Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LIGHTS: Siberia

Elecronica artist's LIGHTS' latest album is FINALLY here! After months and months of waiting and growing weary of her cute brunette self waving apologetically in her video blogs, saying "I wish I could tell you when my record is coming out...", Siberia arrived about a month ago! I think the concept of A NEW LIGHTS ALBUM thrills me more than the actual music, only because I (and thousands of devoted fans) have been waiting so darn long. Any assessments concerning her synth-pop sounds and high-pitched vocals that I made on the day it was released were be fogged up by the hazy, excited stupor cloud encircling my head. So I gave myself a month for the excitement to settle before really attempting analyzing her latest work.
Her newest sounds are simply a hybrid. LIGHTS meets Icelandic warbler Bjork meets British singer/pianist Imogen Heap meets rap. It's a far cry from her original sounds, which were humble, unique and all very similar. Her style remains completely her own; there's still no artist quite like her anywhere. But as Picasso said, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." LIGHTS has borrowed the sounds of so many other genres and artists, but has meshed them in a completely new way, adding her own inter-galactic, comic book nerd touch. Her original lyrics are, as always, simple, refreshing but underlain by dark whispers.

"I would sail across the east sea, just to see you on the far side.
Where the wind is cold and angry, there you'll be to take me inside.

We'll find ways to fill the empty, far from all the hysteria.
I don't care if we suddenly find ourselves in Siberia."

Noticeably grittier than anything she's every done, Siberia kicks off with the title track, where a distorted bass groove drives the tune straight into her flirty voice. The pop sophisticate’s alluring inflections balance soul with restraint on the next track, “Where the Fence Is Low”. Blown-out rhythms pulse against her demure coos, sounding slightly like a Daft Punk production. "Toes" is by far my favorite track; she braids dubstep with electronica and good old-fashioned radio pop.

"Oh, you capture my attention.
Carefully listening, don't wanna miss a thing, keeping my eyes on you.
Got me on my toes."

Anyone craving a new dance floor anthem need look no further than “Everybody Breaks a Glass,” where overdriven beats and a throbbing oscillation of sonic static perfectly contrast LIGHTS' silky voice. I love everything about the song until the rap verses begin, which unfortunately kill the vibe. It sounds forced; someone needs to tell LIGHTS that she doesn't need to combine pop with rap in an attempt to appeal to the amasses. She simmers down on the hushed "Heavy Rope,” serenading under skittering beats and sheets of icy synthesizers. The soft and demure sound is perfect- this is LIGHTS I've always known. “Flux and Flow" and "Fourth Dimension” work in hip-hop phrasing in the verse and R&B melodies in the chorus, featuring rap artist Shad. It's an interesting mix. The heavier drums, the dubstep influence and the more complex sounds indicate LIGHTS' musical transformation. As she said in "Heavy Rope", she's now "a little bit on the edge". And I love it.

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