Introduced less than two weeks ago at Miami Music Week, Tiesto’s Club Life Radio offers 24-7, commercial-free electronic dance music, and the station, which can be listened to online, certainly lives up to that claim. Based upon the Dutch producer’s latest Club Life compilation series, the Sirius XM radio station (channel 340) features the DJ’s own tracks, along with those from artists on his Musical Freedom label and his own picks. In the past, Tiesto had other labels, with Black Hole Recordings being one of the more recent, and a handful of these artists additionally pop up on the playlists.
Nevertheless, the question is, does Club Life Radio mirror the DJ’s well-known live sets, which are known to draw energetic arena-size crowds? Not quite. Although the station is based on his latest compilation series, the character is far more low-key. Instead of a rave or club show, think intimate after party with the DJ playing his personal favorite lower-BPM tracks.
So, is the station for casual EDM or Tiesto fans? Partially. On one hand, the hand-selected tracks include the most current hitmakers. During a few hours on April 1 and 2, Sander Van Doorn’s “Drink to Get Drunk” featuring Sia, Kaskade’s “Turn It Down,” Afrojack’s “Lionheart,” Swedish House Mafia producer Steve Angello’s “Open Your Eyes,” Dada Life’s “Kick Out the Epic Motherf—ker,” and Avicii’s “Swede Dreams” and “Levels (Cazzette’s NYC Mode Mix)” were dispersed between lesser-known tracks. And, of course, some of Tiesto’s own – newer material and collaborations – were thrown in.
On the other hand, the more serious EDM listener wants something new. After all, isn’t getting away from the nonstop, overplayed hits one of the reasons listeners have turned to Sirius? That’s where the inclusion of Musical Freedom artists comes in. Although Tiesto’s more recent releases have been on this label, the artists signed to it are less well-known.
Artist selection aside, however, Tiesto plays it safe with Club Life Radio, which mirrors his career as of recent. Although few would consider Tiesto’s earlier material to be truly pushing the envelope, electronic-wise, he’s fallen into the collaboration trap, which has ensnared many of the top EDM producers, such as Armin Van Buuren and David Guetta: having a well- or semi-known vocalist singing over trance or house beats brings in a greater number of listeners but compromises musical integrity. The tracks he selects fall into this predictable, vocal-driven vein.
Club Life Radio, even with a well-known producer’s name behind it, doesn’t have the energy to pull you out of your seat and onto the dance floor. But, not all EDM is designed for fist-pumping. Instead, some tracks are better as mood or background music, and Club Life Radio exposes this relaxed, chill-out side, which is often an afterthought to higher BPM and more intense house and dubstep. And, the variety is designed to fit casual and serious EDM listeners. So, rather than re-listening to that Ministry of Sound or Ultra summer compilation for the umpteenth time, get the same vibe from Club Life Radio.