most, sampled American house tunes of all time. It involves Chuck Robert’s famed “In My House” speech, and the original version proves to be far ahead of its time. “My House” by Rhythm Controll was originally released in 1987, and continues to capture the intrigue of dance fans worldwide thirty-one years later. The famed speech was also re-used and cemented into house fans’ cycle when re-patched with “Can You Feel It,” another huge anthem of the era.
If there’s one good thing that came out of the Guetta fiasco, it’s that he has good taste in classic house. The producer’s Instagram rebuttal pointed to the above record by Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk as the one that started it all for him as a young teenager in France. It’s one of the biggest anthems of its time, and for good reason — it’s a quintessential house tune at its core, down to its piano stabs and disco elements set to a 4/4 beat.
Acid house in particular is what caught Brits’ attention in Ibiza and kicked off the European rave movement that later birthed David Guetta. Phuture’s classic “Acid Tracks” was one of the biggest anthems of this era, and a pioneering track within the then-nascent subgenre of house. Its scintillating synthesis still raises hairs, and the original is still rinsed quite often throughout the international circuit.
Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” pretty much defined the house formula of the day. Many pieces aimed to emulate the catchiness of this song, but simply cannot come close to the original. It’s no wonder this record climbed the charts even before most people knew what house music was. Not to mention, the vocal sample manages to retain a sense of refined class in it despite its repetition that other house vocal clips lack today. Try not to feel transported into a euphoric, sweat-filled warehouse while listening — we dare you.
One of dance music’s very first wunderkinds was Adonis, who had a mass hit on his hands at the ripe age of 19 with “No Way Back.” Considering Trax was THE house label at that time (keen readers of this feature can note the majority of our picks came from here), it’s quite the accomplishment to have created a production that’s considered one of the imprints greatest releases of all times. Its encouraging clap samples, hypnotically-classic bassline, and stripped-down atmosphere makes it hit in all the right places.
It would be absolute blasphemy to not feature Frankie Knuckles somewhere on this list. The legendary, and sadly departed, producer and DJ is considered the actual “godfather” of house music and is credited by everyone except ABC for helping to make house a musical institution. His celebrity is so great that even ex-President Obama has been seen celebrating his achievements and contributions to the industry in the past. “The Whistle Song” is from 1991 — a good half-decade or so since he really broke the glass house ceiling. However, its breezy, happiness-inducing nature made it a fitting cap off to an already nostalgic list.
Even Martin Garrix gets sick apparently, which is what the producer tells his fans and tries to convince himself he will get over as he walks up to his Tomorrowland main stage set. The newest episode of The Martin Garrix Show shows the producer with a sore throat as he is fading quickly before his set approaches. Mentor David Guetta tops his sick day off by playing Garrix’s unreleased track “Yottabyte” before the producer goes on, which is what Garrix was planning on opening with.
Garrix fans know that he premiered the track “High on Life” featuring Bonn at the festival, and viewers get a behind the scenes view of how he flew the artist in last minute to showcase the track on the main stage. Dua Lipa also talks to viewers about her first Tomorrowland performance, rounding out the episode with high profile performances and, as always, a look into Garrix’s hectic world.
Is it 2011? Because two of house music’s top guns have crossed paths on a new progressive house remix. Seemingly minutes after dropping his latest album, a tech house mixtape, and a new original with Netsky, David Guetta has stepped in to remix Calvin Harris‘s “Promises,” with the only telltale sign that it is indeed 2018 being that certified star and modern-day pop crooner Sam Smith is in on the momentous endeavor.
Leaning in to his recent creative exploration across genre and sound, Guetta has brought “Promises” from its 80s-leaning neo-pop to an energetic house style. With production that manages to maintain subtle melancholy with a simultaneous uplifting progression, this remix is precise, and a welcome reminder of the progressive house apex in the mid 2010s. Guetta’s rendition works in creating simple synth melodies in a manner that almost sounds (dare we say) Swedish, given the trio’s chord progressions tend to ring with resplendence with minimal production froth to weigh them down.
Netsky is as unpredictable as he is versatile. The drum & bass maestro’s successes have spanned nearly a full decade at this point, and he’s made a name for himself with countless original tracks and remixes that showcase his dynamic production range.
Earlier this summer, the Belgian producer revealed he’s hard at work on a new effort: Palmtrees & Powerlines. The project will embody two sides to Netsky’s style: Palmtrees for his pop-leaning tracks and Powerlines for his club-ready anthems. August saw the former exhibited in “Téquila Limonada” with A.CHAL, followed by its accompanying music video in September.
Now, Netsky flips the Powerlines switch to bring the world “Ice Cold” — a booming, anthemic collaboration with dance music veteran David Guetta. Attendees of Tomorrowland 2018 were the first to be treated to this unexpected collaboration earlier this summer, leaving them wondering if the piece would see the light of day. Luckily, sampling Foreigner’s iconic 1977 hit, “Cold As Ice,” the duo have concocted a striking dancefloor piece that’s out Oct. 12 via Republic Records and Casablanca Records. They draw their listener in with an unassuming build, mounting anticipation for what the chorus could hold. Nothing could prepare the ears for what’s to come, though: a daring, bass-filled drop that pulses powerfully with each hit.
“‘Ice Cold’ was such a fun song to make,” Netsky says of the song. “I remember both Stargate and David Guetta making me crank up this demo in a LA studio and all of us vibing to it together. Working with David was amazing, it was inspiring seeing his work routine and energy in studio.” Guetta echos Netsky’s sentiments, calling him a “great producer” and noting how pleased he is with the track’s end result.
