It’s clear that 2015 was the year of the artist album. While Zedd, Ratatat, and Disclosure added another album to their catalog, artists like Madeon and Galantis gave fans who have been on pins and needles exactly what they wanted and delivered their debut album. The first album from an artist has to make a statement; it has to show the world that you’re a producer who can effectively stand apart from the pack.

Of course, there are many ways to go about it. In the case of Porter Robinson’s Worlds, one might completely redefine their sound, and create tracks that may not necessarily parlay into a strong DJ set, but create a lasting impression on those who listen to it. Or they can do as Madeon’s Adventure did, and create songs that all sound and feel just as one would expect. But a true artist album, in my opinion, is one that can do both.

Here’s what we know about Arty’s Glorious so far: Three singles (“Up All Night,” “Stronger,” and “Braver Love”) have been rinsed all over radio. This is the Arty we know and love – the progressive powerhouse – who boosts great vocalists with big, melodic drops. Many believed his debut album would be nothing but a collection of these tracks, until fans heard “Glorious” ft. Blondfire last week. Though there were still those signature Arty elements within, “Glorious” also had a much more melancholy, acoustic vibe.

As “Glorious” is the second track of the album, the track and the intro “Shadow” set the perfect tone. They’re automatic indicators that this body of work might catch Arty’s fans off guard, but in a good way. As the album continues in its early stages, he clears through his signature sound, hitting the three previously stated singles in quick succession before moving into the true heart of the album. After your spirits are lifted by “Stronger,” “Inertia” serves as the interlude, a perfect transition down the rabbit hole. While Arty proves his worth as a quality songwriter, instrumental tunes like “Inertia” remind us that he doesn’t use lyrics to cover up mediocre production; every layer of every song is meticulously crafted.

But it’s not just the stellar production value of each song that makes Glorious such a successful album; it’s the emotion behind each song as well. For the first time it feels like we get to know Arty on a much more personal level than ever before. Sure, tracks like “Together We Are,” and even “Rebound” probably had heir own significance that we’ll never know, but it’s clear that Glorious was written from a place that was untapped prior to this moment. This is best illustrated in “Last Kiss,” a delicate, yet still somber tune, and once more in “Young Again.”

The deeper you go into Glorious, the deeper Arty ventures into unchartered territory. The album serves almost as a road map through his musical evolution, with key influences shining through along the way. The last quarter of the album really drives this point home, as each track is significantly different from the others, but still finds a way to fit within the puzzle. The album closes with a personal favorite – “Poison For Lovers,” which will be a big hit for anyone who enjoys vocalists like London Grammar’s Hannah Reid or NERO’s Alana Watson.

As far as debut albums go, Arty’s Glorious encompasses everything a collection of music should. By staying true to himself, this body of work takes listeners on a journey and allows them to connect to him in way they never have before. Regardless of your musical preferences, you should definitely listen to Glorious, as it’s easily a contender for album of the year.

Glorious is out now on Insomniac Records.

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