Nothing But the Beat
Parisian producer David Guetta’s follow-up to the crossover success of 2009’s One Love is noticeably more based in the retro tones of bygone synthcore, while also boasting an impressive roster of A-list guests. Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida are awash in a Jacuzzi of Auto-Tune effects in the opening showstopper, “Where Them Girls At,” before stepping out to bust some hyper-phrased rhymes over Guetta’s quiver of vintage arcade keyboards and beats. Taio Cruz and Ludacris swap melodies and rhymes over wonky synths that sound like classic Nintendo systems. Snoop Dogg coos through robotic filters alongside some studio wizardry in the sultry standout “Sweat,” as Guetta rubs crisp rhythms against the grain of lo-fi Casiotone notes and murky underwater beats. In the Daft Punk–flavored “Without You,” the marriage of Usher’s smooth tenor and Guetta’s penchant for digging up analog textures delivers the album’s brightest gem.