animal wizard, Harry…”
Abby Waysdorf: Ohhh, that’s what this one is called. I think I’m officially old because I can’t keep these songs straight. I know I’ve heard this a bunch of times, and it’s King’s Day coming up, so I’m likely to hear it about a hundred times more, but damned if they don’t all sound identical to me. I like the little high-pitched notes at the beginning, though. Maybe I’ll remember those next time. Now get off my damn lawn, Martijn.
Alfred Soto: Tired EDM for Eastern European hotels, poolside. I mean, this is the sort of track in which a distorted baritone shouts “Drop!” before the drop.
Iain Mew: The “Animals” sound has already become so prevalent in Europe that there are dudes having hits by applying it to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. Time for Garrix to switch things up, if not much. The wavering note at the end of a synth line that sounds like it would fit a cave level in a video game from before he was born — good move. Announcing the drop with the word “drop” — is he even trying?
Brad Shoup: The pirate pings are back, but they’re chasing each other hard, like a Harmonix game on expert. It’s less of a show-off than “Animals” — which has been lighting up our pop station for a month — and more of a pure nu-rave thing. The endless fadeout is screaming for a segue.
Anthony Easton: The placid bits here, repeating the same notes as tight and contained as a minuet, ground the speeding up of the rest of the work. It goes faster, but it never quite leaves the same orderly structure, abstracting the tension of the work into a series of formal choices that appear more sophisticated than they are.
Edward Okulicz: This really annoys me because it t sounds like a pretty cool track which has been forced, kicking and screaming and swearing, into the “Animals” template just as it gets going about a minute in. In other words, Garrix actually does have a second idea of his own, but he’s too in thrall to his first to get this to really work — as a build-then-drop, “Animals” was just better, and this is wasted potential.
Scott Mildenhall: “Animals”‘ dystopic vision was a much sparser one, but this achieves a similar eeriness with a creeping unease. The radio edit has it best: foreboding introductory bloops suddenly giving way to menacing vwerps (technical terms, Google them) before the drop’s confirmation that you are indeed in a (very fun) nightmare. In keeping with that tone the video should have featured a young couple on the run from The Man (represented by a man, sporting wraparound shades), with a briefcase, inside a deserted factory. (It doesn’t.)
Megan Harrington: I’m imagining a future where our mobile devices come preloaded with the building blocks to “Wizard,” in much the same way the Casio VL-1 came preset with “Popcorn.” Then I imagine an even more distant future where we no longer need devices because our brains can connect directly to the stream and some old geezer pulls out his 20 year old cellphone to demonstrate the link between ancient forms of technology and ancient forms of dance music to a pack of confused youngsters.
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: My ear assumed that this was “Animals” turned inside out, but a quick test of the Nickelback Effect (where you play two songs at the same time to see if they match one another) taught me otherwise. It helped me learn that this is a step down from “Animals” and its subtle subversion. Here, Garrix and Hardway have a voice yelling “drop!” which isn’t as good a joke as ending your club banger with Scooby Doo noises.
Will Adams: The idea of EDM being extremely self-aware — from announcing your own drops to trolling your contemporaries — seems appealing in theory, but in practice, it comes off as little more than a horde of DJs collectively marching in place contentedly. “Wizard” is the same template as “Animals,” of course: a melodic breakdown devoured by a slamming beat with a woodblock synth pinging over it. Don’t be fooled by the title; there’s no magic here.