Max Styler’s “Promises” promises new ground in EDM

Max Styler, photo by Joey Vitalari

“You’re a different person when you’re wasted,” sings GØldn on Max Styler‘s new track, “Promises.” GØldn’s bitter, melancholic preamble thus sets up a self-aware banger that at the same time reflects and reviles EDM motifs, with their huge beats and occasional sameness.

Based in LA, Max Styler signed to Steve Aoki‘s prestigious Dim Mak label at age 18. The 21 year old artist has come into his own of late. From collaborating with other artists to gaining accolades from numerous larger artists like The Chainsmokers and DJ Snake, Styler demonstrates what three prolific years can do for an artist.

GØldn‘s set up is exposed. Styler’s beats lay low and let GØldn air his solid vocals over what I can only describe as aquatic synths, pulsating and building. So too are GØldn’s lyrics exposing. “I don’t want to love you,” he cynically sings, bitterness and vulnerability mixing in the water of Styler’s accompaniment.

Suddenly, we make landfall and Styler interjects with heavy snare hits. GØldn’s vocals jab in and out with the driving beat, quickly escalating to a glitchy (a self-styled description from Styler himself) instrumental bridge.

“Promises” exudes thematic contradiction, and the track is only stronger for it. The build from a smooth, floating introduction to a staccato main section gives the listener a strong sense of progression.

But at the heart of Styler and GØldn’s collaboration seems to be a self-aware lamentation. Despite the big beats and danceable rhythm, “Promises” leans heavily into a melancholy that at once seems dependent on and weary of typical EDM tropes. Like the on-again, off-again partner that GØldn continually addresses throughout the song, we’re attached at the hip, but increasingly looking for something different.

Hopefully with this youthful energy and defiance of the tired, Styler can break new ground in EDM.

Check the video out below, see if you agree with our take. Will Styler deliver on his promises? Time will tell.