"Nonstop fast life/ different city every night/ no sleep late night." With lyrics like that written on a cell phone at 6 a.m., it’s only appropriate Bad Boy Bill stops in Vegas again, this time at Rehab on July 12.
After two decades as a DJ—“America’s Favorite House DJ” to be exact—BBB is finally releasing a long-awaited CD of original material. Simply titled The Album, the Beatport.com co-founder unleashes his tracks on the masses July 28, though the single “Falling Anthem” has already become a club favorite. Will the world be ready for the notorious DJ’s tunes? Las Vegas will get the chance to preview a few of his productions this weekend at the Hard Rock pool. But before you slather on the sunscreen and devour an oversized frozen alcoholic beverage, we got a sneak preview of the CD.
The Album is not what you might expect from Bad Boy Bill. On a whole, the tracks are less club-friendly and resemble more rock-infused songs. Almost all selections are heavy on the vocals, light on the multi-layered intricacies and sweeping melodic progressions many of his contemporaries are favoring. A punchy electro feel encompasses a good portion of the CD, but the listener sometimes experiences abrupt genre changes from track to track.
The Album starts off strong on an electro-rock foot with “Do What U Like,” and you can’t go wrong with cowbell. The opening four songs bring to mind Junkie XL’s Booming Back at You, though BBB’s arrangements are a bit simpler than the Dutch production veteran.
When “Falling Anthem” kicks in on the fifth track, gears are shifted to a more poppy sound, but then things get confusing with “Ishy.” The sixth track, featuring Alyssa Palmer’s vocals partnered with acoustic guitars and even a trumpet solo, is almost comparable to something from KT Tunstall or Katy Perry.
The unexpected variety on The Album continues, including a little tribute to Herbie Hancock. BBB’s cover of Hancock’s “Rock It” (complete with BBB’s signature scratching skills) is probably the closest thing to what we’d look forward to from Bill and is one of the highlights of the album. It’s unfortunate the track comes in under three minutes.
One song to put on continuous repeat, though not a floor banger, is “If I Tell You.” Alyssa Palmer’s vocals shine with sad honesty and balance with delicate guitar on the funky downtempo song.
In actuality, Bad Boy Bill has had quite a bit of assistance from friends on The Album. Only one track lists him as the sole producer; industry heavyweights JJ Flores and Steve Smooth are all over the album, among other helping hands. Palmer sings on four of the album’s 11 tracks; Johanna Phraze, Alex Peace, Eric Jag and Kid Infinity also appear.
The diversity on The Album could have a duel effect on listeners. Some dance music fans might be alarmed or feel it’s a bit ADD for their taste, if they’re looking for something similar to his Bangin’ the Box mixes. On the other hand, it could help BBB reach an extremely diverse audience base.
The Album is worth checking out. When the tracks stand alone, they could reach new fans, and it’d be difficult for most listeners not to find at least one selection appealing. Plus, the tracks yield great material for remixing.
BBB’s set on Sunday is also worth a listen, as he’s yet to disappoint this reporter with a live set thus far. Perhaps diversity is his preferred genre, because he’s definitely excelling in that aspect of his legendary career.