Worlds (Porter Robinson album)

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Worlds
Porter Robinson - Worlds.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 12, 2014
Recorded2012–14
Genre
Length57:49
Label
ProducerPorter Robinson
Porter Robinson chronology
Spitfire
(2011)
Worlds
(2014)
Worlds Remixed
(2015)
Singles from Worlds
  1. "Sea of Voices"
    Released: March 3, 2014
  2. "Sad Machine"
    Released: May 13, 2014
  3. "Lionhearted"
    Released: June 17, 2014
  4. "Flicker"
    Released: July 29, 2014

Worlds is the debut studio album by the American electronic music producer Porter Robinson, released on August 12, 2014 by Astralwerks in the United States and by Virgin EMI Records internationally. The album exhibits a shift in Robinson's music style from the heavy, bass-fueled complextro of his previous work to a more alternative form of electronic music.[3]

Background[edit]

During 2012 and 2013, while touring extensively on his Language tour, the then 19-year-old producer began to grow increasingly tired of the current commercial EDM scene, feeling that it was inhibiting his creativity by being too formulaic, with the production process being centered around making "DJ friendly" tracks.[3][4][5][6] He decided instead to create an album that was true to himself and that channeled his own feelings of nostalgia:[5] particularly his interest in Japanese culture such as video games, anime and Vocaloids.[3][4][7]

He remained quiet about the album's production for a long time throughout 2013 and the beginning of 2014, performing DJ sets at festivals through the summer. On March 3, 2014, during the Oscars, he unexpectedly released the first track from the album, "Sea of Voices", which was available on SoundCloud and emerged into a worldwide trend on Twitter.[4][8][9] This was the first track to exhibit his drastic change in style from his previous material, showing off an ambient style. He feared a backlash from long time fans, however the single was generally well received.[4] This song is also featured in the soundtrack of NHL 15 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

On May 5, 2014, he announced the second single to be released from the album, "Sad Machine", to be released on May 13, 2014. This track was again a shift in style from "Sea of Voices", showing off a more typical EDM style, but used General MIDI sounds, similar to that heard in classic video games. The track utilized a Vocaloid, a heavily modified version of Avanna, modified by Robinson himself, for the vocals combined with his own vocals in a duet. Along with the release of the single, he also revealed the album would be released on August 12, 2014.

On June 3, 2014, he announced the third single from the album would be "Lionhearted", to be released on June 17, 2014 in the United States and later in the United Kingdom by August 3, 2014.[5][10] This track again shifted styles to a more synth-pop style, aided by the vocals of indietronica band Urban Cone. A music video, directed by Jodeb was also released for the track.[11] It features Robinson and a group of Japanese women walking around with weapons that turn objects into glitchy, retro effects.[11][12]

On July 29, 2014, the album's fourth single, "Flicker", was released along with a music video. The video is seen from a train window as glitchy effects akin to the "Lionhearted" music video take place on the passing landscape.

On September 2, 2015, Porter Robinson announced a remix album of Worlds to be released on October 2, 2015. It contains one remix of each song by different artists including Slumberjack, San Holo, and Odesza.

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Sea of Voices", was released on March 3, 2014 for digital download. The song entered the Dance/Electronic Songs chart at number 28.[13] The second single, "Sad Machine", was released on May 13, 2014 and features a duet between Robinson and a Vocaloid. It entered the Dance/Electronic Songs chart at number 29.[13] The album's third single, "Lionhearted" features vocals from Urban Cone and was released on June 17, 2014. The song premiered as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1. The fourth single from the album, "Flicker", was released on July 29, 2014. The song premiered during Robinson's Essential Mix for Radio 1.[14] Robinson has described it as a "hip-hop beat and a vocal that’s Japanese and really high-pitched".[14] He used a chopped up sample from translation software.[3]

Tour and performances[edit]

