Todd Terje
It's Album Time


4.4
superb

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
April 7th, 2014 | 154 replies | 26,182 views


Release Date: 04/08/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Give life back to music

Todd Terje’s much-anticipated debut LP It’s Album Time is what Daft Punk’s comeback album should have been. Now, bear with me a moment; I’m not stupid, and I realize Terje’s disco and Daft Punk’s disco sound almost nothing alike. That being said, one of the finest qualities of It’s Album Time is its attitude towards the music it purveys. In this writer’s humble opinion, what kept Random Access Memories from being a great album was how self-important the whole thing felt. Daft Punk alternated between well-crafted pop songs (good) and eight-minute odes to Giorgio Moroder, indulgent to the point of being masturbatory (not so good). It wasn’t a bad album, by any means, but given the French duo’s previous track record the album was nothing short of disappointing. The wonderfully funky drum breaks on “Crescendolls” and “Digital Love” were alluring; the soulless vocoder on the unfortunately straight-ahead “Give Life Back to Music” just wasn’t the same.

Which, I suppose, is where It’s Album Time comes in: though it explores a wholly different part of the nu-disco spectrum, it especially differs from Random Access Memories because it takes whatever self-seriousness Daft Punk displayed and throws all of it out the window. Every non-auditory facet of the album - cheeky title, whimsical cover, ridiculous track titles - is appropriate because it exactly mirrors the music within. Terje’s smirkingly confident production shines brightly, as is immediately apparent from the way the loping, playfully ominous “Leisure Suit Preben” converts itself into a soundtrack to some old-school street-smart spy flick before fading into the funky disco of “Preben Goes to Acapulco.” It’s a fantastic argument for the propagation of the dreaded disco movement - whereas at one point the style would have been avoided as the creative quagmire it was, It’s Album Time provides counterpoint after counterpoint to those who would dismiss the genre as some sort of poisonous movement.

Of course, disco, however inventive Terje makes it out to be, cannot make a satisfying album by itself. So, realizing just that, It’s Album Time immediately switches to “Svensk Sas,” a new-school samba track sporting Terje’s trademark friskiness.The song’s colorful piano and vocalized bass build up just right among claps and clicking hand drums, and the unorthodox piece ends up a standout. Terje pulls of this kind of mischievous genre-hopping with aplomb, and the more unconventional pieces present here are almost without exception incredible. Take the absurdly-titled album highlight “Alfonso Muskedunder” and its improbable jazz-rock-house-whatever-else-Terje-wants fusion (all in 7/4 time, no less!). It’s the kind of high-energy piece which is one of the most straight-up celebratory tracks of Terje’s career, and it’s all the better for it. It’s especially noteworthy because of its bookends: the easy-listening pop muzak of “Johnny and Mary” (which, improbably, works shockingly well within the framework of the album) and the euphoric prog-disco of the “Swing Star” suite. It’s clear Terje knows exactly how to pace an album: its highs and lows are perfectly placed, building up and coming down perfectly every time.

Closing track “Inspector Norse” is ample evidence of this idea. Coming directly off the epic-finale fervor of “Oh Joy,” it serves as the perfect epilogue to the LP. Already a staple track in Terje’s discography, it nevertheless provides a perfect comedown after the elation of the first eleven tracks. Its bare-bones funk and flange-addled chords serve as a straight-ahead conclusion to an album which goes decidedly off the beaten path. It’s a fitting end, yet another curveball (or anti-curveball) to conclude a masterful debut full-length. Terje’s cocky, frisky songwriting skills shine, and It’s Album Time easily clears the high bar the producer set for himself through his remixes and EPs.




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user ratings (196)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

stream here: http://www.npr.org/2014/03/31/294870441/first-listen-todd-terje-its-album-time

album is absolutely fucking amazing

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 7th 2014



4940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great stuff

ProjectFreak
April 7th 2014



1293 Comments


oh my gosh 3:28 on Delorean Dynamite is the best thing

yeah i'm sold. great review


Gyromania
April 7th 2014



15202 Comments


i'm sold too; this sounds great.

but you didn't have to knock daft punk! moroder is one of their best songs come on

hamid95
April 7th 2014



96 Comments


Frrrisky

Delorean Dynamite is so good on this.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



10011 Comments


Moroder is one of the strikingly few times on RAM where Daft Punk's ambition actually aligns properly with their songwriting prowess

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Gyromania
April 7th 2014



15202 Comments


touch (another one of the longer songs) is also phenomenal

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



10011 Comments


I actually don't care much for Touch. All its component parts are great, but the particular way they're arranged? I dunno man, something about the tune just feels immensely off to me

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2014



7021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a wonderful record. "johnny & mary" is such an unexpected and poignant track to have in the midsection

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

yeah P4K says some bs about how it "reminds the listener that melancholy is possible" or something but really it's just a slow cheeseball pop song which is really fucking great

TheGardener
April 7th 2014



150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Absolutely loving this.

robin
Emeritus
April 7th 2014



4241 Comments


"Give life back to music"
hahahaha fantastic, will

D3rF31
April 7th 2014



27 Comments


As a metal fan this is not usually my type of music but i must say that this song is just fucking awesome
And by the way amazing review, a really fun read!

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2014



7314 Comments


I really grew into this as the record progressed.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

thanks for the positive feedback y'all!

and yeah robin I was like "what should my summary be" and then I remembered my first paragraph was about how RAM was disappointing and it hit me

FilthyStrut
April 7th 2014



2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Eargasm central 8-D

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2014



10011 Comments


yeah Delorean Dynamite is killer, damn

gosk8n
April 7th 2014



1032 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow! this is awesome thanks on reviewing this masterpiece

Digging: Mumdance and Pinch - Pinch B2B Mumdance

swordsforhands
April 7th 2014



395 Comments


Way different from what I usually listen to, but the track is awesome so I'm going to check this out.

Digging: Secret Band - S/T

TheBjornIdentity
April 7th 2014



77 Comments


that funk though



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