Monday, January 11th, 2016

Alan Walker – Faded

In which we check in on the latest from Norway’s teenage DJs…


Katherine St Asaph: “This company has nailed down a lot of placements. They’re looking for contemporary, Mid-to-Up-Tempo Songs in the stylistic ballpark of acts like Foxes, Katy B, London Grammar, etc., etc., etc. Please submit expressive songs that are, or sound like a real Alt Pop artist, with memorable melodies, a home-run chorus. Your vocals should be well-performed, with a current delivery that’s right down the lane of the referenced acts. Remember, this is for Film and TV, so please keep your lyrics universal enough to work for a variety of scenes and scenarios.”

Iain Mew: I hadn’t previously come across No Copyright Sounds, but it’s an interesting concept. Alan Walker’s ice-filled fizzy-pop house instrumental “Fade” is the channel’s most popular upload ever, on 50 million views and counting, and now it’s made the leap across to being number one in multiple countries. All it took was adding the bright new idea of a vaguely yearning vocal with the chorus question “where are ü now?” and some stuttering effects! Singer Iselin Solheim should get a credit — and not just because she’s the copyrighted one — but her part doesn’t add much apart from making the track’s straightforward emotions even easier to parse.

David Sheffieck: #freeIselinSolheim

Will Adams: In another decade, this would’ve been euro trance. But high tempos are apparently scary now, so “Faded” goes for synth stomp. The emotion is preserved, though, and Walker’s production pumps like bellows, providing contrast to Iselin Solheim’s airy voice. But it’s getting harder and harder to champion these dance songs that don’t credit their vocalists. The reasons for scrubbing these artists from the “ft.” tag are usually vague and uncheckable — artist billing bullshit; that crediting somehow muddles with solo endeavors — and I don’t know the story behind “Faded,” but the result is the same: a small faction of listeners having to sift through Google, while the rest don’t even care about who was responsible for making the song what it is. 

Alfred Soto: A couple beats slower than the average dance track with these sequencers, in which some might find comfort. But those sequencers and beats are so average that they don’t even bestir contempt. The breathy singing over the verses contains the best melodies. Susanne Sundfør should have sunk her teeth into them until they bled.

Thomas Inskeep: So generic I forget I heard it 5 minutes later, this pairs a wispy female vocal with a paint-by-numbers EDM track that never really gets moving. 

Micha Cavaseno: I don’t know if any of you have held particular need or desire for an electro version of a Skylar Grey ballad, but we did manage to find one.

Anthony Easton: The piano coda on this is as lifeless and dull as the low-energy ersatz diva vocals.

Patrick St. Michel: At least similarly “epic” electronic productions of the last few years had the decency to deliver something loud and energetic after a slow build right out of a nature documentary. This just keeps lurching forward, making for a dull story.

Brad Shoup: This is so MOR I had to listen to “Samson and Delilah.” Iselin Solheim tries to put a stamp on this blank document by bending her nows up; Walker notices the infraction and scrambles her vocal into gibberish. But all he gave her was a perky whine at half-speed, unsuitable for introspection or dancing.

Scott Mildenhall: Ian Van Dahl be damned — if ever there was a sound uniquely redolent of the last few years of pop, this kind of beautiful, pummeling sadness with distant female vocal would be it. Maria Nayler would be proud. “Faded” doesn’t quite complete the holy trinity with “I Could Be The One” and “Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais’s Bang Bang Thumpy Mix)” — Iselin Soldheim’s vocals aren’t even consistently well mixed — but such a great template doesn’t require perfection.

Reader average: [6.42] (7 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

4 Responses to “Alan Walker – Faded”

  1. I wanted to like iselin solheim’s solo stuff more but it’s mostly emmelie de forest-esque stuff

  2. “Castles In the Sky” >>>>>>>>> this

  3. Now just outside the UK top 20

  4. This somehow keeps getting bigger. Still top 10 across a large part of Europe including the UK, and just made its first US Hot 100 appearance too