So this is where it all ends. Over the last few weeks, it’s been impossible to escape mention of the trio from Sweden who, ostensibly, are on their last tour of the world before they call it quits and embark on the next stage of their world-conquering journey (read: producing tracks for Will.I.Am). Two nights of Barclays Centre sell-outs in Brooklyn and a couple of Madison Square Garden shows later, the public relations around the demise of a group whose announcement of their impending demise made them bigger than they’d ever been previously has been nothing short of spectacular. That they timed the release of ‘Don’t You Worry Child‘ to coincide with their last whirlwind trip of the world, bringing along legions of new fans in the process, is further evidence of the group’s astounding capacity to engage a generation so prototypically defined by their apathy and distance. As I travel towards Miami at 800km/hr, towards Ultra – a massive, festival-sized affirmation of the extent to which electronic dance music (EDM) has colonised the United States – and towards the last of Ingrosso, Angello and Axwell’s globetrotting antics as one, unified and ubiquitous entity, I can’t help but laud their antics to date.
At first, I was set on seeing of the Swedes with ‘Show Me Love’, the Laidback Luke standard that was refreshed by the trio on their ‘Until One’ album. That album is one of very few that my dinky in-car CD player found it had an appetite on its release a couple of years back and so, those marimba-esque synths and tribal beat have been irreversibly drilled deep into my subconscious from repetition. But eventually I thought ‘Satisfaction’, from the same album and barely even a reinterpretation of Benny Bennassi’s biggest hit, more worthy of a post because it does something that ‘Show Me Love’ doesn’t: it made me like a song that previously, I couldn’t stand. Bennasi’s original, while gushingly embraced worldwide as a massive hit in 2003 annoyed me. I found the bass infused in the synths that make up the bulk of the track nauseating. It was an assault on my senses, but not in a good way. Where ‘Show Me Love’, while yearning, was determinedly upbeat and boasted a stomping beat that didn’t let you think while dancing, ‘Satisfaction’ was blunt, loud and sometimes obnoxious.
I did say that Swedish House Mafia fundamentally did nothing to Bennassi’s original. Bar the confusing intro, mimicking ‘Show Me Love’s’ declaratory opening statement only to drop into that buzzing Bennassi riff rather unceremoniously, that is the truth. So what makes me come around to a song that I fervently disliked for years, enough to write about it at this juncture? Packaging. Cocooned within the cushy confines of ‘Until One’, with outstanding tracks from Adrian Lux, David Guetta and Daft Punk for company, ‘Satisfaction’ takes on new life. Set within the context of so many other certified bangers (mixed, it should be noted, exceedingly well by the trio), it becomes difficult to argue the appeal of ‘Satisfaction’. It becomes cool by association. When it comes to a recommendation tool (‘if you liked this, you might like…’), being featured in a Swedish House Mafia mix is pretty hard to beat. Admittedly, Bennassi produced a pretty powerful track, and the use of robotic vocals is here on par with Daft Punk’s efforts on ‘Discovery’. But this post, in a strange way, is less about Benny and more about the Mafia’s ability to transform perceptions. They haven’t necessarily been the most influential or groundbreaking, or, having seem them up close live, technical group on the circuit over the last few years but, along with opening my ears to ‘Satisfaction’, Swedish House Mafia have helped usher in the EDM stranglehold which now grips Miami, the US and beyond. Here’s to one last hurrah. Congratulations, boys.
Swedish House Mafia – Satisfaction