Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Porter Robinson – Get Your Wish

Back on the dance floor after four years…


Will Rivitz: Participating in the EDM industry is exhausting. Its unceasing emphasis on the energetic and the functional, its tracks required to provide fuel for throngs of dancers exhausted by many hours on the floor, often runs directly against artists’ desires to convey to their listeners exactly how burnt out endless late-night club sets make them feel. Just look at how sad the industry’s most superficially euphoric smashes have been over the past few years: its superstars make crowds move by singing about their fundamental inability to commit to something good, their fundamental inability to save something good from imploding, and their fundamental inability to move on from something good that has imploded. “Get Your Wish,” unsurprisingly, indulges in this exhaustion — Worlds, Porter Robinson’s 2014 debut LP, arguably entrenched this burning-up/burned-out dichotomy in the mainstage festival world more firmly than anything else released before or since — but it is shocking how deeply its misery cuts. As opposed to the tracks by the SLANDERs and Illeniums of the world, which despite their melancholy still unequivocably slap, I can’t imagine this song’s glacial chorus or pause-menu intro making people move, or its tissue-paper-delicate vocals spurring a sing-along quite like any of Robinson’s previous tracks. Then again, as Robinson’s first single in four years ahead of his first album in six, a song this emphatically tired serves as a welcome and appropriate return. Those of us who came of age alongside Robinson’s rise are now in our mid-to-late 20s, sans the rigorous and endless travels and travails of an artist of his caliber but beginning to understand the emptiness of “Get Your Wish”; there’s a reason people often peg “raver retirement age” around 30 or so. That Robinson would return to our world with a call to reflection in both form and content suits those of us grappling with the responsibilities of adulthood and bodies exiting their primes perfectly. “Get Your Wish,” unless I’m underestimating my ability to scream along come summer, will never bang at the function quite like any of Robinson’s previous work. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Alfred Soto: Listening to the ease with which Porter Robinson commits to ethereal modesty, I remembered My Bloody Valentine’s “Blown a Wish.” This one’s got a dance beat, which, like it or not, is supposed to coax people — singer included — out to the floor. 

Kylo Nocom: An enlightening conversation I had with a family friend/part-time raver resulted in my perspective on the excesses of EDM changing for the better. The most poignant thing he said to convince me to join him was that I would be able to find my own niche among the acts that play, emphasizing a certain universal kindness that feels apt for after-the-festival-IG-captioning yet feels too sincere to knock down. I did, however, take offense at his idea that I would identify more with the emotional future bass vocal-led stuff. Stuff like “Get Your Wish” fails to move me, partially because of an admitted lack of tolerance for failed euphoric EDM moments, partially because the vocals are pitched into hellish chipmunk squeaks. Between this simpering anthemic stuff (God, even a violin!) and something like Rezz, give me the noise.

Edward Okulicz: Boy does this song lay it on with a trowel — the rush, the strings, the wistful hooks. I was going to derisively state it was a collection of tropes searching for an animated show or RPG to soundtrack the climax of. But it just keeps coming back for more, getting more absurdly epic and lovely, and there’s enough here to soundtrack about six climaxes. Manipulative drivel, absolutely, but I’m easily and willingly manipulated.

Julian Axelrod: The best part of any Porter Robinson song is the rush — that moment when the whole track achieves lift-off and the processed vocals fuse into one cybermetallic ray and it feels like a civilization’s worth of emotional data is beamed directly into your head. Most of his songs start in the stratosphere and shoot even higher, but “Get Your Wish” is unusually restrained. The hectic drums keep the ricocheting toy piano earthbound, which makes the hooks harder and the come-downs softer. It’s an exciting change in dynamics for Robinson, and a sign that he hasn’t reached his greatest heights quite yet.

Jonathan Bradley: This reconstructed piano and glitchy pastoralism is not unfamiliar territory for Porter Robinson, but this is the first time I’ve heard him align the sonic elements in a way that suggests more than decoration. Imbibing more Yasutaka Nakata than before, “Get Your Wish” shimmers with wistfulness and wonder, not just synth bouquets.

Brad Shoup: It sounds like a Nakata production slowed to a strut. I’m talking runway-modeling-in-a-music-video strut, a delightful choice for a song about getting crushed by your dreams. Keys twinkle like harps; Robinson pitches himself into the register of a kindly angel.

Vikram Joseph: If it weren’t for Porter Robinson’s pitched-up vocals this could have slid comfortably into the pillowy, expansive mid-section of I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It without raising any alarms. Take that how you will, but I fall easily for this kind of dewy, gently glitchy, tentatively hopeful synth-pop. The way the chorus pushes through thick, foamy drum pad sounds sounds exactly like perseverance.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Gorgeous in its subtlety — I almost like it more because it lacks a conventionally big drop, or even a build to something. Instead it seems to grow organically, bringing in more details less as rising action than tangents, and finally ending in the musical equivalent of midsentence.

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