Rusko is one of the most polarizing figures in the music world today. His catchy pop hits and eclectic collaborations have helped elevate dubstep into the mainstream, yet his love for the genre’s more mellow roots has validated his musicianship in the eyes of sincere fans. Not one to stagnate after success, Rusko (Christopher Mercer) has released his new album Songs on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, and what a fitting title it is. The LP is stacked not with simple dance-floor bangers, but with fantastic compositions meant for anytime listening.
Songs is the epitome of production prowess. Rusko’s mastery of layering and melody is evident in all of the tracks, but none more-so than Pressure. One of the most upbeat tracks in recent memory, Pressure is ironically about breaking up and being alone. Mercer captures this unique emotion with poppy vocals, melancholy chords, and flowing melodies that are sure to keep hands raised to the sky. Whistle Crew and Dirty Sexy are two other great examples of the kooky Brit’s penchant for fun summer jams.
Diversity of style is not an issue here, as Mercer is not afraid to jump into dubstep’s reggae roots. Love No More, Be Free, and Skanker all adopt reggae vocals to bring us back to the beginnings and cement the album’s place in the multicultural Mad Decent collection. And that signature Rusko skank is not left out with Somebody To Love and Opium, the latter of which is a trance-inspired track that breaks down into sounds that can only be described as an acid trip for your ears.
To bring it full circle, the Year 3000 Style intro is an interlude that extols the virtues of keeping music fresh and new, of making your own mark on what you create. This seems to foreshadow a beautifully complete album that is the vision of one of the most forward-thinking producers in music today. Songs is the true evolution of Rusko.