Nothing But The Beat

Since his name-making production on the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," French house-music titan David Guetta has become a go-to guy for pop stars looking to navigate the increasingly techno-fied Top 40. Artists from 50 Cent to Rihanna have rung his studio bell. But Guetta always seemed hungry to be more than just a name on other people’s records: In the video for his current hit "Where Them Girls At," he DJs on an L.A. rooftop, turning pedestrians into party people – it's like an E’ed-up version of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name."

If Guetta’s fifth album doesn't convince you that he's the Bono of the four-on-the-floor beat, it does show how good he is at making Eurohouse's thumping trounce and jet-engine synth whoosh feel like natural elements in the hip-hop, R&B and even rock continuum. The best tracks here work a surefire formula: Rapper lubricates the throbbing verse, R&B star pretties up the sweeping ballad-big chorus. On "Little Bad Girl," Ludacris swaggers while Taio Cruz croons about a sexy club rat. Elsewhere, Usher gets lonely over Coldplay-style guitar ("Without U"), and Nicki Minaj demolishes the club ("All the girls in the back of me/This ain’t football, why the fuck they wanna tackle me," she raps on "Where Them Girls At"). The epic momentis "Nothing Really Matters," featuring Will.i.am; it's the album’s gushiest melody, turning an ode to partying your problems away into a call to escapist togetherness. Guetta and Will.i.am jell so well because they share a vision: dancefloor cheese as the glue of humanity.

Listen to "Where Them Girls At": 

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From The Archives Issue 1138: September 1, 2011