It’s quite staggering when you consider his touring schedule, his radio show, his various brands and business interests, but Armin Van Buuren has somehow had time to write his fifth studio album. Two years in the making, Intense is a showcase of Armin’s ability as a songwriter rather than just as producer and DJ.
The first part of the album is largely made up of his clubbier tracks–Beautiful Life, Miri Ben-Ari collaboration Intense and recent singles such as This Is What It Feels Like–but we quickly move into the full range of EDM, with tracks that present Armin as a man who isn’t restricted by genre stereotypes. There’s some dark and moody progressive trance in the form of Pulsar and Last Stop From Heaven, some belting female vocals from Lauren Evans in Alone, some belting male vocals from Richard Bedford in Love Never Came, some uplifting trance in the aptly titled Who’s Afraid Of 138, some very impressive atmospheric work in interlude In 10 Years From Now and if that wasn’t enough diversity for you, the album closes with Reprise, a full on rock track with live drums and guitars.
With EDM becoming almost as wide-ranging a term as “pop”, it’s very reassuring to know there are people like Armin. His dedication to what this style of music and the culture surrounding it means to so many people is perhaps why he is so highly regarded as a businessman, DJ, producer and songwriter and Intense is the perfect example of this. Grab the whole thing now on iTunes and if you fancy seeing the man himself live, the Intense world tour runs until the end of the year.