Dada Life has truly conquered all this year. The uber-talented Swedish duo, made up of Olle Corneer and Stefan Engblom, has been a force to be reckoned with in the electro house scene with their frenetic live shows, and their authentic (and massive) productions. Dada Life has built on their already-strong discography with releases like “Rolling Stones T-Shirt” (So Much Dada, 2012) and “Feed the Dada” (So Much Dada, 2012). Rather continuing to release single after single, Dada Life has now gone the direction of deadmau5 and Zedd, and released an album compilation that is sure to turn a few heads in the EDM community.
“The Rules of Dada” is Dada Life’s first album, comprised of both previously-released hits along with new, never-before-heard tracks guaranteed to shake up the dance floor. While the album does include the requisite hits that put Dada Life on the map these past couple years (such as Kick Out the Epic Motherfu**ker and Happy Violence), it is the unreleased tracks–some instrumental, some with vocals–that showcase a side of Dada Life’s sound not heard in a while. A more melodic, groove-based element of Dada Life, heard in past hits like Unleash the Fu**ing Dada and White Noise/Red Meat, makes an exhilirating return in certain album entries like “Arrive Beautiful Leave Ugly” and “Don’t Stop.” Rather than analyze each track individually (some of which were already covered on the site), I thought it better to pick out the choice tracks that showcase Dada Life’s production mastery. In other words, the tracks that would absolutely rock the floor. Like the RULESOFDADA say, “Art should be loud.” And there’s most definitely some good art within this album.
01. Kick Out The Epic Motherfu**er
02. Feed The Dada
03. Arrive Beautiful Leave Ugly
04. So Young So High
05. You Will Do What We Will Do
06. Happy Violence
07. Rolling Stones T-Shirt
08. Bass Don’t Cry
09. Everything Is Free
10. Boing Clash Boom
11. Don’t Stop
Arrive Beautiful Leave Ugly
“Arrive Beautiful Leave Ugly,” the first unreleased album in the track order, is an explosive track, with a deep sawtooth bassline forming the backbone of the track. The feel, however, is not in the typical “Dada Life maximal” style that many may be used to. The intro opens with a hard-edged lead and intermittent bass hits, before quickly descending into the verse. Here, the mammoth bassline drives the groove, while the hard lead is ever-present and functions seamlessly alongside the bass. Hi-hats and clap hits add to the arrangement, while a few breaks in the sequence use chord stabs to accentuate the melody. We quickly come to the main breakdown, where the lead is slowly filtered in as bass hits and chord stabs add energy into the mix. Another large build-up leads us back into the main groove, where the bassline drives ever onward until the end. “Arrive Beautiful Leave Ugly” is most certainly an electro house track, yet compared to more recent Dada Life tracks, the feel of this song is more understated. You don’t always have to be throw everything into a track–sometimes a subtler groove works just as well as a maximal one.
You Will Do What We Will Do
“You Will Do What We Will Do” is one of the hardest-hitting tracks on the album. It opens with a massive intro: a gigantic bassline and a rising lead take us into the first breakdown. Here, a beautifully-sequenced high-end lead, supported by backing chords, descend into a furious drop that is pure frenzy. The booming sawtooth bass drives the groove while the high-end lead plays over top. This arrangement then takes us into the final breakdown, where Dada Life unveils the signature element of this track: a melodic set of vocals with a heavy vocoder placed on top, giving them a robotic “Daft Punk”-like treatment. Dada Life then brings the main lead back in, hitting the same notes and on the same rhythm as the vocals. After the drop, Dada Life takes the track around for one last sequence before the outro. This track is a refreshing spin on Dada Life’s brand of electro, and the perfectly-mixed vocals absolutely make the song.
Everything Is Free
“Everything Is Free” is a track that is more similar to Dada Life’s modern sound, and is destined to become a club hit. The song opens with a bang, with a female vocalist singing over top of a monster bassline. The lyrics are sure to be on the lips of electro house heads and clubgoers for a while, as they perfectly convey Dada Life’s attitude towards their music: “There’s riots in the streets, and we’re just having fun.” After a short break, the track then launches into the first verse. A monstrously-massive bassline drives the groove on, as a high-end lead hits in tandem with the bass. Pitch bends change up the feel, while additive percussion accentuates the groove. The arrangement drives the track on up to final breakdown, where the vocals are brought out for one more go-around. Another gigantic build-up leads up to a towering final drop, and then Dada Life takes the track home. This song fits Dada Life’s contemporary style: huge basslines and scorching leads to go along with an emphatic set of vocals. Don’t be surprised when you hear this song at shows and festivals for the rest of the year.
Boing Clash Boom
“Boing Clash Boom” is definitely one of the more massive tracks on the album. Some vibrant vocals are on display in this track, beginning within the first few seconds of the song. A heavy sawtooth bassline and auxiliary synth chords provide the backbone of the groove after the kick comes in. The first verse of the track continues for a few measures before a short, gargantuan breakdown leads us into the drop for the second verse. Here, the vocals continue on, with a mammoth lead is added into the mix for added energy. Then the track goes into the main breakdown which, if you are not expecting, might surprise you. The rhythm completely changes, the beat slows down a bit, and three kicks hit intermittently with a heavily distorted bass as the vocals continue on. Then, just as quickly as it began, the breakdown is over and we are taken into the final phase of the track. The thunderous bassline, backing synths, and gargantuan lead all combine for one last frenzied drive until the very last sequence. Dada Life ends the track with another “Dadastep” breakdown. One of their most original tracks to date, “Boing Clash Boom” is proof that Dada knows how to make a massive track while still throwing in enough elements to surprise their listeners.
Dada Life closes out their release with a bang, as “Don’t Stop” is absolutely one of the most unique tracks on the entire album. This entry sounds like Dada Life’s take on modern progressive house. The track begins with an intricate chord sequence, and eventually a strong kick is added in, along with intermittent sawtooth bass hits that carry some heavy weight. Slowly the chords decay into the first breakdown, where an impassioned set of vocals provide a break in the energy. A spacious lead adds atmosphere to the breaks, as the chord sequence is slowly filtered back in. Vocoder effects are placed on the vocals, emphasizing their melodic power, as a series of snare hits, along with a steep rise, lead us back into the main groove. The final sequence sees Dada Life tie it all together, as they achieve a very harmonious progression with the lead, backing chords, and the ever-present bassline. This is one of Dada Life’s deepest, most melodic tracks yet, and it shows there is much more to their production style than just maximal electro house.
The Rules of Dada is a masterwork of modern electro house, made even more monumental by the technique and energy that Dada Life bring to their works. Not merely content with just putting out standard-sounding tracks, Dada Life brings the full range of their production style to every song they create. Whether it’s a peak-time club banger with a monstrous bassline, or a lighter progressive track that showcases depth and melody, Dada Life is much more than just champagne, bananas, and bass. They’re also outstanding musicians, and this album shows it. Pick up your copy today.
Purchase The Rules of Dada – Dada Life on iTunes