ayokay - In the Shape of a Dream

In the Shape of a Dream

It is really incredible how what the term "pop" defines has evolved over the years. When you think of pop, what sounds do you hear? What vibes are created? The truth is damn near every person would have a different answer to this question and thus pop becomes this super nebulous thing that is always shifting. Four years ago you may have called this debut from ayokay an electronic record, but in 2018 it slips comfortably with some of the down tempo electropop coming out today. Troye Sivan is similar in his approach, essentially creating an amalgamation of what is happening today. Here's the thing this all sounds wonderful and unifying in theory, but in practice it is not without it's flaws. In creating a sound that feels very right now ayokay also feels very pedestrian. None of these tracks seem all that inspired or vivid and really they are borrowing from things we've heard in the past few  years. Ayokay has worked with Quinn XCII previously and you can hear that sound all over this record including the song Quinn features on "Queen". Each song has a nugget of something nice, but He doesn't seem to lock into the one that would really set the record off and instead relies on his first thought. The album is pleasant, but you've heard it before, and unfortunately you've heard it be better as well.

I keep wanting to like this record, but the choices are so down the middle it's hard to buy in, and moreover hard to talk about. Everything about this album screams "IT'S FINE" which is true, the record is perfectly fine, but that's just not good enough. He needs to give us something to latch onto, or something new to explore rather than the same experience track after track. "Don't You Worry" is one track that does have a second gear, but it is pretty classic EDM in it's delivery. In the Shape of a Dream suffers because it doesn't take a swing, thus it never has a chance to hit or miss. This record just sort of floats along content to stay in the middle. It doesn't make it all that fun to listen too though and even more difficult to write about. What do I say? It's just kind of fucking boring, but not offensive or mean spirited. I hope the guy figures it out because a lot of the tools are there, just take a stance and hold it.

5.0 out of 10


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