There are a few DJs who can be referred to as the ones who popularized EDM music in the Americas and helped start the powerhouse it has turned into today. Daft Punk, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, and Steve Aoki are all names one would think of in this regard. One artist who should also be in this category but may have been forgotten about a bit is Swedish House Mafia. This group dominated the airwaves in the early 2010s, creating some of the biggest EDM anthems of the decade. Swedish House Mafia is made up of three very popular and successful DJs from the Swedish House and Trance music scenes. Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello were all very successful in the European Electronic scene as solo artists during the 2000s. When these three decided to come together and form a House music supergroup, they ended up taking the music world by storm. They made a bunch of monster hits in the early 2010s, all of which helped popularize EDM music in the western world. Songs like ‘Don’t You Worry Child,’ ‘Save the World,’ and ‘One’ dominated the radio airwaves, making them the titans of EDM music at the time. But just as quickly as they rose to international superstardom, they went away. Right at the peak of their popularity, they decided to return to their solo projects. Now, many years later, they have reunited. Swedish House Mafia never put out a full-length record back in the early 2010s, and they have finally decided to do so. On Paradise Again, Swedish House Mafia has decided to explore all corners of the Electronic music world. It is an extremely eclectic album; with it, Swedish House Mafia wanted to show they could do more than make Pop-House anthems. Honestly, this record is a bit of a mixed bag; it has very high highs and low lows. The talent these DJs possess does shine through, but I feel like at times they tried to unsuccessfully push the boundaries too far. With that being said, here is a list of my favorite songs from Swedish House Mafia’s Paradise Again. Please let me know in the comments below what your favorite songs are from this record and how you feel about it as a whole.
Heaven Takes You Home feat. Connie Constance
I’m not going to lie, the first song on this album is pretty bland and kind of boring. It makes the second song that much better. ‘Heaven Takes You Home’ has a very large and grand feeling to it. I would even say the song sounds triumphant in a way. The melody has such a warm and cozy feeling, and it makes the listener feel like they are actually on their way to heaven. The beat and synth arrangement feel retro and modern at the same time. The way the synths are arranged has a bit of a disco feeling to it, and the beat has an early 2000s EuroPop and House music sound. For some reason, though, together the beat and synth arrangement feel perfect in 2022. Connie Constance adds a level of joy and hopefulness with her vocals. She brings the extra amount of light that the song needs. In ‘Heaven Takes you Home, Connie Constance is telling someone that no matter what they believe, they are a good person who will see pure happiness one day. She is trying to give hope to this person that being good on earth will help you achieve pure bliss. It is a very sweet message.
Moth To A Flame feat. The Weeknd
‘Moth to a Flame’ is the song that put Swedish House Mafia back on the map. This collaboration with The Weeknd was one of my favorite songs from 2021. The Weeknd has had an affinity for working with prominent EDM producers in the past; he has already made quite a bit of music with Daft Punk and Gessafelstein. Not only does he have a great voice for EDM, but he also seems to understand what it takes to make great EDM music. The pacing and overall structure of this song remind me so much of the music Swedish House Mafia made in their heyday. I love the way this instrumental builds. It starts with the feeling of a chill and funky dance track, and it eventually evolves into this bold and majestic House anthem in the chorus. The melody of this song has an eerie, melancholy, and seductive tone. The melody goes with the lyricism very well. In ‘Moth to a Flame,’ Weeknd is singing about an ex who is still in love with him even though she has someone else now. He seems to be sort of taunting her in this song, letting her know that he knows she wants him more than her current partner. It’s an excellent song with a dark message.
Frankenstein feat. A$AP Rocky
‘Frankenstein’ is the song on this album I would have least likely expected to hear from Swedish Houde Mafia. It is also easily one of the best songs on the record. The first half of this song consists of a heavy, dirty, and harsh Trap beat which A$AP Rocky raps on. It is a great verse on a great beat, and it drives up the energy in any room. The song transforms at the midway point, though. The best eventually starts to morph, switching back and forth between a different and equally intense harsh Trap beat and a fast-paced Break-Beat/Rave music style and beat. The back and forth between the Trap best and the Race beat creates a crazy juxtaposition that one does not commonly hear in mainstream electronic music these days. Together with A$ap Rocky’s rap vocals, it creates a super unique experience. On ‘Frankenstein,’ Rocky is comparing himself the Dr. Frankenstein, with the “monster” he’s cresting being the energy and art he puts out.
Lifetime feat. Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake
So many artists have been adapting to the 80s-inspired Synth-Pop trend that has become so popular in music these days. ‘Lifetime’ is an example of Swedish House Mafia experimenting with the sound. The melody is provided by layered synths that sound like they are straight out of the 80s New Wave scene. I could see artists like Flock of Seagulls or Gary Numan creating a melody like this back in the day. The song does have a modern House music element to it, though. The way the drums are arranged and the pacing of the beat do have a bit of a Big Room House music feeling to them. I appreciate this beat being in this song because it shakes things up and keeps it from feeling too typical or mundane. On ‘Lifetime,’ Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake are singing about taking a chance and taking advantage of an opportunity. Sometimes we only get one chance at making something big and important happen, and we can not let it pass us by.
It Gets Better
‘It Gets Better’ is one of the most off-the-wall and bold songs I have ever heard from Swedish House Mafia. There is no doubt it is one of the weirder songs they have ever made. And fortunately, it works so well. Swedish House Mafia has tried to hit a certain kind of music that is not popular and that they have never really ventured into, and they nailed it. ‘It Gets Better’ has a crazy Industrial Electronic music sound that sounds like it came straight from a warehouse party somewhere in Germany. It is the kind of song that has such a fun yet dark and eerie energy. The “melody” is provided by a metal guitar riff with the perfect amount of 90s-style distortion. This is a song that provides so much energy to the listener. It has a foreboding and intense nature to it, and the build-up before the drop makes me feel like I am being led into battle. The drum pattern that drives the beat has an exotic sound that goes with the weird nature of the rest of the song well. Overall, this is the kind of banger you wouldn’t expect from this artist. Swedish House Mafia took a risk with this one, and it worked.
Redlight feat. Sting
Considering how colorful and vibrant his voice is, one would expect a song with him and Swedish House Mafia would have a melodic Dance-Pop or House music sound. Instead, Swedish House Mafia went against the grain again with this one and tried out a sound you wouldn’t expect from them. This song starts with an industrial techno sound that once again sounds like it came out of a German nightclub in the 90s and eventually evolves to having a modern underground House sound which sounds like it is from a modern Rave. Sting does provide beautiful melodic vocals throughout the middle of the song, and these vocals create a crazy juxtaposition with the beat. They give the song an extra layer that it benefits from greatly. The crazy beat and these sweet vocals keep the listener on their toes in a way one would not expect from Swedish House Mafia. On ‘Redlight,’ Sting sings lyrics from the hit song ‘Roxeanne’ by his band The Police. It is a super interesting and fresh interpolation of a classic track. ‘Redlight’ is another moment on this record that is completely unexpected from Swedish House Mafia, and once again it really works.