Here is the latest album from Armin van Buuren, released on his Armada label. The cover is pretty bad so I chose this other picture to share with you. This is Armin’s 4th artist album, so expectations were high prior to this release. However, based upon my listens of Full Focus, Minack, and Not Giving Up On Love,  I didn’t think the album would be that great. The tracks just seemed a little underproduced and I wasn’t sure where Armin was trying to go with these songs. After listening through the rest of the tracks, I can sadly confirm that Armin has made another album very similar to Imagine. Most of the songs are vocal tracks, and the album is structured very closely to Imagine. I was hoping for more stuff along the lines of his Gaia productions, but only the songs Orbion and Mirage come remotely close. The track Coming Home has a prominent guitar riff, so I’m assuming his brother Eller had something to do with that. Armin does however bring along some different vocalists this time, such as Sophie Ellis Bextor, Nadia Ali, and Adam Young from Owl City, but again this album doesn’t show much evolution in sound from one of the best DJ’s in the game. You can pick up some subtle new elements in his music, but there is nothing groundbreaking as Armin had previously described his new album to be. It just seems to be catered towards the vocal trance audience, which I guess is good because Armin will make a shit load of money from this crowd. In other words, if you liked Imagine, you will probably like Mirage, aka Imagine part 2. Maybe I am being too hard on Armin, because most artists albums these days aren’t that good to begin with. I was very hopeful that Armin would revalidate his status as a great trance producer with some more of his Gaia-style productions, but I was disappointed when I discovered that was not the case. Overall, the album is listenable, but it left my ears pretty unsatisfied. Maybe it will be different after a couple of more listens, or with some new remixes, but it’s hard to dig up musical quality with so many vocals in the way. To me it is very clear that Armin is aiming for commercial success, and I congratulate him for making the big bucks; I am just sad he couldn’t do it the way he used to back in the day.

Armin van Buuren – Mirage
01 Desiderium 207 (feat. Susana)
02 Mirage
03 This Light Between Us (feat. Christian Burns)
04 Not Giving Up On Love (vs Sophie Ellis Bextor)
05 I Don’t Own You
06 Full Focus
07 Take A Moment (feat. Winter Kills)
08 Feels So Good (feat. Nadia Ali)
09 Virtual Friend (feat. Sophie)
10 Drowning (feat. Laura V)
11 Down To Love (feat. Ana Criado)
12 Coming Home
13 These Silent Hearts (feat. BT)
14 Orbion
15 Minack (vs Ferry Corsten)
16 Youtopia (feat. Adam Young)