Published Jul 08, 2015
2. Jamie xx
The name of Jamie xx's solo debut is no winking hyperbole. With his band the xx, the DJ, drummer and producer presented a monochromatic sound; here, he's painting with a full sonic palette, touching on a host of musical tropes — house, UK bass, dancehall, Northern soul — to produce a big-tent dance record that also functions as a private headphone masterpiece.
From the dark menace of opener "Gosh" through to the record's de facto anthems, "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" and "Loud Places," there's a sense that these tracks are going to hit hard whether you're in a field of 10,000 festival goers or on a lonely, late-night transit ride. The latter's opening line, delivered by xx bandmate Romy Madley-Croft — "I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with" — doubles as the record's MO.
Dance music has always been about the collective spirit, but its politics, which are too often lost on today's maximalist-minded DJs, were always personal. In Colour doesn't espouse any political point of view, per se, but in making a record that tears down musical walls, Jamie xx managed to once again make dance music personal.