The title “7” may be quite obvious as it’s David Guetta’s seventh album, but there is more. In a recent interview, the french DJ and producer talks about the end of a cycle and exemplifies it: “Seven is like a full week, seven days to create the world in the Bible”. In addition, 7 (of November) is his birthday and the album seems to be a double celebration of what Guetta has helped to build for EDM in recent years. POPline received the album first-hand!
“7” is a fluid record and I risk saying that it is probably the most cohesive since “Nothing But the Beat”. Guetta walks through several genres that clearly influence the 15 tracks on Disc 1: there are several facets of electronic music, pop, hip-hop, there is even a 1950s rock detail and reggaeton. Guetta also guarantees the return of successful collaborations, like the ones with Nicki Minaj and Sia, and starts new partnerships with popular names like Anne-Marie, Madison Beer, rapper Saweetie, J Balvin, Jess Glynne, Stefflon Don and Bebe Rexha. I know you’re all excited for “Say My Name,” the collaboration that “should” have had Demi Lovato’s voice, but it would be unfair to summarize “7” to that track.
I’m not sure if the tracklist order was intentional, with the anticipated releases interspersed with unpublished songs, but in anyway the strategy made the hearing more fluid. From “Do Not Leave Me Alone (with Anne-Marie)”, the album goes down with “Battle” (with Faouzia), a song that could have been written by Sia! Speaking of her, Sia appears in “Flames”, one of the strongest tracks, and in “Light Headed”, which closes disc one. The radio friendly pop returns in “Blame It On Love” (with Madison Beer), who sets the stage for probably the most expected one: “Say My Name”.
The track starts with Bebe Rexha and a very typical reggaeton sound. I confess I made a mistake, that I believe many of you will make later: listen to the track and try to imagine Demi Lovato’s voice in it. For those who were living in a bubble in recent months, I can explain: this song had entered a radio list of “upcoming releases” with Lovato’s name instead of Bebe. With the confirmation of the tracklist without Demi, due to the singer’s overdose episode, many used social media to attack Bebe. Please don’t! Bebe Rexha is one of the most interesting names right now. She can sing in different styles (“Meant to Be” and its country vibes is a good example) and it’s not awkward at all! Give her credits! In some moments, Bebe also recalls Sia’s modulation as in the chorus “say my name / if you love me / let me tell you my name / I’m dying to believe in you”. J Balvin sings in Spanish in his two appearances in “7”.
The decision to (maybe) change Demi for Bebe was correct. Think for a second: the track is one of the most commercial – and awaited – of the album and having Demi on it would be a disrespectful to her, as she is on a career pause, taking care of her health. Life goes on!
“7” continues with Latin vibes in “Goodbye” with Nicki Minaj and Jason Derulo and here is where the first break of the album appears. “I’m That Bitch,” with the rapper Saweetie, is totally addictive. It’s certainly one of the most interesting ones here. In “Like I Do,” Guetta goes back to his EDM inspiration and I could bet that “2U” – released over a year ago – made it to the album just because it’s a Justin Bieber collaboration.
The 10th track is the one I particularly want you to pay attention to. The mix of Jess Glynne and Stefflon Don is curious. As I listened to the album and passed my eye on the tracklist, I saw their names together and questioned if this was going to work. “She Knows How to Love Me” opens with a beautifully remixed sentence from Little Richard’s mega-hit “Tutti Frutti,” followed by a rough Jess Glynne and piano. Stefflon Don’s first verses bring a pause that transforms the track into another song. And there’s still a third break to come. It’s hard to tell you the style of this song, but Guetta’s talent ensures that the mix does not cause awkwardness. Besides being my favorite of the record, for me, it’s one of the best from the DJ’s discography.
“7” goes on with “Motto”. Do you know what’s a lowrider? They are customized vehicles that are “modified” to be raised or lowered at the owner’s command . There are competitions in the United States and it’s something recurring among hip-hop and rap fans. “Motto” reminded me of a lowrider. The song has little interference from EDM and could easily be on any rap album.
The album goes “low” again with “Drive” and “Let It Be Me”. The Ava Max collaboration has another classic sample: straight from the 1980s, Guetta used the famous Suzanne Vega’s “tu tu tu ru” from “Toms Diner”. It’s another potential radio hit.
Disc two shows another side of Guetta. Signing it under the moniker Jack Black, it is like a homage to the small European clubs destined exclusively to electronic music and that do not necessarily fit to radiophonic content. If “7” is a closing cycle, on his seventh record Guetta delivers all his facets: the funk/hip-hop beginner DJ, the house music producer, the superstar that took EDM to radio stations and the one who never left his oldest fans.