Andy and Victor chat about It’s Album Time, the stellar new album from Norwegian DJ Todd Terje.
So I’m currently on my first full listen of Todd Terje’s debut LP, It’s Album Time. It’s important to note that I’m also sitting in a Pöang chair from Ikea right now. Things couldn’t get more Scandinavian.
You and I are both huge fans of Inspector Norse, the single Terje dropped in 2012 that forever changed our perception of what makes a great dance track. I think the best way to start this conversation, while I’m making my way through the 10 songs on the album that precede it, is to ask a simple, but serious question:
Is Inspector Norse a perfect song?
I’m sitting in a desk chair. It has one of those back support things. Not sure how that fits in.
Before I get to your question, which is a good one. I want to say how much I love just the name of this album. It’s Album Time is the perfect amount of sarcasm, mixed with straight-fowardness that we have come to love from Todd Terje. In fact, after a Norwegian music exec dissed Inspector Norse, calling it good music for a strandbar (Norwegian for beach bar), Todd went along and titled his next killer track “Standbar” like hi hatersssssss.
Is Inspector Norse a perfect song? I think yes. That’s not saying its the best song ever made. But for what it’s trying to accomplish, for its genre, it definitely does not get any better than this. Do you think it’s perfect?
I agree. Most of the time it doesn’t make sense to label something as perfect — songs, artists, pants, whatever — that just screws up the whole scale. But Inspector Norse really is as close as you’re going to get, so why not just call it perfect? It’s fun and hilarious, strong and serious. And you want more even after its eight minutes are up.
So how does it rank compared to the rest of the album? Or is it even fair to stack the other songs up against it?
If you compare it to Inspector Norse, the rest of the album is, um, it’s okay. But remember we just called that a perfect song. Perfection is a double edged sword. You start making perfect songs and people start expecting more perfect songs. There’s probably a reason why Inspector Norse is the last track on the album. It would totally fuck up your palette if crammed in the middle of a bunch of above-average tracks.
So yeah, the rest of the album is pretty good. There’s Strandbar, as I already mentioned. Johnny and Mary, a Robert Palmer cover, shows a completely different side of Terje’s music. Suffice to say, its not good background noise at a beach bar. I also really like Oh Joy and Intro (It’s Album Time).
Yeah totally. I agree that it only makes sense to put Inspector Norse last. In terms of the other tracks that have a shot at coming close, I’d have to go with Strandbar first. When you first posted it on my Facebook, I think you said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “It’s 2017. Imagine you’re on a beach in Norway sipping on Vikingfjord vodka not giving a fuck about your iPhone 7S data overage charges.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s that good. I’m also a big fan of Delorean Dynamite so far. It makes me feel like I’m in a cooler version of Speed Racer — you know, the film with Emile Hirsch directed by the Wachowski siblings that was based on a Japanese anime series of the same name.
A couple music blogs are saying It’s Album Time is what Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories should have been. What do you think of that? Like yeah, they’re both “disco,” but not really the same at all.
Random Access Memories has a pretty specific set of instructions. It may be unfair to say that It’s Album Time is what RAM should have been. It’s certainly what it could have been, but I’m pretty happy it isn’t to tell you the truth.
If people were disappointed that Daft Punk made a ode to disco album, it’s not like It’s Album Time really remedies that. The only difference being that Todd Terje takes himself, dance culture, and disco far less seriously. That’s just my reading of the two texts, I have no idea what the actual intention was.
Getting back to Inspector Norse — I know you just watched the video for the first time this week. Has it changed the song for you? It added a whole different element for me, I saw a new side of the song that wasn’t there before. Like it’s this unapologetically catchy, perfect track, and yet it can also be supplemental and introspective.
Yeah it totally did. Before watching the video I would just think, “damn, this is way too much fun” anytime Inspector Norse came on. Now it feels a lot deeper to me. It was a weird video that started happy, took a dark turn, and ended hopeful. Kinda crazy the song was dedicated to the guy in the video, Marius Solem Johansen, who leads a simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking life. Way to go, Terje.