Robinson has stated that he does not wish to perform DJ sets at festivals any more as he does not want to alienate his fans and confuse them.[5] He instead planned to create a live show, using live instruments and sampling.[5][7] He premiered his live show in Vancouver on the Worlds North American Tour, which he announced on 15 May 2014. The tour started on 28 August 2014 and ended on 18 October 2014. Robinson also visited Australia as a part of the tour, playing a series of dates around the country as a part of the Stereosonic tour.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.4/10[15]
Metacritic63/100[16]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[17]
Alternative Press[18]
Consequence of SoundC[19]
Las Vegas Weekly[20]
Pitchfork6.9/10[21]
Q[22]
Rolling Stone[23]
Spin8/10[24]
Uncut6/10[25]
Wondering Sound[26]

Worlds has been met with generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 63, based on 8 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews."[16]

Lucas Villa of AXS awarded Worlds with four out of five stars, writing, "[Robinson] taps into inspirations from video games and Japanese culture to deliver beautiful soundscapes full of emotional depth and electronic grandeur."[27]

Larry Fitzmaurice of Pitchfork gave the album a 6.9 out of 10, stating "Finding a middle ground between the synthetic surge of big-tent dance music and the tart melodic tendencies of Passion Pit, Robinson’s debut album drives home the reality that mainstream electronic music carries a certain sensitivity found in chart-topping smashes, zeitgeist-capturing Ultra Fest main-stagers, and sneakily successful soft-beat auteurs alike." He praised the tracks "Hear the Bells" and "Sea of Voices." noting that "Together, 'Hear the Bells' and 'Sea of Voices' make for two of the most transportive electro-pop singles of this year, a pair of unabashedly huge songs that, when caught in the right light, carry the potential to strike a personal chord for anyone who’s ever felt alive while looking at a city skyline at night."[21]

Elissa Stolman of Rolling Stone gave the album a 3.5 out of 5 stars, stating "Although it doesn’t sound quite like EDM, Worlds manages to retain the thrilling rush of emotions that the best raves inspire."[23]

A more mixed review came of Consequence of Sound's Derek Staples, who commented on the album by saying "The idea of a new EDM renaissance is noble, but Robinson’s execution is frail."[19]

Accolades[edit]

The album was ranked as the ninety-seventh greatest album of the 2010s[28] and the fifteenth-greatest dance album of the 2010s[29] by Billboard staff in November 2019.

Worlds on best of the decade lists
Publication List Rank
Billboard The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s
Billboard The 40 Greatest Dance Albums of the Decade

