During his 2017 Coachella set, Steve Angello debuted a ton of new music and an awe-inspiring stage performance. It was a turning point for the artist who was best known for his work with Swedish House Mafia. While the trio of producers did reunite for Ultra 20, Steve has not slowed down in his solo endeavors. After the release of two episodic EP's over the last year, Steve has now released what many believe to be his magnum opus, his massive 21 track album – ‘Human'. While we have a few tracks on the album before, does it truly live up to the hype that Steve has marketed the release with?
Human – The Message
‘Human' is much more than just a large album of music. It explores several different themes including vices, human nature, and religion. Many tracks on the album are abstract in nature. While many fans might initially the progressive house with a dark twist Angello has been curating over the last 2 years instead, they will be greeted by the inner workings of Steve's mind.
The track order of the LP was not haphazardly thrown together. ‘Human' was designed to be listened to in the order which it appears. It tells the story of what it is like to be human. The shortcomings, the stresses, but ultimately the triumph. Starting with ‘Rejoice' and ending with ‘Nothing Scares Me Anymore', the listener embarks on a sonic journey from the first to last note. The symbolism in tracks is clear and has been meticulously crafted. In many ways ‘Human' explains what Steve Angello has experienced during his time in the music industry and not all of it has been good. In the end, his experiences have translated to a transcendence above the status quo of EDM.
Human – The Music
‘Human', as stated before, is much more of a concept album than many anticipated. Some songs like '21:' (a clear reference to the length of the album) are abstract. The track consists of an almost 3-minute drumline solo, and nothing else. Throughout the album, many different styles are explored. Overall Steve Angello took a minimalist approach to the gross majority of the tracks on the album, and this has proved to be a wise choice, as much of meaning of many of the songs are found in what was not included.
Steve tapped a handful of high profile collaborators for some tracks. These include Barns Courtney on ‘Dopamine' and Pusha T on ‘Freedom'. ‘Dopamine' is a true standout on the album. The ominous vibe curated by Barns and Steve has a depth that is rarely found in modern-era dance music. Many times songs slowly build over the course of several minutes, with only the final moments of the song containing any complexity in elements. This is a piece of what makes ‘Human' so unique. It was not made to be a top-selling album full of mainstream-friendly tracks. Instead the incorporation of orchestral elements and sound musical theory help ‘Human' be much more than anyone could have anticipated.
Human – Overall
All in all, ‘Human' is a masterful work of art. Everything from the layout of the album, to the small attention-detailed approach in production help highlight ‘Human' as something much more than just an album. Steve Angello has clearly worked for years on this release, and it shows. It is a new side to one of dance music's most celebrated artist, a side that we could definitely get used to.
Overall Steve has breathed new life into a genre which seems to get more repetitive every day. While Angello has had his fair share of struggles over the years, it's clear that he has picked up some profound knowledge during his human experience. Check out the full album below.