Boots, “AQUARIA”

Boots-2015-Aquaria_coverBoots
AQUARIA
COLUMBIA
5/10

After signing to Roc Nation in 2013, producer/songwriter Jordan Asher—better known as Boots—announced himself as a major force later that year with his work on Beyoncé’s surprise self-titled album. His throbbing, bass-heavy soundscapes and Bey’s frank and mature lyrics proved to be a potent combo. There’s plenty of that same velvety lushness on his full-length solo debut, AQUARIA, but Boots is given more to menace than mystery on the album, trying to sound more akin to his other major credit: production and songwriting on 2014’s kinetic RTJ2 (Run the Jewels’s EL-P serves as co-producer here). “C.U.R.E.” rattles the trunk and “Bombs Away” is vicious, but the best songs combine suspense with action—”I Run Roulette” and “Earthquake” are stunning melodramas. Unfortunately, Boots steers his motorbike too close to Muse-scores-The Matrix territory too often, but at his best, like on the bloodthirsty “Dead Come Running,” it’s more like Nine Inch Nails soundtracking Blade Runner—future music equal parts machine and human.

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