Alesso has been on a fast track to EDM superstardom since early 2011, when Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso took the promising musician under his wing and taught him the DJing ropes. Tour dates with Madonna and collaborations with OneRepublic soon followed, as did the Tove Lo-featuring No. 1 Billboard dance hit “Heroes (We Could Be),” which illustrated Alesso’s minimalist production style and gift for emotional melodic nuance.
Accordingly, his debut artist album, Forever, is a self-assured collection that aspires to artistic excellence. Besides including “Heroes” and other older favorites (e.g., the transcendent rave stomp “Under Control,” which features Calvin Harris and U.K. mood merchant Hurts), the album showcases newer earworms. Standout “Cool” boasts swooning lead vocals from Roy English and a choice Kylie Minogue sample; “Sweet Escape” combines breezy, us-against-the-world lyrics with surging electronic avalanches and Sirena’s alluring vocals; and “Tear the Roof Up” is a sneering hard house banger.
Yet Forever is even more majestic (and impressive) on its cinematic instrumental detours. The melancholic “Destinations” has desolate piano and string swells, while “Immortale” pairs haunted orchestral crests with chilly, spacious arrangements. Alesso’s ability to find a unique voice so early in his career vaults him far above his peers; consequently, Forever is a breath of fresh air.