Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ is dance music at its most emotional and inspiring
In an interview with Grantland, Jamie xx revealed that he decided to piece together In Colour, his long-awaited debut solo album, in part because “[he] just had all this music [he’d] made that [he] couldn’t finish.” Unlike the many artists that spend years starting dozens or even hundreds of songs in hopes that they’ll find ten or so to fill a record, Jamie effectively used In Colour as a motivational tool to finish an assortment of songs that were already well under way.
Of course, Jamie xx crafting an album from pre-existing material is entirely different than when most producers slap together a bucket of old releases and package them for re-consumption. As with everything he does – from all of the xx’s work to Jamie’s revered DJ sets, and beyond – In Colour is carefully and flawlessly curated. Every note serves a distinct purpose, every song gives us a glimpse of the kinds of music that inspire him, and every guest brings something new and exciting to the experience. Everything on the album feels like it was painstakingly considered before inclusion.
Over the course of In Colour, Jamie xx explores a myriad of different styles, weaving them together seamlessly to create an album that’s as focused and coherent as it is lively and diverse. The dramatic stylistic swings that take place throughout are illustrated perfectly by its first two tracks: Jamie opens with “Gosh,” a hard-charging and menacing track, before slipping into the dreamy, creamy “Sleep Sound.” And as with every transition on the record, this one feels entirely natural – even necessary.
Though the most impressive part of In Colour may be how it sounds as a whole, that’s not to say that the individual tracks aren’t absolutely stunning as well. “Girl” is as uplifting today as it was a year ago, and “Loud Places” emanates the warmth and familiarity of a decades-old favorite despite the fact that we first heard it just two months ago. Perhaps the most telling thing about In Colour is the fact that “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” an ebullient and irresistible pop song featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, may well end up being the best song of the summer without even being the best song on the album.
In many ways, In Colour is exactly what we expected it to be: emotional, thoughtful, precise, and utterly captivating. Jamie may catch us off guard with astonishing forays into various styles, but everyone familiar with his work surely was expecting such delightful surprises. In Colour is beautiful and inspiring at every turn, and it coaxes listeners to feel and reflect in a meaningful way that music very rarely does. Ultimately, that’s exactly what we expected – and so desperately wanted – from Jamie xx’s debut solo album.
Stream and pre-order In Colour: iTunes