Older tracks from EDM power group Swedish House Mafia (SHM) sound like a relic. Singles such as “Don’t You Worry Child” and “Save the World” are reminiscent of 2010’s music and pop culture. Memorable, catchy lyrics mixed with a pop-sounding beat sound so far removed yet standard for current EDM and house music. The SHM trio Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso are known for cultivating and progressing modern-day house music into what it is today.
From its conception in 2008 and now to its return in 2022, SHM is back to reclaim the EDM throne with its debut studio album, Paradise Again. The group drew a massive and ecstatic crowd during its headlining show at Coachella, proving the devoted and timeless fan base who recognizes the band as a mainstay in house music.
The 17-track LP boasts impressive features from the band Police’s Sting, The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky just to name a few. Paradise Again reflects a blend of past and present EDM. Where some tracks have deeper drops and more of an emphasis on house style, others reuse the perfect sing-along lyrics and positive beat formula. Tracks such as “Frankenstein” and “It Gets Better” illustrate the group’s modern growth to deep house, where “Heaven Takes You Home” reminds the listener of what SHM is known for.
Paradise Again is a perfect blend of timeless EDM tracks mixed with trendier sounds and deeper house. Here, SHM confirms its capacity and teases out unparalleled and contemporary sounds.
“Heaven Takes You Home” marks the second track of the album and features vocals from Connie Constance. The track begins with Constance’s glittery vocals behind a leveled synth that drops into a quicker pace. Constance dreamily sings in the chorus, “When heaven takes you home/ And you’re at the gates alone.” It embodies the classic EDM beat: catchy lyrics mixed with a similarly contagious beat. The nearly four minute track exemplifies what SHM does best. The group bounces back into the present, fine-tuning past recipes to create stellar dance songs through softer vocals and easier drops.
Paradise Again is as modern EDM as it gets. As the LP continues, it fades from one track to the next with smooth transitions to make a cohesive album. Even though each track stands on its own, with none sounding very similar to the next, the trio creates an unmistakable aura that is quintessential to SHM.
Tracks such as “Don’t Go Mad” featuring Seinabo Sey possess this quality, opening with a looping blend of synth and upward progression into a faster pace behind trance-like vocals. Yet, the track has a life of its own while retaining this classic EDM essence. Within the consistent beat are breaks in the synths, fades and other beeps and bops that make a typified SHM song.
“Frankenstein” featuring A$AP Rocky is by far the most unique on the LP. Beginning with a spooky organ sound into Rocky’s deep and almost animatronic vocals, SHM showcases a darker side. The beat slowly follows Rocky’s verse until it breaks into a faster flow — where the rapper takes center stage. Rap and EDM fans may exist on different sides of the music spectrum, but both can come to the conclusion that “Frankenstein” is wonderfully unhinged.
“Can U Feel It” and “19:30” are both more instrumental tracks where SHM can stand alone. Axwell, Ingrosso and Angelo showcase their talents as champions of house on these tracks making for infectious dance music. The tracks have heavier bass featuring breaks, spins and reverbs that embody the classic DJ sound.
Swedish House Mafia comes back swinging on Paradise Again. Boasting powerful features and unconventional sounds — the album is a perfect starting place to bring the trio back to their number one spot in the EDM realm.
Kaitlin Clapinski covers fashion. Contact her at [email protected].