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LABEL: 16 Inch Records RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2003 GENRE: Trance
// review by SoyBomb

Rush Hour plus an extra 10 minutes.

He's the "Sandstorm" guy for sure, but Darude decided to show us he is no one trick pony. After a few years surfing off the success of Sandstorm and his debut album, Darude returned with his sophomore album, "Rush", boasting a more mature sound and more complex tracks than just the du-du-du-du-duuuu du-du-du-du-du-du-duuuu he became famous for. Does Rush give us the same rush as his his previous album? Let's find out...

The album starts out with Music (Bostik Radio Edit). W-wait... the very first song on your album is a remix by someone else? The track, which was Darude's first single from Rush, focuses more on the trance elements of the source material, rather than the monotonal middle, a mixture of sweet melodic stabs and rolling growls resulting. "Music / Hardcore / Single fire / Funky beat"... the deep lyrics before getting into that strong even hum break. It's only one note yet bears quite a lot of energy before rumbling back into trance territory. Music (and music, in general) is surprisingly satisfying.

Next up comes Next To You (Rmx Radio Edit), featuring the whispy yet adorable vocals of Finnish vocalist E. Mady. Driving in a synth so hard it'll make your armhair fly off, we're quickly shifted into a calm flanged padscape with E. Mady's vocals wanting to "get next to you", meaning me, which is flattering. Soon, the main instrumental hook, which isn't that impressive but still maintains the level of power and drive as the previous track. Combining both the vocals and the hook together later on do create a circle of completeness in the song. It's commercial, but it does work overall.

Darude then enters calmer territory with Bitter Sweet. This is one of the most notable, if not THE most notable, song on the album, thanks to its sweeter side, a trancier hook with some gorgeous arpeggiation alongside some almost overwhelmingly angelic choir pads driving the emotion. The melody is sublime; do check this one out. And if that was enough giddiness for you, Serendipity will definitely give it to you. I consider this song divided into two halves. The first half is a bit dry, focused more on the beats, but it sets up the tension for the second half, where the deep bass synth absolutely tears everything apart! Truly a treat to the ears.

After that rush, it's time for some Healing, in which Darude heads back to cosmic trance territory, where he lets pads and pianos alike speak for him. That is, until the four-minute mark, when he lets some gruff acid take over for a more hardcore sound before his more trance-laden elements overcome once again. It's not the catchiest song, but it covers several bases of electronic music while eliciting some decent elements of euphoria. Next is the title track, Rush, which, after hearing the ideas of the previous tracks, feels a bit flat by comparison. This trancer hardly feels like a rush; instead, it saunters on with an average-at-best plucked melody and a farty bassline. Drive has a similar vibe with its energetic bassline, but like Rush, it fails to really go anywhere. Breaking into trance territory in the middle is a nice shift, but... the track feels empty, devoid of any thought on where it should go. So, it chooses to drive in circles without a destination.

By the time Passing By arrives, I'm starting to notice something about the album as a whole. It started out with freshness and vitality, but, much like any time I buy vegetables from the market, it quickly goes foul and devoid of any palpability. This one is standard trance, though I enjoy his use of angelic padding. Perhaps the one thing that sets Passing By apart is his use of that grunty synth, reminiscent of the legendary sound from Sandstorm, though it's a bit more subdued this time.

Rush... Drive... Passing By... I think Darude spends too much time in his car. It's almost like he has an...

Obsession. This one takes a slower pace overall, but still builds up with a pretty standard sound, not daring to veer from the regular path. Obsession has two things working in its favour, however: orgasmic female moaning and a rumbly bass build-up in the middle filled with tension. Unfortunately, both fail to offer any satisfaction upon release. Darude DOES try something different with Ranta, injecting downtempo guitar work as a solemn conclusion to the "Rush". Reminiscent of past works by fellow electronic group York, this one looks to soothe our souls. It's not terrible by any means, but it also feels very out of place and jejune by comparison to other works in the genre.

Yet the album hasn't ended just yet. There are still two more tracks tacked on. The first is Music (Original), which is a more basic version of the Bostik remix we heard earlier while still keeping that grunty monotone buzzing as its main "hook", if you can even call it that. Funny how the pull factor of Darude's song "Music" is not particularly musical. The Bostik version is clearly superior, but it's nice to at least hear where the inspiration came from. Likewise, Next To You (Original) demonstrates just how valuable a good remix is (heard earlier on the album as well), as this version is techier but less diverse and with less tonality.

Granted, Darude's production skills are tight, resulting in smooth-sounding tracks. But it's easily apparent that the idea well runs dry about halfway through, and the initial "Rush" felt fades away. This happened with his previous album as well, where he takes a few ideas and stretches them paper thin across an entire work, resulting in boredom setting in at times. Rush is still a much better album than Before The Storm — he's evolved significantly musically, it seems — but more variety goes a long way in creating a record worth Rushing out to get.


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