«2020 has been fantastic!», Robert O’Connor says to LGBTQ Music Chart – an opener that would have most people raising an eyebrow. «Not in the world, but in my world – at least creatively speaking», he clarifies. Dublin-born O’Connor kicked off the year by releasing «Older ‘20», his first proper collaborative single with Peruvian EDM producer Skynem GT, who last year beat over 50 entries to win a competition to remix Robert’s already electronically-charged motivational anthem «Real Good Fight».
«Older ‘20» set the tone for their collaboration at large – bubbling synth soundscapes comparable to Kygo if he were just a little bit sadder, cut-straight-to-the-heart lyrics delivered in Robert’s distinctive tone, described by Room Full of Music as being «reminiscent of mid-90s George Michael», and catchy hooks that the singer says he owes to «a childhood spent listening to pure pop crafted by the best».
«Over (Before It’s Begun)», an Ibiza-sunset chillout anthem was released at the end of summer, receiving five-star reviews across the board from music critics, with That Blogger Music calling the track «The perfect summer anthem”, and Essentially Pop saying it had them “Heading for the replay button». The Music Reviewer went further and called it «Summer song of 2020».
«Transcendence» opens with a cinematic intro before gliding into lead single «Destination Anywhere», a glistening late-night electro track with ‘70s-style disco percussion and a haunting vocal from O’Connor, who sings in the chorus: «Cause I wanna know, what it’s like to be free/What it’s like to be fearless, how can I get away/From all of this madness». The song, although written several years ago with childhood friend Emma O’Donnell, feels custom-fit for the world we find ourselves in today – anxious, hyper-aware, and searching for escapism. Sonically, it’s inspired by the «dark, sexy after hours disco by Jessie Ware and The Weekend», says Robert.
The seven-track outing concludes on an altogether more optimistic note with a tropically-infused outro. A hypnotic piano line is joined by a distinctly ‘80’s bass-line that would sound at home on any PWL album, while uplifting handclaps give us a sense that while the going is tougher than it’s ever been before, we can all come through the other side – all it takes is a ‘real good fight’.