It’s been two years since Lights took over the galaxy with her debut studio album. It was an intergalactic phenomenon, and I expected nothing less of her sophomore album, “Siberia.”
The album kicks off with the title track, a gritty anthem of love no matter where you are. The lyrics are pleasant and the keyboard is what you expect from the young artist, but there is something jarring about the track.
The aforementioned grittiness isn’t due to lyrical content or message, but rather the production quality with this track. It’s as if the album, as a whole, wanted to seem more rough compared to the polished, clean feel of “The Listening.”
I enjoy my dirty rock ‘n’ roll as much as the next Tumblr-loving hipster but, when paired with electronics and the child-like innocence forever present in Lights’ vocals, the result is not well-received.
Obviously this sound was intentional, since it’s impossible someone just “forgot” to properly produce the track, but it needs to choose a side. When it comes to noisy rock you either go big or go home. The song should have been pushed to a noisier, rougher stage, or it should have been reined in, back to the land poppy spaceship tracks.
I do love the song, despite the unwelcome static fuzz. It has a catchy beat and a lyrical reminder that it does not matter where you are, love operates the same way in all situations.
Any hesitation I felt regarding the album based on the first track was erased by the next. “Where the Fence is Low” follows nicely, and it quickly becomes apparent that the album has an uplifting message overall.
The lyrics feature similar repeated words to form the message, describing a situation where she is off on her own but finding herself and keeping ahold of her hope.
Lights’ voice is perfect for the hopeful tracks. She has a youthful purity in her delivery that transforms the listener into a believer.
It is this quality, along with stellar keyboard skills and the out-of-this-world sounds the artist is known for, that makes first single “Toes” a standout track.
It’s the perfect love song, a track about infatuation, longing, anticipating and spontaneity.
“Oh, you capture my attention / I’m anticipating / I’m watching, I’m waiting / for you to make your move,” she croons.
The song is perfectly composed, with no beats or notes out of place. It’s catchy, addicting and so damn sweet you’re guaranteed a toothache.
This song is the reason boys on Twitter who play “World of Warcraft” fall in love with Lights.
“Everybody Breaks a Glass” is a good example of incorporating noisiness into Lights’ usual style and doing it successfully.
The tinkle of keys and twinkle of vocals on the chorus contrasts pleasantly with the gruff, drum-and-bass-heavy verses.
“We all pretend to keep our tongue out of our cheek / everyone’s the fool they seek / we all go off the track / and feel for our way back / everybody breaks a glass,” she sings in the chorus.
The song features a rap interlude from Toronto rapper Shad, who also appears on “Flux and Flow.” The two artists share similar messages and their styles work well together. It was a pleasant surprise and, while I wouldn’t mind future collaborations of these two, I tend to prefer Lights by herself.
My favorite song, by far, has to be “Timing is Everything.” Another upbeat, positive song (this girl is the Leslie Knope of the Canadian music world), the song manages to be catchy and make use of the word “trajectories.” That is rare in pop music.
“You were walking in the sunset again without a hassle,” she begins. “In the interim, a princess was in another castle.”
That’s right – this girl just dropped a Super Mario Bros. reference in a song about rolling with the punches, going with your guts and following your hunches.
The album has a good mix of slow tracks and upbeat tunes and even the worst tracks are still amazing.
It may be different from her first album, with a bit more noise and less polished production, but even the less polished tracks still shine brightly. This is the kind of album that can be the bright spot in a dark day, and I gladly welcome it into my life.