Internet-adjacent pop music is too often loaded with irony, but Porter Robinson’s long-awaited second album, Nurture, is as authentic as it gets. The album is the North Carolina producer’s first album in seven years, and follows his 2014 debut Worlds, which established him as a pioneer of fresh and intelligent electronic music, transporting listeners to faraway dreamlands with hints of video game and anime escapism. In contrast, there’s an unbridled excitement to Nurture that feels immediate and ridiculously contagious.
Robinson makes use of several recurring motifs, such as plinking piano themes and swooping string arrangements. Beginning with the Joe Hisaishi-like soft melodies of opener “Lifelike” to the shameless, absurdly happy pop anthems of “Look at the Sky” and “Musician”, the ease at which he moves between thrashing pop melodies and ambient interludes nods to the heydays of Euro-pop and trance. On “Look at the Sky”, Porter’s voice is pitched-up to child-like proportions as he sings on the chorus, “Look at the sky/I'm still here/I'll be alive next year”. Set to a pounding bass that serves only to amplify the euphoria. A 14-track dose of hope and optimism to keep you going through this strange year.
Elsewhere, PC Music-affiliates Kero Kero Bonito drops a peppy EP, Sufjan Stevens releases the third volume of his album Convocations, and Toronto-based rapper DijahSB‘s vulnerable hip-hop is a total bop.