My thoughts thus far on the Porter Robinson singles released from Nurture have been “good, not great.” As so many, the shadow of Worlds was too powerfully lurking the back of my mind. A mix of nostalgia and such intense reverence for the album since 2014, coupled with the many live shows I’ve seen of it and the memories therein have put it upon a pedestal that is nigh untouchable. But I have learned over years and years of reviewing albums that a project is often greater than the sum of its parts.
It was known, ahead of the album’s release, that this was not going to be Worlds Pt 2. If anything, after listening the full way, it is the antithesis to Worlds. Bright, textured, synthetic effects are replaced with lush, graceful, emotional organic sounds and experimental runs that present a much different feel to Porter’s debut album. And why shouldn’t it when he is a different person now than he was then?
In an interview with Billboard, he spoke about how the time after Worlds was one of his most unhealthy. Pressure he put on himself, pressure fans put on him, and his brother’s cancer diagnosis all culminated in a wildly untimely fashion (a cancer diagnosis is never timely), though it did lead him to produce his first and only EP as Virtual Self.
This, in the end, opened him up to creating Nurture in a more organic way. Though, it wasn’t the only catalyst — you can read more on that in his interview with Billboard.
The album released last night at 9pm western time, and I began my listen at approximately 10pm. Over the course of the album, my initial impression of “good, not great” was transformed. I read so much of fans’ impressions of the album leading up to my first listen, but reserved my own impressions until I finished. What I came away with was peace — it wasn’t the feeling that I had listened to the best album of the year, it wasn’t comparisons to past material, it wasn’t any real critique at all, really.
What I will walk away from this album with is a feeling of contentedness. That, in the face of overwhelming adversity and insurmountable hardship, this album will always be here to help lift me up. Nurture is a love song to hope and the belief that things get better.