Like Winter into Spring, Porter Robinson shifts from his incredible 2014 premiere with “Worlds” to his equally as brilliant, if not greater, sophomore album “Nurture.” Capitalizing on the nature aesthetic, “Nurture” carries the theme of forward movement with the passage of time, such as when a flower blooms when the weather warms. Throughout the LP, Porter’s growth as a person and as a composer can be heard, as unique hard-hitting instrumentals carry the album, well supported by deeply moving lyrics.
Beginning with the serene “Lifelike,” “Nurture” slowly introduces you to the album with purposefully simple orchestration, that begins soft and crescendos into something larger. Then it kicks off into “Look at the Sky,” a much faster, higher energy track more representative of the rest of the album. Speaking the words “I’ll be alive next year,” encapsulating “Nurture” with a single line; the theme is pronounced most prominently and directly with this song. The combined power of “Lifelike” and “Look at the Sky” perfectly informs the listener of what they can expect for the remaining 50 minutes or so of the album.
The songs found throughout “Nurture” have instrumentals that bounce with a sugared energy, the composition of which is incomparable to most other music I have listened to recently. It is clear so much heart has gone into each beat over the last seven years, which has resulted in an album filled with diverse instrumentation. The majority of the tracks have the high energy referenced before, each with their own bits and pieces that make them unique. Occasionally, “Nurture” takes a breath with tranquil interludes more akin to “Lifelike.” “Wind Tempos” cannot go without mention, as it contains some of the most otherworldly composition I have ever heard, with the only similarities that can be drawn being to the Japanese piano scoring that inspired it. Sometimes these interludes can be jarring when juxtaposed immediately before and after such fast-paced EDM, but effort was clearly placed to smooth these transitions.
In discussing the lyrics, I must speak honestly — on multiple occasions I was brought to tears. Much of Porter’s music can be heard on a service level, while often a deeper meaning lies just underneath. Porter does not hide the messages in his songs, but they can easily be overlooked due to the high octane instrumentation blasting over them. However, if you sit down with the intent to hear the words being sung, I can guarantee you will be moved. As mentioned before, “Nurture” is about moving forward. Every song on “Nurture” supports that theme in some way. To speak on what touched me personally, Porter’s love letter to his mom on “Mother” mentioning how no matter how much he grows or how far he moves, he will always have the love and support of the woman who raised him instantly made me call my own mother to tell her I loved her. Long has it been since a single song motivated me so profusely that I had to act immediately.
Every moment of “Nurture” has something about it that makes it interesting. Weaved into each song are natural sounds and foley of the real world, but they are implemented subtly that in no way distracts from the music meant to be heard, rather it adds to it quite fittingly. Essentially, Porter managed to turn sounds found in everyday life into music, and it deserves much applause. Another unique implementation is the usage of Porter’s own voice. In a technique I’ve heard literally nowhere else, Porter pitches his voice up greatly and makes other minor alterations to make himself sound more feminine. He pairs this with his original voice, harmonizing with himself! Porter utilizes this technique tactfully, appropriately giving moments that deserve more attention greater power.
All together, Porter Robinson has given yet another gift to the world with “Nurture,” suitably following his five-star debut with “Worlds.” While the wait was seven years long, it was worth it, as in that time Porter has somehow figured out a way to turn pure sunshine into music. I will carry the messages found throughout “Nurture” with me for a long time, just the same as my headphones shall carry a grudge against me for being forced to play the same 14 songs over and over again.