When David Guetta hit the studio to record Listen, his first album in three years, the trailblazing French EDM producer worked backwards. Instead of starting with the beats -- his standard approach over his three-decade DJ career -- he began with vocals and live instruments, such as piano and guitar, and produced around them. The result is an emotional album of radio-friendly hits featuring star vocalists (Nicki Minaj, Sia) and full-bodied choruses that, when heard together, feel like a moment of reflection from his view at the top.
The album has been billed as Guetta’s attempt at reinvention, but aside from the analog approach, it doesn’t feel like wholly new territory. The 47-year-old artist is widely credited for leading EDM’s mainstream crossover with his late 2000’s LPs Pop Life and One Love, and this feels like his most pop-centric album yet. The recipe might be different, but the ingredients are largely the same.