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Porter Robinson, with additional writers listed below.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Divinity" (featuring Amy Millan) 6:08
2."Sad Machine" 5:50
3."Years of War" (featuring Breanne Düren and Sean Caskey)
  • Breanne Düren
  • Sean Caskey
3:56
4."Flicker" 4:39
5."Fresh Static Snow" 5:58
6."Polygon Dust" (featuring Lemaitre)
  • Ketil Jansen
  • Ulrik Denizou Lund
3:29
7."Hear the Bells" (featuring Imaginary Cities)
  • Marti Sarbit
  • Rusty Matyas
4:46
8."Natural Light" 2:21
9."Lionhearted" (featuring Urban Cone)4:24
10."Sea of Voices"Breanne Düren4:59
11."Fellow Feeling" 5:49
12."Goodbye to a World" 5:28
Total length:57:49
Limited edition box set: Remix CD
No.TitleLength
1."Sea of Voices (RAC Mix)"6:08
2."Sad Machine (Anamanaguchi Remix)"4:29
3."Lionhearted (Arty Remix)" (featuring Urban Cone)5:17
4."Lionhearted (The Alexanders Remix)" (featuring Urban Cone)5:56
5."Lionhearted (Giraffage Remix)" (featuring Urban Cone)3:59
6."Lionhearted (Urban Cone Remix)" (featuring Urban Cone)3:26
Total length:29:15
Limited edition box set: "Lionhearted" 7" single
No.TitleLength
1."Lionhearted" (featuring Urban Cone)4:26
2."Shepherdess"7:16
Total length:11:42
Notes
  • "Sea of Voices" features uncredited vocals from Breanne Düren.[30]
  • "Sad Machine", "Fresh Static Snow", and "Goodbye to a World" feature vocals from Avanna, a Vocaloid voice.[31]
  • "Flicker" contains samples from Ano Natsu de Matteru, produced by Natsumachi Production Committee.
  • "Hear the Bells" contains samples from "Bells of Cologne" by Imaginary Cities.
  • "Fellow Feeling" features uncredited vocals from Amanda Lee.[32]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[33] 13
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[34] 96
UK Albums (OCC)[35] 86
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[36] 13
US Billboard 200[37] 18
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[38] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zhang, Michael (August 9, 2014). "Album Review – Porter Robinson: 'Worlds'". The Daily Princetonian. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  2. ^ Dancing Astronaut Staff (December 25, 2019). "Dancing Astronaut's BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Albums of the Decade". Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on December 28, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Porter Robinson Conquered EDM, and Now He Wants More". The Fader. July 31, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Porter Robinson Talks 'Virtual' Music, Denouncing EDM, and Online Games". Billboard. June 30, 2014. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Abbott, Jeremy (July 1, 2014). "Gold Artist 009: Porter Robinson". Mixmag. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "Listen to the Porter Robinson remix he's calling his "favourite ever"". Inthemix. July 2, 2014. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Porter Robinson Talks Australia, Anime, 'Worlds', His Home Studio And More". Stoney Roads. July 16, 2014. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  8. ^ "Listen: Porter Robinson - Sea of Voices". Rolling Stone India. March 4, 2014. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  9. ^ "Music -- Porter Robinson: "Sea of Voices"". The Daily Princetonian. March 3, 2014. Archived from the original on July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  10. ^ "Dancing Astronaut's Top 10 tracks of June 2014". Dancing Astronaut. June 30, 2014. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Porter Robinson's Mighty 'Lionhearted' Music Video". LessThan3. June 17, 2014. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  12. ^ "Watch the video for Porter Robinson's new track 'Lionhearted'". Mixmag. June 17, 2014. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Porter Robinson – Chart History: Dance/Electronic Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  14. ^ a b "Porter Robinson talks Worlds and being "so infatuated with Australian music"". Inthemix. July 8, 2014. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  15. ^ "Worlds by Porter Robinson reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Reviews for Worlds by Porter Robinson". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  17. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Worlds – Porter Robinson". AllMusic. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Porter Robinson: Worlds". Alternative Press (314): 107. September 2014.
  19. ^ a b Staples, Derek (August 12, 2014). "Porter Robinson – Worlds". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  20. ^ Prevatt, Mike (September 3, 2014). "CD Review: Porter Robinson's 'Worlds'". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  21. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Larry (August 11, 2014). "Porter Robinson: Worlds". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  22. ^ "Porter Robinson: Worlds". Q (338): 112. September 2014.
  23. ^ a b Stolman, Elissa (August 5, 2014). "Worlds". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  24. ^ Kamps, Garrett (August 14, 2014). "Porter Robinson Invents Shoegaze-EDM on Dazzling 'Worlds'". Spin. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  25. ^ "Porter Robinson: Worlds". Uncut (208): 76. September 2014.
  26. ^ Walters, Barry (August 12, 2014). "Porter Robinson, Worlds". Wondering Sound. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  27. ^ Villa, Lucas (August 13, 2014). "Album review: Porter Robinson's virtual reality comes alive on 'Worlds'". AXS. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  28. ^ a b Billboard Staff (November 19, 2019). "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 25, 2020. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  29. ^ a b Billboard Staff (November 26, 2019). "The 40 Greatest Dance Albums of the Decade: Staff List". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  30. ^ McCarthy, Zel (March 28, 2014). "Porter Robinson's Tired of 'Electro Bangers,' Will Switch Things Up on 'Worlds' Debut Album". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  31. ^ Brown, Harley (June 30, 2014). "'I Expected a Backlash': Porter Robinson Talks 'Virtual' Music, Denouncing EDM, and Online Games". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  32. ^ Greene, Scott (October 31, 2014). "Your EDM Exclusive Interview: Porter Robinson On 'Worlds'". Your EDM. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  33. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Porter Robinson – Worlds". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Porter Robinson – Worlds" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  35. ^ "Official Albums Chart UK Top 100". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  36. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  37. ^ "Porter Robinson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  38. ^ "Porter Robinson Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 22, 2014.