After years of building up a career with a wide array of remixes and taking over the club scene, the ‘Harlem Shake’ legend Baauer has released his debut record, Aa. It brings together elements of hip hop, electronica, grime, and more to form each track, but sacrifices originality for energy at points.
The album begins with a splash of soothing noise with ‘Church’, that’s a bit off-putting in it’s disjointed nature despite being a refreshment before the meal is served. Unfortunately, the meal doesn’t seem fully cooked. It starts off nice with ‘GoGo!’ and ‘Body’, which balance flow with energy in a strong ratio. Sadly, this trend doesn’t hold too well by the thick of the record. It hits a peak of energy with the grime-influenced track, ‘Day Ones’ before it hits a bad streak, the next two tracks being just plain boring, especially ‘Way From Me’. ‘Temple’ almost brings the album back up, despite going a bit overboard with the animal sounds to hit the “jungle” effect, but it falls back to a low after. ‘Make It Bang’ is just downright questionable, and Future delivers his same, bland flow on top of a hip hop beat on ‘Kung Fu’. ‘Church Reprise’ is where the album should have ended, it taking that pure, washing sense from the intro track and elaborating on it with guitar and more synths. Sadly, what would’ve been a beautiful ending to a bumpy album ends at an all time low with ‘Aa’, the most painfully cliché club track this year.
Baauer’s debut is a bit of a mess. It has a few high moments, but the energy just isn’t sustainable throughout. It sacrifices any trace of originality of his own sound to make up energy, which doesn’t even live up to what it should. The high moments just don’t last long enough, either. Aa isn’t the electronic album of the year, nor will it be very close.
Favorite Tracks: Day Ones, Church Reprise
Least Favorite Tracks: Aa, Way From Me, Sow, Kung Fu