2015 ROUNDUP: Crossover Albums
Yes, we’ve been absent almost all year and now – boom! – back for the roundup. Nevermind anything in between. All the stuff.
I used to think that roundups should highlight only the positive but fuck that. I’m summarising on a topical principal this time and I might even write some negative posts. ‘Fun!’, she exclaimed while turning on her chair, stroking a white cat.
It’s been yet another good year for dance and electronic music so I figured why not talk about some of the crossover hits of 2015. Now when I say ‘crossover’, I obviously don’t mean EDM because talking about that shit is so tired at this point, it’s not worth wasting my sarcasm.
No, I mean producers who, while having had a devoted fan base for a while, suddenly found themselves extensively covered in the dailies as often as the Great British Bake Off Scandal Of 2014.
Let’s take a look at a couple of prominent examples.
JAMIE XX – IN COLOUR
Jamie’s long-awaited debut album ‘In Colour’ entered not only the UK charts but – gasp! – the US ones as well. Big up yourself, Mr. xx, and nice artwork, by the way.
The 11-track album got nominated for a Mercury Prize and featured appearances by xx bandmates Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim, as well as by Four Tet, Young Thug, Popcaan and extra-legendary don of everything, Arthur Baker.
‘In Colour’ got so much press that if I could get 50p for every ecstatic article I came across, I’d be able to pay for like 1/16 of a monthly travel card (zones 1-3). And when I say ‘press’, I don’t mean only the super cool, online, music & culture, best-artisinal-soap-pop-up-stores-in-Hackney-Wick-this-month kind of press but also the kind of publications that cover things like the housing crisis and immigrants and how the Tories suck and how the Tories don’t suck.
Jamie and Romy even went on to perform ‘Loud Places’ on Late Night With Seth Meyers which must’ve boosted sales and introduced some lonely soul in Duluth, Minnesotta to the new soundtrack of their existential crisis. (Yes, I’ve been watching ‘Fargo’.)
So yeah, ‘In Colour’ was widely discussed and deeply adored by everyone and their grandma.
Everyone except Andrew Ryce from Resident Advisor who shat on the album so gloriously, I’m still ouching from it: ‘His rave tributes are the equivalent of a Hallmark greeting card blaring out tinny versions of classic rock songs, and that’s not even considering goofy moments like “The Rest Is Noise,” or the steel drum daydream “Obvs,” which borders on self-parody.’
Personally, I liked ‘In Colour’ very much but I also like snark so, you know, haha. I can’t imagine Jamie xx crying over it.
HUDSON MOHAWKE – LANTERN
Well, that was surprising. Andrew Ryce even said some good things about it in between the not-so-good ones.
Strictly speaking, HudMo’s second album ‘Lantern’ can’t be called ‘crossover’ but that’s not going to stop me because words are for stretching (learned that recently). The excitement and chartiness (words are also for inventing) of ‘Lantern’ can’t rival the worldwide frenzy surrounding Jamie’s ‘In Colour’ but the amount still pleasantly surprised me.
I guess the buzz around ‘Lantern’ went beyond expectation because HudMo’s musical sphere of existence is not as approachable as that of Mr xx.
It took me seeing it reviewed in a bunch of not that musically groundbreaking mainstream outlets to realise its full Out Of East London impact (I work in Shoredich, I can make jokes about the type as much as I want to while secretly emulating some of its worst characteristics. *coughcraftbeercough*)
Regardless, it was nice to know that people can still keep an open mind for music that’s not as radio-friendly.
Personally, I have a couple of favourite tracks from the album that I play myself regularly but, on the whole, ‘Lantern’ has one synth too many for my taste and tends to feel a bit overwhelming at times.
That said, congrats to HudMo! I’m happy for your success.
JULIO BASHMORE – KNOCKIN’ BOOTS
Julio Bashmore knocked it out of the park with his debut album ‘Knocking’ Boots’. What’s more, Bashmore has zero qualms admitting that he likes being both under and overground. As a producer, not as a form of public transport.
‘Knockin’ Boots’ charted well, was reviewed favourably across a variety of music and non-music media outlets, was enjoyed by both dance and pop music fans and is just a fun record in general.
I really wanna make a ‘knock knock’ joke but, as I haven’t written much in months, I’m afraid I’ve lost my mojo.
DISCLOSURE – CARACAL
LOL I’m just kidding. We all knew that was going to happen.
Bit boring though, wasn’t it? It’s the doomed second album anyway so they could’ve taken the opportunity to experiment a little bit but oh, well. At least everyone loves Gregory Porter and with damn good reason so that was a solid decision.
As long as they’re happy.
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