Armin Van Buuren, the world's #1 DJ, is a lot of things, but mostly he is busy. In addition to his DJ sets, his weekly radio show, heading up his own record label and publishing house, and doing remixes for other artists, he somehow still finds time to make records.
Not just the token one-off artist album either, but several. And they've been getting better with each release.
On Imagine, his third artist album, Armin has definitely upped the overall quality from a start-to-finish perspective. Although elements of both 76 and Shivers perhaps showcased more diversity, the tracks on Imagine are just as strong throughout.
The style for Imagine is straight trance. It's what he does; it's what he champions. It's not horribly progressive, and it's not very techy. What it is though, is peak-time, hands-in-the-air tunes of the caliber that highlight his sets every week. With the exception of three tracks, it's all of the vocal variety. And while you probably shouldn't scrutinize some of the structure too much (even the best of vocal trance tracks tend to be a mile wide with melody, but only an inch deep in lyrical content), you would be hard pressed to not enjoy the entire ride of the album.
Things open up with a bit of a puzzler: an electric guitar solo. And not texture or rhythm, but full-on solos complete with whammy bar. Sure, it will make you do a double take, but it's a solid track, and you'll eventually just roll with it. This is followed by the album's lead single, a collaboration with DJ Shah called "Going Wrong." It's the only male vocal of the bunch, and while not a stunner (it has a bit of "samey" trance anthem familiarity to it), it also doesn't disappoint.