Strange that right after house and EDM broke, many of its leading names looked outside the genre for inspiration, including David Guetta, who goes singer/songwriter with his 2014 effort Listen. That's singer/songwriter in the vocation sense, not the '70s sense, as big names like John Legend sway the superstar producer toward their own style, which in the case of Legend's title track, "Listen," is elegant and exquisite R&B. In the case of Nicki Minaj, it's sassy and sexy dancefloor business as "Hey Mama" shines with Afrojack on the assist; then there's Emili Sande invoking the spirit of Nina Simone on the moving "What I Did for Love," or Sia going stark on the excellent "The Whisperer." Guetta does the build, break, and drop thing on some cuts, while tastefully keeping other songs EDM free, but his major contribution when it comes to creativity seems to be the inspired Black Eyed Peas and township jive mashing he does on "Lift Me Up" with Nico & Vinz plus Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Otherwise, he seems like a featured artist on his own album, which would be standard issue for other producers turned artist, but not Guetta.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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