Lights
The Listening


3.5
great

Review

by David Driver USER (80 Reviews)
September 29th, 2009 | 146 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great collection of simple, catchy pop songs that should be enjoyed individually rather than collectively.

It seems that I have a lot in common with Valerie Poxleitner: we’re both Canadian, we both share an April of 1987 birthday, and we’re both extremely attractive. She, however, recently won a Juno (i.e. Canadian Grammy) for “New Artist of the Year”, and she has legally changed her name to what I can only guess is her favourite plural noun. I’m still currently hard at work on accomplishing those last two.

Lights’s debut album, The Listening, comes only a year after her successful Lights EP, which boasted a small collection of dreamy and catchy synthpop. Fans of Lights’s will be excited to know that The Listening is more of the same, but that proves to be both a good and a bad thing.

It’s pretty hard to deny the talent that Lights has to produce a catchy pop song. Every song on this album has something infectious about it, and whether it is Lights’s terrific voice, the catchy hooks that are embedded into every chorus, or the layers of subtle sounds churning in the background, you’ll find yourself going back to listen to the same song over and over again. While some songs may be stronger than others, there really isn’t any filler to be found here, as every song holds its own and has something to offer.

And while there really isn’t a bad song on the whole album, there are some quirks here and there with her debut. For one, there are issues when it comes to variation: other than the more upbeat “Ice” and the funky “Second Go”, most everything else sounds too similar. If you’ve heard one Lights song, with her voice soaring over a mid-tempo thump sporting subdued strings and synth, then you’ve mostly heard them all. This makes listening to the entire album front-to-back rather tedious, as all the songs tend to run into each other and sound like a giant pile of mush.

I also can’t help but feel some disappointment with the slight lack of new content on the album. Four of the six songs that appeared on the aforementioned EP have been slightly modified and slapped on the album, and while they are great songs, I can’t help but feel the inclusion was unnecessary. Also, the album includes two versions of “Pretend”, which gives me the impression that she had a hard time filling the album with all-new material.

In the end, I might actually have another thing in common with Ms. Lights: we both are suckers for a well-crafted pop song. Despite the slight lack of new content and the tendency for the songs to sound the same, there is quite a lot of talent to be heard on The Listening. The real character of this debut can be found from listening to the songs individually and shelling out their substance by listening to them over and over again, because there is something in every song that can be enjoyed. I guarantee that after a listen or two of any song, you will be enveloped by the simple but catchy structures, the layers of plush astral sounds, and her beautiful, soaring voice. While the album isn’t very innovative and surely isn’t perfect, it’s a quality release that any fan of pop should absolutely check out.



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user ratings (273)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
BenjoJames (4)
Whilst Light’s music treads unpredictable ground; too alternative for the pop crowd, too pop for t...

Nick Habisch (3)
Lights puts out the years best synth pop album...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
MrGlass
September 29th 2009


326 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. you pretty much nailed it.

I do think that not putting the bonus track "Up Up & Away" on the album was a mistake. It's one of my favorite songs she's written.

cvlts
September 29th 2009


8967 Comments


bitch is hot

BallsToTheWall
September 29th 2009


44620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1.123.
2.123

Ttitle track is my favorite.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 29th 2009


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ice ice baby

Digging: Grimes - Visions

Beauville88
September 29th 2009


224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the comments, guys!

And I also agree on "Up, Up & Away"...I think it's one of the better songs.

Waior
September 29th 2009


11454 Comments


Holy crap, first review and a feature! Stellar stuff. I enjoy the girl but do I enjoy her music, I'm skeptical...

Willie
Moderator
September 29th 2009


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Great review. I didn't expect this to be diverse, just enjoyable.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

LepreCon
September 29th 2009


4143 Comments


Good review, must check this out as she is cute and her EP was tolerable

Prophet178
September 29th 2009


6397 Comments


Holy crap, first review and a feature!


/envy

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2009


8371 Comments


holy shit, your debut review and you got featured??? Holy crap, mad props and huge congrats dude.

Relinquished
September 29th 2009


25200 Comments


Whoa man you got potential, keep reviewing

botb
September 29th 2009


9718 Comments


girl is so fucking sexy

LisbonGirls
September 29th 2009


832 Comments


I haven't even gotten a feature yet. You've just become my arch nemesis bro

TheDMV
September 29th 2009


64 Comments


i definitley want to check this out i listened to a couple of her myspace songs a long time ago it was enjoyable

BallsToTheWall
September 29th 2009


44620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guy was just brought up from the practice squad and already won the super bowl. Madness!!!!!!

chocola
September 29th 2009


266 Comments


this is fun

iamthenightmare
September 29th 2009


754 Comments


album would be better if she came packaged with it

EDIT: i r spell good

shindip
September 29th 2009


3536 Comments


my first review was featured...............

P13
September 29th 2009


1327 Comments


fuck yeah canada

PwnageEngage
September 30th 2009


14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

she has a lovely voice. i like that song she did with Silverstien, the song "The End" if u havent heard it, you really should.

p.s - also she's really hot :p



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