Review Summary: Lights progresses nicely.
Lights’ first full album, 2009’s The Listening
saw her being compared to Owl City and other solo electronic acts. While that album was generally well received, there were still questions of whether she would evolve from the cotton candy electro-pop present on her debut album. With her 2011 release, entitled Siberia
, Lights throws some grit and muscle into her electronic sounds, and manages to retain the elements that made The Listening
a tasteful record.
Lead single “Toes” starts off with a bubbly synth reminiscent of “Savior”, but further along there is just enough of a gritty underbelly of tones in order to nicely show the new direction Lights has taken. Her vocals still hold all the air and melody that were present on The Listening
, and the bouncy pop sounds are still present, but each song sees a layer of dirt being poured on. Whether it’s the distorted bass line of “Siberia”, the bass wobble of “Fourth Dimension”, or the noise of nine-minute album closer “Day One”.
shows a new side of Lights’ musical journey. There’s still the child-like melodies and innocence, but there’s growth there. It’s less “Pretend” and more real. Whether this is good or bad is up to each listener’s preference, but for Lights’ musical career this is a step in the right direction. Although Siberia
is a nice move forward, there are still flaws that hurt the album. Some of her electronic work can be annoying, particularly the glitchy synth line in “Banner” which feels off-time; the guest vocals also tend to degrade the songs they are present in, instead of adding another dimension to the music. Siberia
also suffers from relative repetition, as songs tend to feel similar in their structure and tone, but this is to be expected from a growing artist.
Lights is as popular as ever, and Siberia
will likely increase her renown, as the production is bigger, and the music catchier. Although it suffers from a few setbacks, Siberia
shows Lights progressing from what she showed on The Listening
, and is in itself a very solid album worth picking up.