It's Album Time

It's Album Time

It’s not usual for dance and electronic acts to make great singles—only to choke when it comes to putting together an album. Chalk it up to the perceived significance of the format: If singles are designed to get people to dance, albums should convey a full artistic vision. In Todd Terje’s case, it probably helped that he didn’t take himself too seriously in the first place: When Norwegian state radio passed on adding his song “Inspector Norse” to its rotation in 2012, claiming it sounded like background music for a beach bar, Terje not only agreed with them, he followed up with a track called “Strandbar”—literally, “beach bar.” Terje’s attitude was so pathologically goofy that it was easy to miss how rare a feat It’s Album Time was upon its release in 2014. This is 60 minutes of music from a serious dance and electronic producer that you could sit down and enjoy as pop. Disco remained the anchor (“Inspector Norse,” “Strandbar”). But the rest of the album explored 1960s movie soundtracks (“Leisure Suit Preben”), video-game music (“Swing Star, Pt. 1”), romantic synth-pop (the Bryan Ferry-featuring “Johnny and Mary”), variety-show jazz (“Alfonso Muskedunder“), and a whole host of styles usually relegated to the cultural trash can. Terje had come from dance, but the spirit of It’s Album Time was closer to cocktail-lounge exotica like Martin Denny or the fusion of Japanese artists like Haruomi Hosono or Yellow Magic Orchestra: Kitschy, light-hearted, but deeply knowledgeable of its terrain. Anyone can be serious. But funny is another story.

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