Porter Robinson
Worlds


3.5
great

Review

by Kirk Bowman STAFF
August 13th, 2014 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Inspired, creative, but not quite up to the impossible task set before it

"...the thing with 'Worlds' for me is that it’s ultimately about this idea of the worlds that exist online."

That's Porter Robinson (in an interview with Mixmag) defining the concept behind Worlds to us. Did he succeed? Does it live up to the hype? Ultimately, yes. Not without flaws, but yes. Although it is a concept album at heart, it doesn't really sound much like one. What it does sound like is a heavily inspired, simultaneously glossy and glitchy, semi-symphonic electropop collection with a decent balance of "art" and "hit." Some albums try too hard for musical creativity and integrity, and some albumstry too hard for popularity or ease of listening. Porter has a little trouble figuring out what he wants but ultimately strikes a decent middle ground by the end. It's a great album for going outside and looking at the sky and dreaming to - catchy, inspiring, uplifting, transporting - but not as good as it could be.

Worlds is obviously very inspired by various artists. Porter is not ashamed of admitting this - he has a Spotify playlist dedicated to music he likes, which includes Jon Hopkins, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Chrome Sparks, and CHVRCHES. All of these are clearly heard in his album, but there are various other influences as well that are even more easily identifiable, which is usually a bad thing. The overlly clear M83 inspiration behind "Sea Of Voices" kind of ruins an otherwise great song. But the overall combination of influences, when combined with a dash of creativity, can create something much more interesting. "Flicker" is a great example - Daft Punk-like repetition of samples plus funk, an early Giraffage-like segment, Flume-like subtlety, and a chiptune style combine to create something totally unheard of in EDM. Of course, if we're being honest, Worlds really isn't the EDM killer that it was prophesied to be, or even an EDM album at all. Just like Random Access Memories (Daft Punk) before it, it was overly and falsely hyped as an EDM album that would blow the minds of all its listeners, when, in reality, it is simply another genre of music entirely. Maybe it will help diversify the market some. But M83, Passion Pit, and Daft Punk have each made similar albums with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, Gossamer, and Discovery. That's not to say that this isn't it a good and creative album - it's just that it's not as innovative as many hoped.

Some of the moments really spark like nothing else out there right now - for examples, the intense contrast in "Fellow Feeling," the perfectly timed development of elements in "Divinity," the crescendo at the end of "Fresh Static Snow" - but the album feels a bit stale some of the time. There's an unfortunately repetitive "dramatic synthesizer-laden chorus, dramatic piano-style synth note finale" electropop formula to some of the songs (particularly "Years Of War," "Polygon Dust," and "Hear The Bells.") It's clear that Porter tries to stop this from happening, with mixed results. "Natural Light" is a good try at a Flume-style interlude of sorts, but it feels out of place, which is unfortunate because the album definitely could have used the variety. The sequence between "Lionhearted," "Sea Of Voices," and "Fellow Feeling," on the other hand, works extremely well, despite or perhaps because of the drastic differences between the three. This shows an extraordinary level of promise which would have been fantastic had it been translated to the entire album.

That's the real problem with Worlds - it's hit or miss. It combines songs ranging from good to fantastic, and doesn't quite combine them right. Overall, it's an incredible collection of songs. But it's not an incredible album. Porter obviously could get it right, but he so unfortunately doesn't. Ultimately, he successfully captures the "idea of the worlds that exist online," but not without capturing their fatal flaw as well - the listener/player begins to eventually get a sense that they're hearing/doing the same thing over and over again. If only there were a few well-placed interludes, if only some songs were a little less repetitive, if only some were placed differently - if only we could get out of the world and into Worlds like Porter so clearly wants us to.

Standout tracks:
"Divinity"
"Flicker"
"Sea Of Voices"



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user ratings (174)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
SomeKindOfChampion (4)
Worlds is the soundtrack to Porter's imagination. Can you find it in yourself?...

OllieAUS (4)
The final two songs have enough meaning to pull through the rest of the album (skip to the final two...



Comments:Add a Comment 
granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fixing the formatting, sorry, give me a second



edit: done.



a few other notes: this is like a 3.7 or 3.8 or something. I had a lot of trouble choosing. It's also the closest album I've ever heard to Discovery so that's pretty cool. It just gets pretty grating if I didn't make my point clear enough. This guy has some serious potential.

ChoccyPhilly
August 13th 2014


13089 Comments


Not a fan of this guys work but this is a really good review. pos'd

Digging: Ancient Mastery - Chapter One...

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a really good review. pos'd


Thanks, I really appreciate it!

Jots
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


7311 Comments


"albumstry" - first paragraph

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tried to fix that, but it didn't seem to make any difference, even when I added two spaces in between the words. Not sure what's wrong. Thanks for the heads up though.

VaxXi
August 13th 2014


4418 Comments


Looks like you beat me to the punch. I was writing a review for Worlds too.

Rev
August 13th 2014


9882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm mixed with this. one on hand, it's an incredibly fun record despite some really inconsistent moments, especially throughout the middle third of the record



on the other, he essentially ripped off the entire Japanese dance pop styles big with labels like Maltine and Zoom Lens and basically put an EDM mainstream gloss over it.



He's going to be seen as an innovator, as these styles are something really not seen in the mainstream dance scene, despite the fact that he really doesn't do anything terribly creative here himself and basically recycles every idea from the underground





that said, it's a fun record and i've been spinning it nonstop since the leak

TomAkaVeto
August 13th 2014


1962 Comments


^You just proved your point because I thought this sounded crazy original and awesome and I'd give him the credit because I don't know about the Japanese EDM that you're referring to.

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Looks like you beat me to the punch. I was writing a review for Worlds too.


Why "was"? Keep it going, two opinions > one.

ItsJoel
September 2nd 2014


113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Def my fave electronic record of the year so far.

Reductant
September 9th 2014


23 Comments


Lyrics is what holds this over the standards
I just love years of war

hogan900
November 13th 2014


3199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Last two tracks are crazy good.

LotusFlower
June 11th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Last few tracks and first few tracks are the best off this album

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2015


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album would be up at least .5 if it weren't for "Years of War" and "Polygon Dust".



also I think Divinity doesn't really fit there even though its a nice song. Sad Machine would be a way better opener

LotusFlower
June 11th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If you listen to like, the majority of mainstream synth pop groups this isn't anything too impressive... at least, nothing beyond a 3.

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2015


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I do, but I'm a sucker for "cute" sounds. and I do have a pretty generous rating system.

Conmaniac
October 5th 2016


26140 Comments


might drop molly for the first time at this guy's concert

Tyler.
October 5th 2016


18264 Comments


Dad?

Sinternet
October 5th 2016


23714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i dont think that fits with this tbh, you'd want something harder to do that

Tyler.
October 5th 2016


18264 Comments


Drop some pcp



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