Porter Robinson welcomed something special into the dance music scene when he uploaded Language to YouTube on March 30, 2012. In a genre that typically packs a punch with aggressive bass and hard-hitting kicks, Porter said he aimed to "make the ravers cry". It quickly became a beloved hit in the dance community, with over 20 million streams on Spotify, 8 million views on YouTube, and creating a cult following among his fans. The sound he shifted towards gave room for bands like ODESZA to grow off of and inspired new up and coming artists.
The song's intro is typical of dance music, a repeating pattern of percussion and various sounds that will be used throughout the track to help mixing it with other songs in a set. At the 30 second mark, a piano comes in that introduces the melody, it's feels soft until the lead is first played at the 1 minute mark. Continuing to build up for the first 2 minutes, each sound makes an appearance and then drops out in rapid succession, joining and then dropping off. Finally at 2 minutes, a huge rush of euphoric sounds crash in all at once. It feels like flood gates are opening, but more organic, almost like a nod to the waterfalls pictured on the album art.
A common complaint of dance music is that the lyrics are shallow and unimportant to the song. The lyrics of Language aren't complex or even especially profound, which lends itself to the idea that for this kind of music it was never really about the lyrics. The words are vague and relatively un-indicative of any sort of story. Lines like "Let the waves of time and space surround me", "Let me float back to the place you found me" connote some level of comfort, though the source is not identified. The vocal bridge that marks the middle of the track is concluded with the phrase "I’ll be okay". The word okay is also marked by a strong trance lead brought back in, with the same kick drum that drives the chorus and drop making a statement as well. Even without a lot of depth to the lyrics, there is something dream-like about how the vocals combine with the synthesizers.
The music video takes some of the less defined feelings and emotions and starts to turn them into a story. A girl, chased by wolf-like creatures jumps into a body of water. Eventually she's found and comforted by a large semi-transparent being that befriends her. The girl captures some semblance of understanding and upon seeing her new friend attacked by the wolves, finally has the courage to stand them down.
Whatever the story or interpretation of the song, the underlying melody and sounds that make it up evoke something powerful and calming. When it's not just about the lyrics, the rest of the elements of the song can take on something more.
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