When these two get together, it’s anything but frigid.
There often comes a time in great artists’ careers when they have acquired a certain level of devoutness from fans that allows them to truly feel free from the confines of an appealing facade or obligation to appease. Three decades into his into his artistic journey, David Guetta surpassed that milestone many musical epochs ago. Yet, with his Big Beat-housed, double-sided 7album, Guetta endeavors to show the world there is uncharted sonic terrain worthy of the trek.
The two-disc album is certainly indicative of the different hats Guetta has worn over the years, most broadly as a ubiquitous dance-pop deity and more recently, the reveal of less radio-ready stylings from his alter-ego, Jack Back. Disc-one is Guetta as the world knows him — in all his prophesied pop eminence. Riddled with weighty collaboration, the first side of the venerated French powerhouse’s new studio work features a slew of larger-than-life joint efforts, including his previously released, immaculately sung “Flames” with Sia, a reunion preceded by their sublimely successful 2011 smash, “Titanium.” Guetta seems to cover all his streamability bases in this first portion, enlisting equally exalted dance pop sharks like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Martin Garrix on “Like I Do” and the Steve Aoki-assisted “Motto.” Guetta casts a wide net of appeal, following commercial counterparts like Major Lazer in sprinkling in some ever-so-timely Afro-pop, bolstered by the South African Black Coffee, on “Drive.”
Guetta’s recently unraveled side-project, Jack Back, drives home disc-two, which is comprised of groove-heavy, largely atmospheric tech-house. With winding, instrumental tracks like “Overtone” and “Afterglow,” it stands as an ambivalence-inducing paradox. On one hand, it represents the mainstream dance circuit’s acceptance of a more avant-garde product, of the scene’s most prominent figures’ willingness to deliver a raw, less-calculated extension of themselves. On the other — succeeding fellow icons like Calvin Harris, who recently announced he’d be receding back to his club-adept roots — this return to form can easily be construed as an overdue attempt to delineate oneself from the improbably saturated, monotonous sea of over-compressed bass drops. Tech-house, following progressive, future bass, and future house, takes its place among one of the most recent sub-genre crazes. The resurgence has been actualized by the likes of longtime devotees like Claude VonStroke, Carl Cox, and Green Velvet, who have been championing the jazzy, instrumental sound for decades. David Guetta plants his flag on side two. He’s earned the status to return to a less commercially viable aesthetic. What’s more, fans deserve something potentially more stimulating from such high-held superstars. Our palates are savvier than they were in 2010, and radio-ready blockbusters can only take an artist so far, and Guetta uses the back half of the gatefold to address that shift.
Yes, two years in the making, 7 is Guetta’s seventh studio album. But the French DJ/producer wears the number as a badge of continuity.
“7 is a magical number and represents a full cycle to me. When you’re just starting out as an artist you go step by step and it’s only positive energy; passion, love, challenges,” says Guetta. “…This is why ‘7’ is a perfect name to me, because I feel like I’m going back to my original energy which can be heard in this album.”
Existential turmoil aside, whether Guetta has been biding his time to showcase this doubtlessly more nuanced side of his artistic repertoire or he simply seized a timely opportunity to reinvent himself, 7 performs as a spacious snapshot of contemporary dance music.
David Guetta is a busy man. With his upcoming artist album, 7 on the way, the international star has revealed he’s behind the alias Jack Back right as he released another long form project as the Jack Back Mixtape. Here, he’s connected house and techno to further boost his credibility in the production booth.
In 2012, an artist named Jack Back emerged as the artist behind the now multi-platinum single “Wild One Two.” The track featured David Guetta, Sia and Nicky Romero, and after its release, Jack Back went radio silent. That is, until recently, when a new track entitled “Overtone” emerged from the artist. Shockingly different from the artist’s former work, the single had a late night sensibility, with techno influences and brooding progressions. Obviously the work of a seasoned producer, speculation began circulating that the single was the return of the David Guetta alter ego, and it continued as Jack Back released “(It Happens) Sometimes” via Defected Records, “Reach For Me,” and finally “Grenade.”
But it isn’t until now that David Guetta has confirmed he is indeed behind the music, releasing a 12-track mixtape featuring all new music from his revived alias. The Jack Back Mixtape marks a pivotal moment for Guetta as he gears up to release his next electro dance-pop artist album, 7. As Jack Back, he’s signaled a reminder of his talent as a producer through the history of his work in house music. While 7 may be an upcoming reminder of his pop prominence, this mixtape is a reminder of how he got there. Conquering a range of techno, tech house and house sounds, Guetta as Jack Back connects the dots between the house music of his early years to today’s deeper underground sounds.
David Guetta‘s aptly titled seventh studio album, 7, will see cameos from a diverse array of featured artists, including G-Eazy, Anne-Marie, Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, and Steve Aoki, among others. Although 7‘s list of collaborators is both long and varied, the assisting rappers, vocalists, and fellow DJs only account for a portion of the team that collectively contributed to 7‘s inception.
A glimpse at the writing, production, mastering, and engineering credits of 7 indicates that major industry innovators like Ina Wroldsen, Cesqeaux, Poo Bear, and Afrojack each had a hand in the album’s conception. Last, but certainly not least, is Avicii, who receives posthumous credit on Guetta’s seventh offering. Avicii appears as a writer and producer on the Jess Glynne feature, “She Knows How To Love Me,” and on the Stefflon Don and Ava Max aided “Let It Be Me.”